Audio Advice for wedding videographers


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Recently I’ve had a very wise couple asking me about wedding videography audio. I’ll put my hands up – When we started out we learned the hard way. Our experiences with (a-hem) ”tricky” mics was close to catastrophic. But thankfully, with greater experience of audio in live event situations, we are far more aware of the risks and issues that can occur and how to solve them. Here’s some audio advice for wedding videographers:

Producing wedding videos throughout Scotland we used two Tascam DR-08. Little did we realize  when recording for a long time, when the WAV file reaches 2gb it stops AND failed to write. We now often use the Zoom H1 it its place and used the Tascams for ambiance. We have also been sold a faulty ME 2 clip mic which caused massive headaches. The symptoms of this faulty ME 2 microphone was an intermittent, bizarre gain type of noise. Troubleshooting this type of problem can be tricky, and in our case with two issues in tandem it took us a while to discover it was two separate issues.

As long as we are forewarned about who is speaking where and when things will be good – and if not we have enough backs ups now to roll with the punches. My advice to other videographers establishing themselves and dealing with a wide range of audio situations is to be prepared for anything and everything. Fixing audio in post is time not well spent!

Sound equipment for videograpy work:

Rode video mic pro with furry windjammer (For directional onboard recoding)

The Rode video mic pro is a big step up from the on board microphone on our Canon 550D. If however you are depended on the omnidirectional on board you can now buy micro windjammers. Perhaps the sound may never been used but if you are syncing sound with plural eyes, you really don’t want wind-noise making that sync difficult or impossible. With the Rode video mic pro a rechargeable battery lasts a little under 80 hours, so do pack a spare for every wedding!

Audio settings for microphones in live situations

48 kHz, 16 bits which allows for about 4 hours of running time on my 8gb Micro SDHC cards. I also keep the low cut setting on and the auto levels off. Set the mics to record using the best quality rechargeable batteries.

Zoom H1 with Sennheiser ME 2 lavalier clip mic (For Groom)

We set our levels to about 24db. It’s always worth hearing at what level they will be speaking during the ceremony. We tape down all our mics and place the lavaliere mic away from the speaker, positioned so it won’t rub against clothing on the chest area and place the mic to favor the head turn which is usually left. Its good practice to always explain what you’re doing while you’re doing it as it can be a bit odd for someone unused to being miked up.

Once the mic is hung and dressed, the next few inches of mic cable should be loosely looped into an overhand knot, then strain-relieved at the nearest belt or collar. This is the little-known 9dB knot, so called because the nature of the loop and knot allegedly reduces noise by 9 dB.

Zoom H1 with Sennheiser ME 2 lavalier clip mic (For celebrant)

We set our levels to about 22 db. It’s a must to hear at what level they will be speaking during the ceremony and a bit tip, it’s usually louder than when they do it for you, so error on the side of caution.

Zoom H1 with Sennheiser ME 2 lavalier clip mic (For any other important speaker or attached as close as possible to area of interest)

Just make sure the speaker won’t be reaching into their breast pocket of wherever the mic may be during the speech. Just brushing against the device can cause unwanted audio noise.

Tascam DR-08 with stands and furry windjammer (For general ambience)

Tascam DR-08 with Rode NTG 2 mic and adapters (To stand where the public speaker will be speaking or jack into the PA system for a direct line)

Audio adapters to carry:

+ Jack to mini jack
+ Phono to mini jack
+ Optical cable to mini jack
+ XLR to mini jack
+ Other female to male adapters
+ Long length of XLR
+ Long length of mini jack

Other essentials for good videography audio:

+ Small rolls of gaffers tape, toupee tape, medical/surgical tape
+ Vampire clips, tie-tack clips, button-hole clips
+ Extra batteries
+ Foam windscreens, cheesecloth windscreens
+ Velcro body-pack holders
+ Zip-lock bags with  silica gel

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