Micing a play

karel.will

Freshman
Jan 13, 2011
35
0
0
Bruges, Belgium
Hi,



I've recently been forced to amplify a traditional play. Like a musical, but without the singing...




One night I tried with 2 AKG C-568's on very little stands, next to the infills on the front of the stage, aimed up/in. Combined with 4 Shure Beta91's on the lip of the stage.



Last night they gave me 4 Sennheiser MKH 416's, and I tried these like the C-568's.



What I noticed: The C-568's were rather useless, and I couldn't get the Shure's to not sound like a bathroom. That night the actors weren't projecting very good.



Last night, better actors, and the MKH's sounded rather nice, but I would have liked a bit more volume.



So, anybody has some advice? I thought about flying some overhead mics (Neumann KM184's?) but that would definitely have to be flown in sight, so probably a no-go.



I'll have to do this again in the future, so I'm looking forward to some useful tips and tricks here...





Thanks!



Karel.
 

Dick Rees

Curmudgeonly Scandihoovian
Jan 11, 2011
1,551
0
0
St Paul, MN
Re: Micing a play

Yes, it all depends on the actors being able to project......and your ability to have enough mics deployed in positions where the actors will be on axis to one or another of them.



The thing I find is that ''running show'' is a very important part of making it work. Keep your loudest voice/level as close as possible to the weakest one and make the overall dynamic range of the evening as workable as possible. The audience will deal better with an even level over the course of the play than having some voices loud and some not so much.



So for me it's not so much about overall headroom as the ability to establish a more even level for the entire production.



Edit:



I try to place mics closer to the action than simply at the lip of the stage. The ones at the lip will work for those moments when the actors are fairly close, but will sound hollow as you noted when folks are down stage. I have used PZM's stashed here and there in bits of scenery which are on stage all the time. Otherwise wireless lavs stashed in movable scenery have been handy.



You can also use the actors as ''human mic stands'' with wireless lavs on the collars behind their heads......
 

john lutz

Freshman
Jan 17, 2011
99
0
6
near Grand Rapids michigan
Re: Micing a play

This is probably more a Jr. Varsity approach however this mic may be useful to you. I was recently volunteered to do sound for my kids school play. No budget, 5th and 6th graders, in a gym, etc. They were trying to use regular hand held vocal mics from the edge of the stage patched into the announcement pa flown behind them. Yikes! I brought in a pair of speakers on sticks positioned at left and right corners of stage and a pair of MXL shotgun mics ( http://www.mxlmics.com/products/field_rec/FR-304/FR-304.html ) angled in from front corners toward the center of stage. With a little eq and having the kids aim at the mics as much as possible it worked out pretty well. On average the actors were 3 to 5 feet from the mics. Had I used 3 or 4 instead of the 2 mics available it probably would have been near perfect for what it was.



changed one word for clarity
 

mackerr

Junior
Jan 29, 2011
374
6
0
Re: Micing a play

The traditional way to do this is with ''foot mics'' which are directional mics, placed on or very near the floor. Usually 3 or 4 across the front of the stage will cover the main acting ares, but placement should bear in mind where the acting areas are. They still have to be mixed, just like RF mics on actors, they are not ''set and forget''. Most of the hollow sound is comb filtering due to pickup by multiple mics, and floor bounce. To eliminate the floor bounce the mics should be parallel to the floor, as close as you can get them without actually touching. To eliminate the multiple mic problem, you mix with your fingers.



In the old days a foot mic was usually an AKG 451 in an EV411 ''mic mouse'', but then along came the Crown PCC160 and put an end to that. Another oprion is the Bartlett TN-125.



Mac
 

karel.will

Freshman
Jan 13, 2011
35
0
0
Bruges, Belgium
Re: Micing a play

Hi Mac,



So basically, should I use the Beta91's I'm dealt with, and mix them? Or are the Crowns in a league of their own, and should I therefore stay with the Sennheisers?



Thanks!



Karel.
 
Re: Micing a play

A beta 91 is a kick drum mic. It has non defeatable pad built in, and a freq response that is working against you here. What you want is Crown PCC160's which are the standard for this sort of thing.





You have a few shotgun mics there to use. I would try and locate a few mouses to use which for the life of me I can't find a pic of.



It's figure 5 in this pdf http://www.electrovoice.com/sitefiles/downloads/EV_PABible-16-Add15-Barrier_Miking-1985.pdf



Basically it's a chunk of foam with a hollow spot where you slide a mic into and lay it on the floor. Put your shotguns in these and put as many as you can around the stage being mindful of the 3-1 rule. The proximity of the floor will get rid of the ''bathroom'' sound and should give you more GBF and a better overall freq response.



HTH!

-=Tim=-
 

Bennett Prescott

Just This Guy, You Know?
Staff member
Jan 10, 2011
10,846
12
38
35
Wallingford, CT
www.bennettprescott.com
Re: Micing a play

A beta 91 is a kick drum mic. It has non defeatable pad built in, and a freq response that is working against you here. What you want is Crown PCC160's which are the standard for this sort of thing.
Oh, shit, I've been using them wrong for a decade! The Beta 91 is just fine into the HF, that LF boost is there when you put them in a kick drum or up close to an instrument, just like any other cardioid mic.



I will agree, however, that the Crown PCC is the standard and works well.
 

Tim Perry

Sophomore
Jan 11, 2011
200
0
0
Utica, NY
Re: Micing a play

Suggestion: place one 91 center stage and on each stage left and right. Roll off the HF a little and engage the 100 Hz high pass filter. Boost the mids a little.



Subgroup these, and add a feedback destroyer. Notch out the first 3 to 5 feedback points.



Now here is the key: only bring up the one that's needed. Follow the action with the faders.



When you have a full cast on stage you can bring all of them up... but they are usually less needed then.



A *carefully* set compressor can help here. It can help tame the blare somewhat when someone goes right up to them and screams or drops something or just pounds on the stage. You want a high threshold with a fairly high ratio... almost like a limiter.

 

Jake Scudder

Sophomore
Jan 14, 2011
103
0
0
41
New York, NY
www.jakescudder.com
Re: Micing a play

Hi,



I've recently been forced to amplify a traditional play. Like a musical, but without the singing...




One night I tried with 2 AKG C-568's on very little stands, next to the infills on the front of the stage, aimed up/in. Combined with 4 Shure Beta91's on the lip of the stage.



Last night they gave me 4 Sennheiser MKH 416's, and I tried these like the C-568's.



What I noticed: The C-568's were rather useless, and I couldn't get the Shure's to not sound like a bathroom. That night the actors weren't projecting very good.



Last night, better actors, and the MKH's sounded rather nice, but I would have liked a bit more volume.



So, anybody has some advice? I thought about flying some overhead mics (Neumann KM184's?) but that would definitely have to be flown in sight, so probably a no-go.



I'll have to do this again in the future, so I'm looking forward to some useful tips and tricks here...





Thanks!



Karel.


What are these theatrical events you speak of where not everyone wears a SK 5212 and a DPA 4061. Surely you jest.
 

karel.will

Freshman
Jan 13, 2011
35
0
0
Bruges, Belgium
Re: Micing a play

Hi there,



Thank you very much. It would indeed be very sweet if the actors just wore belt-packs and DPA's. But they don't. So I'll keep experimenting with the 91's and the shotguns, and see what I can come up with.

I'll contact the PA company, and ask if they can get me the PCC160's, so I can see if they make a big difference.



Thanks!



Karel.



PS Mac is a Freshman????
 
Jan 13, 2011
259
0
16
Glasgow UK
Re: Micing a play

The crown float mics are good for wahat they are but they still require the actors to project well. Make sure that you secure them with tape and keep them well away from foot traffic. g