The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
Mics for orchestral film score recording? Condenser Microphones
Old 10th January 2019
  #1
Mics for orchestral film score recording?

Hi all -

It seems like the Neumann M50 is the standard for decca tree mics. I was wondering if there is a standard for outrigger mics for orchestral film music? I've heard there is a Brauner mic that many people like. Thanks in advance!
Old 10th January 2019
  #2
Lives for gear
 
JCBigler's Avatar
I'm pretty sure that most orchestral film scores these days are using a close miced approach with every player or pair or players on a mic. Probably lots of Neumanns, Schoeps, Sennheisers and DPAs.
Old 10th January 2019
  #3
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JCBigler View Post
I'm pretty sure that most orchestral film scores these days are using a close miced approach
No

We use Decca tree and outriggers plus surrounds. Those are the mains as part of the mix. The main mics. There are section spots, etc, but there is no priority for a close mic approach.

As for outriggers, it varies for every recording engineer (and budget and scoring stage mics available.) At Abbey Road, M50 are used often (since they have enough.) At someplace like Warner Bros, M150 are used as the tree (they don't own a set of M50 though they can be rented in) and a variety of choices for outriggers (like M149). Others will do a full Sennheiser, Schoeps, or DPA setup (Schoeps and DPA with the acoustic balls or grids or selected directive capsules)

Engineers have played with Brauners as part of the main mic setup but I haven't seen any major engineer do it in a long while (kind of like the curiosity wore off.) Still as a solo instrument mic or piano mics or stereo pair, I see them used.

Overall, Neumanns still have a stranglehold on the film scoring community. M50/M49/U67/U87 for the better stages or the more experienced re-recording engineer that has his own collection.
Old 10th January 2019
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by JCBigler View Post
I'm pretty sure that most orchestral film scores these days are using a close miced approach with every player or pair or players on a mic. Probably lots of Neumanns, Schoeps, Sennheisers and DPAs.
Thanks for chiming in. Not sure about that, wouldn't that cause a nightmare of phase cancellation issues?
Old 10th January 2019
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by pentagon View Post
No

We use Decca tree and outriggers plus surrounds. Those are the mains as part of the mix. The main mics. There are section spots, etc, but there is no priority for a close mic approach.

As for outriggers, it varies for every recording engineer (and budget and scoring stage mics available.) At Abbey Road, M50 are used often (since they have enough.) At someplace like Warner Bros, M150 are used as the tree (they don't own a set of M50 though they can be rented in) and a variety of choices for outriggers (like M149). Others will do a full Sennheiser, Schoeps, or DPA setup (Schoeps and DPA with the acoustic balls or grids or selected directive capsules)

Engineers have played with Brauners as part of the main mic setup but I haven't seen any major engineer do it in a long while (kind of like the curiosity wore off.) Still as a solo instrument mic or piano mics or stereo pair, I see them used.

Overall, Neumanns still have a stranglehold on the film scoring community. M50/M49/U67/U87 for the better stages or the more experienced re-recording engineer that has his own collection.
Hi Pentagon, thanks for the comment, always great to hear from you. Thank you for verifying what I suspected. I've heard some engineers say they prefer to use different mics for outriggers and the Brauners were mentioned somewhere else. Perhaps a different Neumann mic for the outriggers? I was just wondering if there was a particular model iconic mic that dominated the outriggers slot the way the M50s seem to dominate the Decca tree slot
Old 10th January 2019
  #6
Lives for gear
 

I think the M50 would dominate for outriggers if there were enough good working pairs at the major scoring stages. Choosing to use the M50s as outriggers is not really an option for most places. AR really has the largest collection of those. Many stages (if they have them) have only 3 or only 6 M50s with the second set of 3 kept as backup for clients.
So you have to choose something else.
I generally choose the M49 if the tree is M50 (and they are available) but I can't speak for anyone but myself. Generally my only concern in choice is what omni would blend best with my Decca tree mics so I'll work my way down the mic locker list. I'm not looking for the outriggers to call attention to themselves as their purpose is to expand the Decca tree's coverage of the group.
Old 10th January 2019
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by pentagon View Post
I think the M50 would dominate for outriggers if there were enough good working pairs at the major scoring stages. Choosing to use the M50s as outriggers is not really an option for most places. AR really has the largest collection of those. Many stages (if they have them) have only 3 or only 6 M50s with the second set of 3 kept as backup for clients.
So you have to choose something else.
I generally choose the M49 if the tree is M50 (and they are available) but I can't speak for anyone but myself. Generally my only concern in choice is what omni would blend best with my Decca tree mics so I'll work my way down the mic locker list. I'm not looking for the outriggers to call attention to themselves as their purpose is to expand the Decca tree's coverage of the group.
Yes, that seems to make more sense to me rather than have a mic with different tonal characteristics from the Decca mics. Thanks for your input, always appreciated!
Old 10th January 2019
  #8
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by session bass View Post
Thanks for chiming in. Not sure about that, wouldn't that cause a nightmare of phase cancellation issues?
doesn't have to and one can also argue that decca on its own causes way too much phase issues (as any other multi-mic array/spaced technique) - enough for me not use it (unless it's for dvd-a, but who's into that anymore?)! can be perceived as pleasant though (as still many engineers seem to do)...
Old 11th January 2019
  #9
Lives for gear
 
jnorman's Avatar
Old 11th January 2019
  #10
Lives for gear
The photo above could've been taken in 1958, 1965, 1972, 1986...2018, etc
Location: Kingsway, or any of several places around London...then Skywalker, Prague, Berlin, New Zealand, Moscow etc etc

It could even be in China

Standard Decca (initially) rig...then, since film scoring became "a thing", that industry adopted the methodology. It continues today...actually, with remarkably little evolution on the original.

Thanks Kenneth Wilkinson...you got it right first time.....

*oops (unless i'm missing some surround pickup, but i don't think so...), and as for "a nightmare of phase cancellation issues", when was the last movie you heard with those in the soundtrack ? Maybe if they folded the whole shebang down to mono....but which cinema is going to do that for ya ?
Old 12th January 2019
  #11
Lives for gear
 
tourtelot's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jnorman View Post
What an awesome photo. Wow!

Similar to what I have seen David Sabee do at Bastyr here in Seattle; so many mics. He has a dedicated on-stage monitor mixer just to keep track of the cue phones. Do you think if I told him that I used to mix monitors for KISS he'd give me a job?

Just recorded the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra play a commissioned film-score, but they were in a pit and I probably used 14 inputs. Sounded nice, sorta like a multi-mic'd film score does only smaller.

BTW, what stage is this? Looks maybe like Warner Burbank but like Studer58 says, it could be anywhere.

D.
Old 12th January 2019
  #12
Lives for gear
 

It's the Fox Scoring Stage (Newman Scoring Stage). Warner Brothers is much smaller and they all are distinctive in their looks.

In room cue mixers are the standard for film scoring. It's just far easier to deal with things that way.
(Even the smallest scoring stages I've worked at -- Digital Factory in France or the studio rooms at The Village here in LA, you'd have an in-room mixer for cue mixes. Digital Factory used a Sony Oxford for that -- I was seriously amused by that for some reason.)
Old 12th January 2019
  #13
Lives for gear
 
tourtelot's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by pentagon View Post
It's the Fox Scoring Stage (Newman Scoring Stage). Warner Brothers is much smaller and they all are distinctive in their looks.
Thanks. It was only a guess. My LA experience, especially regard scoring stages is minimal.

D.
Old 12th January 2019
  #14
Lives for gear
 
Larry Elliott's Avatar
As mentioned above, a Decca Tree of 3 M50's is often used for film score recording.

What interests me, is that in most pics I have seen the mics seem to be much higher that the approx. 10feet that is referred to in many Decca notes.

I would be interested to hear comments on why this is.

Many thanks

Larry
Old 12th January 2019
  #15
Lives for gear
 

Scoring stages tend to run deeper than concert halls while at the same time having a (relatively) immediate boundary/reflection directly behind the tree unlike a concert hall that would have seating. But it depends on the scoring stage. At Abbey Road, with a large group your layout is landscape but with a small group you could run portrait. Same happens at Skywalker (where generally you run portrait with a smaller group with rolling diffusers behind the group) but go landscape with a large group. So the relation to boundaries change.

They do tend to be higher but now the tradition is changing now to have a second higher tree for height channels (for immersive formats.) So a 10ft and 12ft or 12ft and 14ft. I still start at 10ft for unknown scoring stages and adjust at the beginning. But for a large group in a known stage like Newman or Streisand, it'll start at 12ft.
Old 12th January 2019
  #16
Gear Addict
 
fred2bern's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Elliott View Post
As mentioned above, a Decca Tree of 3 M50's is often used for film score recording.

What interests me, is that in most pics I have seen the mics seem to be much higher that the approx. 10feet that is referred to in many Decca notes.

I would be interested to hear comments on why this is.

Many thanks

Larry
The room, the size of the ensemble, the artistic vision of the sound you want to reach, the final goal, the time allowed (Decca tree means most of the time an orchestra so a lot of money, not too much time to experiment)...
But at the end, the Decca tree is nothing more than a basic technical setup to record, as are the Nos, Din, Ortf etc.

Of course, when you work in a studio that you know it's easier to start with a basic setup that works in this studio room, but in different concert halls it's like another stereo recording technic, you have to find the right spot and it's like a nice cocktail, adjust to taste!

To add a comment to the OP and with my really little experience I am with Pentagon when he writes: "I'm not looking for the outriggers to call attention to themselves as their purpose is to expand the Decca tree's coverage of the group. ".

I had a bad experience years ago with my first "poor man" Decca experiment with 3x KM183+SBK130 and MK21 as outriggers... they didn't naturally match together and I took time to reach something coherent.
I don't have the money to own M50s but I have M150s and in a Decca tree config I sometimes work with 3x M150 and 2x MKH800 Twin as outriggers. Until now my clients are happy and so am I... but I planned to get 2 more M150 this year to work with 5 same microphones.

Of course and as usual, just my opinion, and I'm still learning!

Fred.
Old 12th January 2019
  #17
Lives for gear
 
Larry Elliott's Avatar
Thank you so much - pentagon - that is perfectly understandable.
Old 12th January 2019
  #18
Lives for gear
 
tourtelot's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by fred2bern View Post
but I planned to get 2 more M150 this year to work with 5 same microphones.
Fred.
Wow! At $6500 each. I thought my TLM-170s were pricey. My Lord! I am jealous.

D.
Old 13th January 2019
  #19
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
Wow! At $6500 each. I thought my TLM-170s were pricey. My Lord! I am jealous.

D.
I wonder if that sets some kind of price parity concordance for the (will-they-ever-appear) Rode TFM50's ?
Old 13th January 2019
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
The photo above could've been taken in 1958, 1965, 1972, 1986...2018, etc
Location: Kingsway, or any of several places around London...then Skywalker, Prague, Berlin, New Zealand, Moscow etc etc

It could even be in China

Standard Decca (initially) rig...then, since film scoring became "a thing", that industry adopted the methodology. It continues today...actually, with remarkably little evolution on the original.

Thanks Kenneth Wilkinson...you got it right first time.....

*oops (unless i'm missing some surround pickup, but i don't think so...), and as for "a nightmare of phase cancellation issues", when was the last movie you heard with those in the soundtrack ? Maybe if they folded the whole shebang down to mono....but which cinema is going to do that for ya ?
Yes, I see multiple mics being used, of course, Decca, outriggers, section, a few spots. What I was responding to was the idea that each and EVERY instrument had a mic on it. I think that's what one of the responders said. Maybe I misunderstood. I don't think I've ever seen that on a large orchestra and it seems that it would potentially cause a mass of phase cancellation issues. Perhaps I'm wrong but I've never seen a mic on every instrument on a large orchestral session
Old 13th January 2019
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
The photo above could've been taken in 1958, 1965, 1972, 1986...2018, etc
Location: Kingsway, or any of several places around London...then Skywalker, Prague, Berlin, New Zealand, Moscow etc etc

It could even be in China

Standard Decca (initially) rig...then, since film scoring became "a thing", that industry adopted the methodology. It continues today...actually, with remarkably little evolution on the original.

Thanks Kenneth Wilkinson...you got it right first time.....

*oops (unless i'm missing some surround pickup, but i don't think so...), and as for "a nightmare of phase cancellation issues", when was the last movie you heard with those in the soundtrack ? Maybe if they folded the whole shebang down to mono....but which cinema is going to do that for ya ?
Specifically, this: "a close miced approach with every player or pair or players on a mic". Not trying to be funny, just wondering if you've seen this? I haven't but that doesn't necessarily mean it's not done. Just wondering
Old 13th January 2019
  #22
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by session bass View Post
Yes, I see multiple mics being used, of course, Decca, outriggers, section, a few spots. What I was responding to was the idea that each and EVERY instrument had a mic on it. I think that's what one of the responders said. Maybe I misunderstood. I don't think I've ever seen that on a large orchestra and it seems that it would potentially cause a mass of phase cancellation issues. Perhaps I'm wrong but I've never seen a mic on every instrument on a large orchestral session
More to the point, just because a mic is there on an instrument, or even every instrument, does that guarantee it's going to get used in the mix. It might be feathered in briefly, to emphasise or highlight a bar or two, then faded back down, so barely a chance to have a noticeable phasing impact.

You need something approaching volume parity between 2 mics before phasing cancellation becomes problematical....and, what mixing desk or bank of mic preamps doesn't have phase (polarity) invert buttons....on every mic and DI input ?

If you're talking about live PA amplification, that's a different matter....ask deedeeyeah about that, it's his specialty. Big orchestras are routinely amplified, both indoor and outdoor events, with multi miking ....ask Andre Rieu
Old 13th January 2019
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
More to the point, just because a mic is there on an instrument, or even every instrument, does that guarantee it's going to get used in the mix. It might be feathered in briefly, to emphasise or highlight a bar or two, then faded back down, so barely a chance to have a noticeable phasing impact.

You need something approaching volume parity between 2 mics before phasing cancellation becomes problematical....and, what mixing desk or bank of mic preamps doesn't have phase (polarity) invert buttons....on every mic and DI input ?

If you're talking about live PA amplification, that's a different matter....ask deedeeyeah about that, it's his specialty. Big orchestras are routinely amplified, both indoor and outdoor events, with multi miking ....ask Andre Rieu
Agreed and I see your point. Just doesn't seem common practice to mic each individual instrument. Not that you couldn't, just perhaps impractical and not in common practice
Old 13th January 2019
  #24
Gear Addict
 

I don't see any difference between recording an regular orchestra work vs. film score involving an orchestra. What is the fuss about microphone deployment? Why should they be any different?
Old 13th January 2019
  #25
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by session bass View Post
Agreed and I see your point. Just doesn't seem common practice to mic each individual instrument. Not that you couldn't, just perhaps impractical and not in common practice
I'll reply with a "not that uncommon scenario"....the Andre Rieu one ! Imagine an outdoor soundshell on a big grassed area, picnic seating, 1000's of people gathered, early evening, a light breeze is blowing. 80 piece orchestra plus solo singers, perhaps a choir also.

Main stereo mic pair above the conductor....there isn't one. why, because the acoustic output of the entire orchestra being outdoors (even if partly surrounded by a soundshell, which is actually a highly compromised attempt at a combined windscreen and reflective semi parabolic reflector behind the players....it really doesn't work well at all ! ) is maybe a few hundred milliwatts....nothing for even a main pair of shotgun mics in a Rycote to amplify meaningfully ?

Practical solution....section or area miking...well maybe, if the area mic is well wind-socked, and covering a few loud instruments. However, you won't see many of these in outdoor use if there's anything above a light breeze blowing across the front of the orchestra.....which is nearly always

No, the real solution is an entire class of mics you've probably forgotten to consider....the DPA instrument mics ! Given a big enough desk with sufficient inputs (no great stretch these days, with digital or even with analog desks) you can afford a dedicated mic for virtually each instrument, located on or near the bridge or bell.....either a condenser with mini windshield, or a contact piezo.

Choir and soloists will still need conventional mics, and individual brass and horns can get away with them, due to higher spl at the horn mouth, clip on drum mics for tympani, close spot mics for other percussion.

So, every orchestral instrument miked.....yes in this scenario quite feasible, and universally done ....with variations, depending on the individual PA production company's policy. Phasing issues.....no main pair to contend with, each mic only picks up its own instrument's signal, not even that of its neighbour....nil phase problems.

Will you even see these multitudes of individual mics....likely not at all, unless there are closeup video projection screens on either side of the stage ! All you'll notice is a profound absence of the usual range of spot and section mic stands you'd expect to see at a typical indoor concert.

Asking yourself how does the orchestra play in such conditions....outside of the safe reflective warmth of their concert hall ? Answer....good old fashioned rock concert monitoring....side-fill speakers at stage extremes, high up, aimed down and across the stage, probably a set at each corner of the stage, .in ear monitors....regular monitor speaker wedges peppered around the stage. Let's not forget the conductor either.....a set of in-ears, or perhaps 3 or 4 wedges in a semicircle, pointed at his/her ears....cranked to rock an roll levels

With DPA type mics, gain before feedback can be kept high so it doesn't prevent sufficiently high monitor volumes (not forgetting good tightly notched....and roaming...feedback killer eq on all side fills and wedges)

Are you starting to see how this seemingly absurd scenario now is not only feasible, but can and does work spectacularly well ? A big missing element outdoors....hey Ma, where did the reverb go ? Simple solution....add appropriate reverb to all the mics, just as a rock mixer would do. Use it to glue these many dozens of spot mics together into a credible simulation of a hall.

Have mixer channels.....will use
Old 13th January 2019
  #26
Lives for gear
 
tourtelot's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dseetoo View Post
I don't see any difference between recording an regular orchestra work vs. film score involving an orchestra. What is the fuss about microphone deployment? Why should they be any different?
You're kidding, right?

D.
Old 13th January 2019
  #27
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
I wonder if that sets some kind of price parity concordance for the (will-they-ever-appear) Rode TFM50's ?
Just as a bonus teaser, here's Tony Faulkner giving the closest look you're likely to get at an M50 replacement in this lifetime (unless you have the money to bid for the few originals that come up on eBay occasionally )

Anima Eterna: Interview with Tony Faulkner on Vimeo
Old 13th January 2019
  #28
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
You're kidding, right?

D.
What are the necessary differences Doug ?
Old 13th January 2019
  #29
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
You're kidding, right?

D.


I know my skull is thick. But I was not kidding. No.

What is the difference? Tell me.
Old 13th January 2019
  #30
Lives for gear
 
JCBigler's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by dseetoo View Post
I know my skull is thick. But I was not kidding. No.

What is the difference? Tell me.
Maybe the fact that the sound from a film score recording, doesn't sound anything like a symphony orchestra in a studio or live concert recording of a symphony orchestra?

To me, when I listen to a film score in a movie, it sounds close miced. It doesn't sound like a symphony recorded in a concert hall or a studio with the sole purpose to capture the sound of the orchestra. It makes me question how much work the Decca tree or main mic array is actually doing. And I wonder if a Decaa tree or other multiple mic array is just a vestigial remnant of a by gone era.

Maybe the tree/array is there and it just gets so heavily processed in the final film mix that it's a shadow of it's former self.
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
rcartwright / Remote Possibilities in Acoustic Music and Location Recording
52
Ugur Dariveren / So much gear, so little time
2
devastat / Mastering forum
16

Forum Jump
Forum Jump