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 Miking an open-air theatre stage.
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roman Offline
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2008 10:50 pm    Post subject: Miking an open-air theatre stage. Reply with quote

I have a gig for the next 2 months doing the sound for a small theatrical group. They put up a stage somewhere, do a play, and then take it down again.

The stage is going to be about 7 meters wide and maybe 5 deep. I can't really get too creative. The way it looks - all I can do is set up 2 to 4 shotgun mics in the front, and try to make it even. I haven't worked too much with shotgun mics before. I guess it's going to be a little bit of trial and error.

There are going to be 2 Monitors, and 4 speakers facing the audience in pairs of two's. This is what I am most afraid off. I don't know exactly what will happen... a short delay... flange, all I know is it will be bad, but apparently there is no other option.
One thing that I thought was funny is that the director insisted that everything should be mono (including the playback music). He mumbled something about both sides of the audience should hear the same thing...
Anyway. It's going to be fun. There is going to be a lot of gear failure. My bus looks like an audio junkyard, I'll bring a solder iron.

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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2008 7:28 am    Post subject: Re: Miking an open-air theatre stage. Reply with quote

roman wrote:

One thing that I thought was funny is that the director insisted that everything should be mono (including the playback music). He mumbled something about both sides of the audience should hear the same thing...

I absolutely and totally agree with the director.
Unless you have a big money set-up ..... stereo in small venues is horrible!
We think of that wonderful stereo spread we get in our monitors but the actual fact is, all that happens is the people on the right side just don't hear anything coming from the left side at all.
The only people that get the stereo effect are the few that are sitting in the exact right spot.
But you really want everyone to hear everything so mono is absolutely the way to go.

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roman Offline
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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2008 9:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting.
I would have at least given it a little stereo spread.

But as it turns out - not hearing everything properly should be the least of the audiences worries. I just saw it today for the first time, and it was the most painful 70 minutes of theater I've seen in my life. Nothing bad about the crew - the main actors are great, the stage design is really nice, the director seems professional enough, but the script and the music are mindnumbingly bad. It's like it's written for 3 year olds, only that the subject is not suited for 3 year olds... and I'll get to see it 5 times a week for the next 2 months.
Wheee!

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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2008 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK.. I do this stuff for a living. EVERYTHING should be in mono. You don't want people on left hearing different things than the people on the right.

Microphones. Shotguns are OK, but Crown PCC160's are designed for this purpose. They go on the floor and work pretty well as long as the actors do their part and project.

I will supplement the PCC's with wide angle shotguns for people deeper on the stage.

If you only have shotguns, placement will be a big part of making it work. Play with it until you have the best you can get.
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roman Offline
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PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 2:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, the shotgun mics pretty much suck for that purpose. - The actors are all over the stage, and I would either need more mics, or I would need to be able to place them a little farther away. To make it worse I got 2 AKG's and 2 Sennhaiser. The AKG's suck donkey ass, and I can't make up for that with EQ, so inevitably it will sound different depending on where they stand.
But it will do. It's not perfect, but I think it will work out.

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PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sloop wrote:
...Crown PCC160's are designed for this purpose. They go on the floor and work pretty well as long as the actors do their part and project.



I agree absolutely. PZM mics will do a great job.

You may need three or four to achieve full coverage, but I usually set them up along the front of the stage, tape them down and let fly. If there are children in the production or a lead who may not always project, I've used a lavalier wireless on the artist to supplement.

Ordinary conference mics work pretty well. Do an ebay search for "pzm", "conference mic" and "boundary mic" - that will pop up a bunch of options.

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roman Offline
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PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 10:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How do these things work with a hollow wooden stage? There is quite a lot of noise when they dance around. It's well built, but there is only so much you can do with a mobile stage.
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PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 12:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Set 'em on a folded bath towel or a chunk of foam rubber to lessen the booming and don't sweat it. Might have to eq the low end out from 100 hz down.
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