You are here

recording music outside, gear recommendations

All about the tools and techniques involved in capturing sound, in the studio or on location.

Moderator: Moderators

recording music outside, gear recommendations

Postby banjo_breeze » Wed May 12, 2021 6:15 pm

I want to film a short music video in my backyard in which I play live (as opposed to dubbing in an existing recording and miming along to it). The performance will basically have two "tracks," which are:

- me playing guitar and singing at the same time
- me playing banjo

I'm trying to do this with a two-man recording team, one person on camera, one person on sound.

My question is, what kind of audio gear would you recommend? I'd rather not do a lav or any kind of guitar/banjo pickup situation. Will a boom mic into a Zoom recorder be clean enough? If so, what kind of mic would you recommend for this type of thing?

Thanks in advance!
banjo_breeze
New here
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed May 12, 2021 6:10 pm

Re: recording music outside, gear recommendations

Postby blinddrew » Wed May 12, 2021 9:19 pm

The critical thing on this will be wind noise. Buying, hiring or borrowing a proper blimp will make more difference than almost anything else you do with outdoors recording. Wind noise, even on the stillest of days, can completely wreck a take and it's not something you can fix afterwards.
The core question therefore is, does it have to be in your back yard or can you move it indoors?
User avatar
blinddrew
Jedi Poster
Posts: 14822
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am
Location: York
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...

Re: recording music outside, gear recommendations

Postby banjo_breeze » Thu May 13, 2021 2:59 pm

Thanks for responding. Fortunately, I live in NYC, so my "yard" is more like a patio, surrounded by buildings. So not a ton of wind. That being said, yes, I think some kind of wind screen will be necessary.

As for the mic itself, what do you think would be best for mounting on a boom?
banjo_breeze
New here
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed May 12, 2021 6:10 pm

Re: recording music outside, gear recommendations

Postby blinddrew » Thu May 13, 2021 3:44 pm

Do you need to keep the mic off camera? That's the main reason for using a boom (other than tracking a moving object, presumably not happening in this case).
And key question is what kind of budget you're looking at? Do you already own the recorder or do you need to factor that into the budget?
User avatar
blinddrew
Jedi Poster
Posts: 14822
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am
Location: York
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...

Re: recording music outside, gear recommendations

Postby banjo_breeze » Thu May 13, 2021 5:11 pm

Keeping the mic off-camera would be ideal. And I'm fortunate enough to work for a TV show that will let me borrow most of the gear I need, so the budget thankfully isn't much of a factor.

Would having an on-camera microphone (a lav, I assume) produce a better sound, generally speaking?
banjo_breeze
New here
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed May 12, 2021 6:10 pm

Re: recording music outside, gear recommendations

Postby blinddrew » Thu May 13, 2021 5:47 pm

It's just that if you're not worried about having your mic on camera then you can be much freer with your mic positioning. The main advantage is that you can mic a bit closer and thereby increase signal to noise ratios - i.e. more tune, less background traffic etc.
And in this case I'd probably be thinking about a large diaphragm capacitor of some kind (possibly two) positioned to capture both your voice and instrument.
User avatar
blinddrew
Jedi Poster
Posts: 14822
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am
Location: York
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...

Re: recording music outside, gear recommendations

Postby banjo_breeze » Thu May 13, 2021 6:05 pm

Okay, awesome, and if I stick with the boom plan, what type of mic would you recommend for that?
banjo_breeze
New here
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed May 12, 2021 6:10 pm

Re: recording music outside, gear recommendations

Postby forumuser840717 » Thu May 13, 2021 6:45 pm

If you're not planning to move about, needing a way of tracking you, I really wouldn't use a boom as it'll rapidly get boring and tiring for the boom operator having to keep the mic in exactly the same place from take to take and hold it still for the duration of the song. A reasonably experienced boom op would be able to do it but they won't thank you for lots of long duration shots requiring fixed positioning and, I suspect, many would pretty soon put the boom on a stand.

Personally, I'd go for a couple of stand mounted mics, probably on two stands, and work out their positioning with the cameraman to keep them out of shot. Distance requirements would to some extent dictate choice of mic, as would relative levels of music and background noise. Mics on the camera would probably be my last choice unless the camera were locked off and quite close (in which case it'd be easier to keep proper mics on stands out of shot anyway). Apart from being very distance dependent, mics on camera restrict the movement of the camera unless you're happy to have a constantly changing sound quality and (if you're in stereo) stereo image. With a fixed mic/mics, the cameraman can ramble and frolic about to their heart's content without making the listener aurally dizzy.

If you plan on using a wide shot then the camera to performer distance could well need to be greater than is practical for a good clear pickup, especially if the background noise level is an issue. However, if you're on a wide shot then positioning stands in close to the performance will put them in shot so more directional mics from further away will be needed. Unfortunately, contrary to popular ideas, directional doesn't mean that the mic will only pick up what it's pointed at and there's still a tradeoff between wanted and unwanted sound. Also, with increasing directivity tends to come increasing colouration which adds a little extra complication. It's not so bad for speech but for music, particularly transient heavy sounds like banjo, it can show up quite unpleasanlty. So it's a balancing act between picking up the music, the background noise, the amount of colouration, and seeing the mic(s) in shot.

If you want to use a single point pickup, then something like an MS pair or MS stereo mic might be worth considering. In theory, you could find a postion for a single mic or pair that'll balance the banjo and the vocals and it can sound fantastic working that way but the range of positions where that kind of single point pickup will work is quite small and will restrict the available options for mic position and quite possibly create problems with visibility on camera. Of course, there's always the option with any wide shots distant enough for things like finger/mouth movements not to be clearly visible, of shooting them separately, on another run of the track with the mics taken away and just cutting them over the take captured with the closer shots that exclude the mics. And other such deception and trickery. Er...I mean magic of TV

My own mic choice(s) for boom or static mics on something like this would probably be along the lines of Schoeps CMC541/CCM41 if the distances aren't too great, or Schoeps CMIT or Super CMIT gun mics if more distance is necessary. If one can mic more conventionally by narrowing the shot and getting closer on the mics then just use whatever you'd normally go for. Whatver you use must have a proper windshield on it as even relatively light winds can produce problematic occasional gusts that ruin takes. I'd assume that a hollow foam or hollow foam and fluffy is the minimum starting point but a full blimp, with a fluffy, is likely to be needed in all but very light breezes.
forumuser840717
Regular
Posts: 294
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2016 5:20 pm

Re: recording music outside, gear recommendations

Postby blinddrew » Thu May 13, 2021 6:52 pm

840717 has beaten me to it, I'd listen to him, he knows stuff. ;)
User avatar
blinddrew
Jedi Poster
Posts: 14822
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am
Location: York
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...

Re: recording music outside, gear recommendations

Postby banjo_breeze » Thu May 13, 2021 7:30 pm

Wow! Thanks so much for the (very) comprehensive tips. This is all incredibly useful, and I now think I have a good jumping-off point to make my outdoor recording dreams a reality. Thanks again! (And of course to blinddrew, too.)
banjo_breeze
New here
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed May 12, 2021 6:10 pm