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    Opera Recording - Some stage areass have poor lighting
    #1
    Senior Member kwkeirstead's Avatar
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    I will tomorrow (Saturday) and then again Sunday be doing archive recordings of "Die Fledermaus" - the theatre is in a community center, very old venue, some of the lighting is non-functional so at open there are some dark areas at the following opening night test run (3 min highlights of Act I)

    https://vimeo.com/129101764


    I am thinking of putting the gain at +6 for the entire performance and making a point of carefully watching waveform. Good idea/bad idea?

    I will be at 1080/60 24p and will try to keep the % meter around 28-32 % for the main subject(s).

    Scene: Filmic
    Detail -3
    V detail +1
    Detail Coring -2

    Chroma 0
    Chroma Phase +2
    Color Ach 0
    Color Bch 0
    Master Ped -9
    A.iris 0
    DRS OFF
    DRS Effect 1
    Gamma Cine like
    Knee High
    Matrix Cine like
    Skin Tone OFF

    Any suggestions how to improve?


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    Senior Member rzr219's Avatar
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    Looks good to me, you are nice and close. I would not change a thing otherwise you will be too focused on waveform. Just run an external monitor with false colors and stay in the pick on faces (maybe yellow). So what did you finally wind up doing?
    - HXP250 - Mark III 5D - CS6 - MAC PRO 8 CORE -


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    #3
    Senior Member kwkeirstead's Avatar
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    I put the gain at 3db and I think I left the master ped where it was, leaving experimentation to a less critical event/time.

    I will post two short clips (720 and 1080). The recording looks/sounds OK.

    Tomorrow is my grandaughter's first soccer practice - she is 3 1/2.

    I had better get that recording right.


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    How are you recording the sound?


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    Senior Member kwkeirstead's Avatar
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    I usually use an on-stage Tascam DR 100 MK II.

    Cannot rely on sound boards, each venue/sound operator can be different.

    Last week I did an event where all they could give me was a mono feed and there were two problems 1) the voices were under the musicians (jazz singer plus 7 musicians) and 2) the sound guy kept running the volume up/down.

    So without the Tascam and an on-camera Rode to act as a marker (no point relying on this from 65 feet back from the stage) the recording would have been a bust.

    Any suggestions?

    If I bring my own mics and mixer, then I need to have someone set up and run the sound recording.

    The Tascam seems somewhat of a reasonable solution but if you don't set it right and it red lines, then you are done.

    We always set up during the sound check to make sure the settings are right.

    Having the Tascam on stage eliminates most of the audience noise and most of the theatre loudspeaker pickup.

    Curiously, for this event, I ended up with a low/weak sound level and had to run it thru Audacity to boost it.

    The waveform coming out of Audacity looks the same along the entire recording (flat top, flat botom) but it sounds OK.


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    The top quality recording would come from placing the mic on the singers/performers themselves (duh, you say!).

    I was watching the live recordings they do in Hungary for their light operas and those guys tape the lav mic to the performer's forehead. It looks odd on camera but, when you have to do a musical with lots of dancing and occasionally acrobatics, the forehead mics never fall off. For the Mörbisch am See festivals - a large outdoor venue - they just use the standard head based mic. Those are high budget pro productions obviously.

    Without knowing the budget of your production, I'd try to have the performing leads with lavs, with the third mic on the stage omnidirectional. Can this be done without the separate sound help?

    PS. There is a couple - and a real married one at that - of live music shooters on the Sony FS7 forums that use the basspig handle. Jaime Valles shoots with GH4 and apparently prefers to get the feed off the soundboard.


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    Senior Member kwkeirstead's Avatar
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    Thanks for the suggestions...

    There are no lavs available, we would need to buy close to 10 of these.

    The community non-profit music/stage groups we work with have no budgets to pay the fees we would have to charge for the use of such equipment.


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    10 lavs would be an overkill, IMO. Knowing the Viennese operettas a little - I am the Second Wave, Kalman and Lehar fan - most songs/arias are rarely more than a duo and very few are full choruses. That means you should be able to get by with two lavs (and I'd recommend that the theater company bought them for themselves, as you got the Tascam recorder). This would give a pretty decent quality, even with the dialog quality mics.

    Now, should that not be possible, do what the old sound engineers did for the drums in the days prior to the multi-track recording machines (8 tracks and so on) - triangulate your live mics on the stage. The old Ringo types usually had a Shure 58 outside of the floor tom and a pair of overheads over the cymbals and high hat, with the overheads also picking up the snare. For a live stage performance - presuming an orchestra or a PA closer to the audience - you may want to slightly reverse the 2high+1low configuration and put one up high center and two low and wide (and probably further back as well).

    These are the suggestions. Normally, the reality interferes.


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    Hi

    Maybe within your budget and and what is possible zone would be to fly two mics over the stage and use their position to balance the singers against the music. Have them feed into your recorder and record 24 bit with the level low enough to not bang off the limiter. If you can't fly the mics then maybe two high mic stands with sandbags. This is the classic approach for recording a large group or orchestra on stage - and cheap and simple!.

    Recording the whole sound space versus recording each singer and or instruments are very different approaches. You are the one that knows how it is destined to be edited and used and thus which approach is right.

    Hope something here helps. Best Luck.


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    Senior Member rzr219's Avatar
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    My approach is simple as all I do is live stage, I use a Rode Stereo VideoMic Pro and set it up at the front of the stage on a small stand just peaking up over the stage. Then I connect it to my wireless pack and then run the control for the mic as needed on the camera. This allows me both X & Y mics in one signal. There are better mics I know however by running the gain in manual it sounds great. I just run the audio through Audition and set the limiter to -3 and all the audio can be heard. I also will take a feed from the board, however you never know what happens once you start. So I always have clean sound at the front of the stage and easy to control myself.
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