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Old 01-18-2018, 09:26 PM   #1
jjdog
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Ideal mic setup for grade school classroom scene?

Setting is a traditional classroom, rows of individual desks. The teacher and a few kids have speaking roles, the others will laugh or taunt on cue. What's the ideal mic setup? Here's my current gear:

1 cardioid condenser
1 large diaphragm condenser, 3 pickup patterns (omni, cardioid, fig8)
1 hypercardioid condenser
3 different stereo mics
---a camera mount mid-side shotgun (internally matrixed, no separating shotgun & fig8 channels )
---an ORTF mic (Schoeps knockoff)
---built-in stereo mic on Tascam recorder (not too bad actually)

I also have 3 mic stands with boom arms, 1 tabletop mic stand with a boom arm, and 1 small, straight desktop mic stand.

I can record 4 channels into the Tascam, and an additional 1 or 2 channels if I use the camera's mic input, though I imagine the preamps aren't quite as good as those on the Tascam.

I'm open to getting someone to hold a boom if that'd help.
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Old 01-18-2018, 09:42 PM   #2
AcousticAl
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Go ahead and omit the large diaphragm condenser and all of your stereo mic options. None of those are helpful for on-camera dialog.

On a typical production, there would be a boom op - likely even two for coverage on the wide shots. The scene will be broken into shots: covered wide, shot again possibly with a medium shot, and shot again a couple times or more as close-ups (possibly not the entire scene on close-ups, but the portions needed).

If you only have a single boom op, cover the teacher on the wide. If you have any mediums (2-shots, 3-shots) then a boom can cover that well enough. Use close-ups to grab student dialog. Sound editing is just as important as picture editing, and you’ll layer different takes to get the best of each line.

As for which mic, indoors in a classroom (reflective/reverberant) and especially if you have a boom op who is green, the hypercardioid will be most fogiving.
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Old 01-19-2018, 02:56 AM   #3
jjdog
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Interesting. I woulda thought you want a stereo field of the kids when they're all laughing. But I watched some Kindergarten Cop scenes and they do sound mono.

So is a hypercardioid appropriate for capturing the whole class?
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Old 01-19-2018, 04:49 AM   #4
AcousticAl
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Dialog is a mono source, except for special circumstances (an actor speaking out of frame or walking off-cam, where the audio is often panned to match). But even when it is panned to match movement, it was recorded in mono.

The tighter pickup pattern of the hypercardioid will allow focused pickup of individual voices. Just remember that the mic needs to be within 2’ to be effective, and closer is better.

As for “the whole class”, are you talking about things like laughter? Those are things that can be grabbed wild (separate from any video) and the hypercardioid will be fine for that.
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