Thread: Sound bleed

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    Sound bleed
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    Senior Member Peter C.'s Avatar
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    Next week I'm filming a choir of 15 but they will be recorded separately in pairs then edited together. The singers will be 15' apart in a sanctuary with good acoustics. I'm trying to decide between condenser or dynamic mics. I was going to use shotgun mics because I can boom them out of frame. The other option would be to use dynamic mics, eliminating bleed but the mic needs to be very close and be in the video, if they move around levels can change.

    My question is bleed a major concern especially when all the singers will be added together into one song? After writing this I'm leaning back towards using dynamic mics. What do you think? This isn't a high end project and will be streamed but I like to use the best practices.
    Last edited by Peter C.; 03-24-2021 at 02:16 PM.


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    Senior Member paulears's Avatar
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    How are you planning to sync them? I presume they’ll sing to a repeated track? The snag in a church is how you keep the track out of their mics. Personally these things are a nightmare to do because the usual slipping and sliding to get them synced are made so hard by church acoustics, and 8 accumulated backing, be it piano, or worse, organ sound a swimmy mess. A couple of long cables and in ears could work? Out of frame with people fifteen ft apart is a big mic to mouth distance. If you do anything other than close mic, I fear it will just be horrid. From bitter experience, the things to worry about will be the music they are singing to, their timing ( which given the pressure of them all essentially being a soloist, not a chorus) will be bad, and their tuning. Out of fifteen, some will have trouble pitching without the support of the others. The individual recordings will be very tricky.

    I just had an idea that maybe I’ll try for these in covid times. If you marked the floor, you could record two at a time, spaced with a locked off camera and then merge the recordings to create the full choir with no vivid spacing? That would look great. However, all the audio problems remain.

    I think maybe a lav and an earpiece per person would be better than distant miking with shotguns. Normal stereo techniques are out because of the sound of the space. I’d suggest a trial with just two singers and see if it works. Worst bit will be their initial first note courage. It will be late and reactive making it useless as a sync point, so maybe a loud crack in the track for sync which will be a visual cue on the timeline? Best of luck with this. I’ve always found with small choirs of amateurs, at least two or three will find this impossible to do.


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    Senior Member Peter C.'s Avatar
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    I’m going to send prerecorded music to the singer’s headphones while also recording it to one track of the camera and the other track I’ll record their mic. I will have same setup for both singers and each will have their own mic.


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    I see the appeal of the dynamics, but for the sake of the viewers, no one wants to see the singers with microphone mouths. It always bugs me when performers shove the microphone in their face.

    I think it's difficult to provide advice without being in the room. As Paul said, run a test if you can.
    Awarded Best Clear Com Chatter, 2001, PBS Television


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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter C. View Post
    Next week I'm filming a choir of 15 but they will be recorded separately in pairs then edited together. The singers will be 15' apart in a sanctuary with good acoustics. I'm trying to decide between condenser or dynamic mics. I was going to use shotgun mics because I can boom them out of frame.
    You clearly are not a soundie. So... hire a soundie.

    Hint: the point of "good acoustics" is to hear the room. "Sound bleed" is the name of that game, but you have to control it. If you've never done it before, expect your first tries to be... less than successful. Thus the advice to hire a soundie.


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    Senior Member paulears's Avatar
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    I've done quite a few classical things during lockdown and the most complicated - over 40 individual singers were involved and the list of mistakes and errors were way, way worse than I ever imagined. We scrapped one version and actually recorded the conductor, then everyone sang to her waving her arms aro8nd and mouthing the words. Other things to try? Clicks for tempo - this helped some very much, and in another we had a SATB choir, and each person sang to the music AND a guide version of the part. This helped the less er, capable, singers. The problem really is that without a voice to follow, the syllables get out of alignment. I can fix this in cubase, but it leaves the video exposed - lip sync drifts in and out - with lots of people, it's not such a problem, but with 15 people, that's 15 different versions. Depending on your framing, the shotguns might work, as you have headphones organised. Some people might need quite a few takes - as they may not have sung solo/duet like this. You also need to keep a real ear on tuning. Some people when they have in-ears in for the first time, cannot sing in tune. It's not guaranteed if they've never done it before. Some, I discovered, can sing accurately half a tone away from the true pitch and not even notice! I spent hours in Cubase slipping sliding and pitch correcting. I don't want to do another!


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    Senior Member Rick R's Avatar
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    Small diaphragm cardioid condensers are 'typical' choir mics. KM-84s (or 184s) are often a favorite. I have used large and small diaphragm condensers. Dynamics would not be a first choice, though if there is nothing else... a pair of 57's and quiet preamps would sound ok.


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    Senior Member Peter C.'s Avatar
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    thanks for the advice everyone. Im going to stick with the condenser mics because if have a matched pair, theyll be out of the frame.

    Paul. Ive done this once before but not at this scale so I know its hard to put that many people together and make it sound right.


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    Senior Member paulears's Avatar
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    I’m sure you’ll be fine, most of the issues are performer centred, so we can usually deflect negatives. I usually cheat. We see all of them but hear two or three of the better ones. Nobody ever notices, or if they do, they say nothing!

    I have a couple of AKG 451 mics with extension tubes for this kind of thing.


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    I've done this now a few times, but not recording singers in pairs and them combining. All great advice so far. My thoughts:

    *I wouldn't worry too much about having the mics in frame, especially if they're not covering the singers' faces.
    In these covid times, I feel audiences are even more forgiving of seeing equipment in frames.
    Out of frame is great, but not at the cost of worse sound (or more room/reverb than you want).

    *For fun, I bought a couple Line Audio CM4 cardioid condensers. They're cheap and small. But they sound pretty good. Not Schoeps, Neumann, AKG good. But good. Those on a black light stand or mic stand are pretty low profile.
    http://www.lineaudio.se/CM4.html
    But rolling with what you have will be fine.


    *Same with headphones, IEMs, and earbuds.
    Nice if they're not visible, but not a huge deal if they are.

    *For the guide track, can you have the choir director play and sing?
    That might help some members hit the rhythm and swing, and not feel so alone, compared to just music without a vocal guide.
    If this is a cappella, then just having a director or leader sing should be a good enough guide. And have her or him count everyone in.
    If I was going to add a click track, I'd use click fed to the person playing the guide track (and recorded then, too).
    I might might keep the click on a track I can drop out of the mix fed to the singers; ime, click tracks can be confusing for some singers.
    And piano is percussive enough to replace a click track.

    *I'd be tempted to record this fairly dry and close and maybe --maybe-- add a tiny bit of reverb/room in post. But you'll probably end up with enough room.

    *If you're OMB, feeling stressed, and recording double system, a head and tail slate could be your friend. Maybe 10-seconds before and after they sing. Just so you can double-check sync later.

    Have fun!
    ----------
    Jim Feeley
    POV Media


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