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Author Topic: Recording live comedy show  (Read 751 times)

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Offline acidjack

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Recording live comedy show
« on: October 19, 2017, 04:26:41 PM »
I’m getting paid to record a live comedy show in a couple days. The person who hired me knows what I do, so isn’t expecting anything crazier than a 4 track matrix, but I would like to do a good job. I’ll be stationed at the board. I think it’s on the floor, but may be in the balcony, of the venue, which is a mid-size theater.

My thought was just to roll 3 ft spread omnis plus the SBD, since the omnis are mostly just to get crowd noise. I realize at, for example, recent Phish shows, they had what looked like a couple cards pointed up and away from the SBD area for this purpose.

Is there anything crazier to do than that? I know it might be more optimal to have spaced cards facing the audience from stage, but I don’t think that will be an option. I could point the cards backwards from up at the board, but not sure what that would really accomplish. Also, if the cards are facing away from the sound source, correct to invert phase, right?

Any thoughts/anyone actually done this?
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Offline 2manyrocks

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Re: Recording live comedy show
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2017, 08:10:53 PM »
What mics are the comedians using to feed the SBD?   

Wouldn't think it hard to mic the audience--except it's reverse thinking for us to actually want the audience in the recording. 

Offline heesu

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Re: Recording live comedy show
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2017, 10:03:00 PM »
My only thought is from listening to live comedy podcasts. You definitely need some crowd response. I wouldn't overthink it - spaced omni's will give you that, and you can decide how much you want to add in.

Offline opsopcopolis

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Re: Recording live comedy show
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2017, 08:59:12 AM »
98% chance he'll just be using a 58. Just use whatever you think is best to capture the audience. Unless you're able to get mics up front, you might as well use omnis. It'll probably be pretty low in the mix anyway (I would also see if you can't get some sort of center reducing plugin (I use waves "Center") to clear up a little extra space in the middle for the direct sound. You don't need to flip polarity by default. If the phase is screwy just align it in post.
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Offline acidjack

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Re: Recording live comedy show
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2017, 09:18:57 AM »
Thanks all. Seems like a pretty easy one to not-overthink. I also don’t think they’re expecting the greatest comedy recording of all time but I did want to be sure I wasn’t missing anything.
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Offline Ronmac

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Re: Recording live comedy show
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2017, 10:22:21 AM »
I would take a slightly different approach....

Take a feed from the SB for the house sound.

Place a pair of cards at front of stage, pointing at the audience. Try to find a position that minimizes feed from speaker stacks. Patch the two mics into the FOH snake and take a feed from the SB AUX outs "PRE FADER". "PRE FADER" insures the two cards aren't fed to the FOH.

This method gives you the best audience sound to mix with. An omni pair from the back of the room is going to give you the audience and a delayed FOH sound.

Offline acidjack

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Re: Recording live comedy show
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2017, 10:22:54 AM »
I would take a slightly different approach....

Take a feed from the SB for the house sound.

Place a pair of cards at front of stage, pointing at the audience. Try to find a position that minimizes feed from speaker stacks. Patch the two mics into the FOH snake and take a feed from the SB AUX outs "PRE FADER". "PRE FADER" insures the two cards aren't fed to the FOH.

This method gives you the best audience sound to mix with. An omni pair from the back of the room is going to give you the audience and a delayed FOH sound.
yeah, that's optimal, but specifically what I cannot do.
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Recording live comedy show
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2017, 10:28:50 AM »
You got it.  Spaced omnis should work well for good audience reaction and keep the center uncluttered for good SBD dialog clarity in your mix.  Easy.  Should work fine as long as the mics aren't back by the bar or something where folks are disinterested in the act.  Advantage of mics up front facing the audience is twofold- less main sound in that feed giving you more mix control, and a generally more engaged and enthusiastic audience reaction toward the front.

I realize at, for example, recent Phish shows, they had what looked like a couple cards pointed up and away from the SBD area for this purpose.

Is there anything crazier to do than that? I know it might be more optimal to have spaced cards facing the audience from stage, but I don’t think that will be an option. I could point the cards backwards from up at the board, but not sure what that would really accomplish. Also, if the cards are facing away from the sound source, correct to invert phase, right?

Any thoughts/anyone actually done this?

Pointing cards up and away focuses on room sound with less direct audience and stage/PA sound in that feed.  That allows more mixing flexibility with room ambience level as those channels aren't loaded with too much audience or direct sound.   Probably not necessary for this unless your audience mics are too close to a handful of nearby folks who would overly dominate the audience reaction in a distracting way.

No inversion of phase is required with cardioids facing away from the stage.  A cardioid has no inverse polarity rear lobe so the signal from the mic will have positive polarity regardless of angle of incidence over the entire sphere.  Best to try both polarity choices with the audience mics when mixing, choosing whichever works best regardless of pickup pattern.
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Offline goodcooker

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Re: Recording live comedy show
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2017, 01:13:16 PM »

If you use omnis in a theater for the audience/ambient sound you will probably want to EQ out almost all the low frequencies. The lows from an omni pair will muddy up the recording even if mixed in sparingly.

I did a similar recording to this - a spoken word poetry reading - and I ended up riding the fader on the mixdown (you can automate the faders in Audition) to only get the audience between performances.
Even then I cut the low frequencies on the omni room pair with a steep shelf at around 400hz.

I didn't realize until I listened to the room mics alone how much reverberation, chair creaking, coughs and fidgeting was on the recording.

If I did the same thing again I would use split cards.
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Offline acidjack

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Re: Recording live comedy show
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2017, 03:06:08 PM »
Well it ended up going smoothly. The spaced omnis on the balcony came out fine -- I think cards pointing down at the audience could also have worked, but because this involved parts where the dudes sang songs and there was music, it was nice to have some "live presence" more typical of what you want with our recordings. I did do a little EQ, but overall the processing job was pretty simple.
Mics: Schoeps MK4V, MK41V, MK5, MK22> CMC6, KCY 250/5, KC5, NBob; MBHO MBP603/KA200N, AT 3031, DPA 4061 w/ d:vice, Naiant X-X, AT 853c, shotgun, Nak300
Pres/Power: Aerco MP2, tinybox v2  [KCY], CA-UBB
Decks: Sound Devices MixPre 6, Zoom F8, M10, D50

My recordings on nyctaper.com: http://www.nyctaper.com/?tag=acidjack | LMA: http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/acidjack | twitter: http://www.twitter.com/acidjacknyc | Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/acidjacknyc

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Recording live comedy show
« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2017, 03:58:18 PM »
Cool.  Always good to hear a positive the follow up report.
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