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live sound for kids' musical

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Anonymous
April 7, 2005 3:26:06 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

I have signed up to assist doing live sound for my kids' production of
a musical play. I backed into engineering from playing an instrument
but have some engineering skills (see the link below). I don't have
time to research the stage play field in depth but would like to help
them, as I am already more qualified than most of the volunteers.
Anyone know of any articles or short publications that deal with the
logistics and proximities of miking a stage play? I have quite a few
cardioid condensors and dynamics and a couple of lavaliers. Would omnis
be helpful?
peakester
http://home.earthlink.net/~peakester
Anonymous
April 7, 2005 4:45:03 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

peakester wrote ...
>I have signed up to assist doing live sound for my kids' production of
> a musical play. I backed into engineering from playing an instrument
> but have some engineering skills (see the link below). I don't have
> time to research the stage play field in depth but would like to help
> them, as I am already more qualified than most of the volunteers.
> Anyone know of any articles or short publications that deal with the
> logistics and proximities of miking a stage play? I have quite a few
> cardioid condensors and dynamics and a couple of lavaliers. Would
> omnis
> be helpful?

Yikes, a potential nightmare. A friend of mine used a brilliant
solution a few years ago. He got all the kids together in the
studio and produced the play radio-drama style, then had the
same kids lip-sync to themselves in the live stage production.
Everyone was amazed at the excelent sound :-)

Remember that there is a newsgroup specializing in live-
sound reinforcement: news:rec.audio.pro.live-sound
Anonymous
April 7, 2005 5:56:59 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Richard Crowley" <rcrowley7@xprt.net> wrote

> Yikes, a potential nightmare.

Indeed! Something I've used is Countryman hyper cardioid "lavalier" mics on
special floor brackets, but don't expect to get much sound from them.

Julian
Related resources
Anonymous
April 7, 2005 11:08:29 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Years ago an older engineer told me about a technique that he termed an
'old broadway' style of micing where you create a pressure zone on a
hardwood stage floor by placing the capsule of the mic about 1/16 inch
off the floor. He claimed that a couple of those would mic the whole
stage and create no obtrusion to sightlines. Basically a PZM. You're
micing the reflections off of the floor. Never had the occasion to try
this out, however. Maybe someone here that's an 'old school broadway'
audio guy could comment.
April 7, 2005 12:39:31 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

How do these floor mounted PZMs avoid picking up all the foot noise?

Mark
Anonymous
April 7, 2005 2:28:26 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

will <wpmusic@sio.midco.net> wrote:
>Years ago an older engineer told me about a technique that he termed an
>'old broadway' style of micing where you create a pressure zone on a
>hardwood stage floor by placing the capsule of the mic about 1/16 inch
>off the floor. He claimed that a couple of those would mic the whole
>stage and create no obtrusion to sightlines. Basically a PZM. You're
>micing the reflections off of the floor. Never had the occasion to try
>this out, however. Maybe someone here that's an 'old school broadway'
>audio guy could comment.

This works pretty well, and EV used to sell a thing called a "microphone
mouse" which did this.

The problem, though, is that kids can't project. A kids musical is about
the worst possible job to have. You can't do without PA, because of the
lack of projection. You can't afford to bodypack everyone. You _maybe_
can use just proscenium and foot mikes, except that kids won't be careful
enough with their blocking. The PZM route seems like a good one until
one of the kids steps on one.
--scott

--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Anonymous
April 7, 2005 3:09:14 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

will wrote:

> Years ago an older engineer told me about a technique that he termed
> an 'old broadway' style of micing where you create a pressure zone
on
> a hardwood stage floor by placing the capsule of the mic about 1/16
> inch off the floor. He claimed that a couple of those would mic the
> whole stage and create no obtrusion to sightlines. Basically a PZM.
> You're micing the reflections off of the floor. Never had the
> occasion to try this out, however. Maybe someone here that's an
'old
> school broadway' audio guy could comment.

IME this old guy was giving you the real stuff. it's kinda ironic
because I remember when the PZM was hot new technology and the latest
panacea. In the long run it became just another tool...

From time to time I've made recordings of lectures, etc. by simply
putting a cylindrical end-address mic on the floor, pointed at the
source, and situated it won't roll round and so nobody will step on
it.

As you and Scott point out, its a kind of poor-man's PZM, unless of
course the mic is expensive in which case its a rich-man's PZM ;-)

But, IME it's not really like you are micing reflections off the
floor. Indeed, this method seems to do a good job of minimizing
reflections from the room. Instead, the floor seems to act more like a
waveguide.
Anonymous
April 7, 2005 3:44:13 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Mark <makolber@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
>How do these floor mounted PZMs avoid picking up all the foot noise?

With kids on stage, they won't.
--scott

--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Anonymous
April 7, 2005 7:40:50 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Scott Dorsey wrote:

> The problem, though, is that kids can't project. A kids musical is about
> the worst possible job to have. You can't do without PA, because of the
> lack of projection. You can't afford to bodypack everyone. You _maybe_
> can use just proscenium and foot mikes, except that kids won't be careful
> enough with their blocking. The PZM route seems like a good one until
> one of the kids steps on one.

To the OP who initiated this topic:

FWIW, I have been involved with a local childrens acting troupe for
going on 7 years now. Most of our productions have taken place in a 750
seater which supplies their own sound tech, lighting tech etc. Typical
setup is 7 to 10 wirless mikes for main actors and sometimes a couple of
overheads for "dead" spots. Average number of children actors per show
is around 30 with ages ranging from 5 to 16.

Scott is dead on with his observation that children have a tendency not
to project.....unless their acting coach hammers it into them they must!
Our troupe's coach advice to the kids is, "Slow down, articulate,
project and address your lines directly to the audience."

If you can, go to some of the rehearsals and observe (it will probably
give a good indication which kids you are going to have a problem
with)...see if the coach is consistently reminding/correcting the actors
about projecting etc; if not ride his/her ass until they do!! <grin>

Break a leg...... :-)
April 7, 2005 10:15:52 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

peakester@earthlink.net wrote:
> I have signed up to assist doing live sound for my kids' production of
> a musical play. I backed into engineering from playing an instrument
> but have some engineering skills (see the link below). I don't have
> time to research the stage play field in depth but would like to help
> them, as I am already more qualified than most of the volunteers.
> Anyone know of any articles or short publications that deal with the
> logistics and proximities of miking a stage play? I have quite a few
> cardioid condensors and dynamics and a couple of lavaliers. Would omnis
> be helpful?
> peakester
> http://home.earthlink.net/~peakester
>
I just finished doing this at our middle school production of
'Oklahoma!'. We were fortunate in that we borrowed 8 wireless packs
(Shure LX I think) from the high school. With our two Sennheiser packs
we could muster 8 working plus one spare mic. In past years with the
two resident packs plus a couple of begged/borrowed ones they had to
swap mics between scenes, a major hassle I'm told. Fortunately, the
school was recently renovated and has a reasonable amp/speaker system
and associated wiring. We could place our mixer (a new inexpensive
Behringer) in the back of the house. As other posters have noted, kids
don't generally project very well. Having all the leads wired meant we
could trim their channel on mixer without having to worry about the mic
being swapped to some other actor and having to re-trim. Quite a few
people thanked us for the "excellent sound". It was a lot of fun (and a
lot of time, I was there for 7 shows)

Good luck!

bill
Anonymous
April 8, 2005 5:19:35 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

On 4/7/05 10:08 AM, in article
1112882909.188785.249850@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com, "will"
<wpmusic@sio.midco.net> wrote:

> Years ago an older engineer told me about a technique that he termed an
> 'old broadway' style of micing where you create a pressure zone on a
> hardwood stage floor by placing the capsule of the mic about 1/16 inch
> off the floor. He claimed that a couple of those would mic the whole
> stage and create no obtrusion to sightlines. Basically a PZM. You're
> micing the reflections off of the floor. Never had the occasion to try
> this out, however. Maybe someone here that's an 'old school broadway'
> audio guy could comment.
>

Not old school but current.

Actually you use as MANY as you can afford,
in an odd number so that one ends up dead center,
the rest positioned according to where th stage action happens and you
NEVER turn on more than two at a time... Yes that means a trustable audio
mix person is MANDATORY who KNOWS the blocking and LIVEs to stay 1/2 step
ahead of the script and action)

Aside from laying a shure 57 on the floor pointing at the stage You REALLY
want a bunch of the CROWN PCC160 floor mics.
Anonymous
April 8, 2005 7:13:45 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"will" <wpmusic@sio.midco.net> wrote in message
news:1112882909.188785.249850@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com...
> Years ago an older engineer told me about a technique that he termed an
> 'old broadway' style of micing where you create a pressure zone on a
> hardwood stage floor by placing the capsule of the mic about 1/16 inch
> off the floor. ...... Never had the occasion to try
> this out, however. Maybe someone here that's an 'old school broadway'
> audio guy could comment.

I've tried them out with kids in an old school and was trained by an old
school guy how to do it this way! Maybe that counts? Short of putting a
bodypack on every kid it is the best way. Or do this plus a bodypack on the
main kids. Either way you're going to be pressing up against feedback the
whole time!

Julian
Anonymous
April 8, 2005 7:13:49 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"SSJVCmag" <ten@nozirev.gamnocssj.com> wrote
>
> Not old school but current.
>
> Actually you use as MANY as you can afford,
> in an odd number so that one ends up dead center,
> the rest positioned according to where th stage action happens and you
> NEVER turn on more than two at a time... Yes that means a trustable audio
> mix person is MANDATORY who KNOWS the blocking and LIVEs to stay 1/2 step
> ahead of the script and action)

AND LOTS of EQ. Spend some fosuced time ringing them out to get max gain
before feedback

>
> Aside from laying a shure 57 on the floor pointing at the stage You REALLY
> want a bunch of the CROWN PCC160 floor mics.

I do like the Countryman Hyper cardioids better! You can get 6 dB more gain
that with anything else I've done this with.

Julian
Anonymous
April 8, 2005 12:21:31 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

>From my experience, pretty much what everybody above has mentioned.

Logistics? In addition to the zone mics, wWe had to scrap up as many
wireless units as we could, hid little ATR35s everywhere, etc.. The
parents will keep compaining until you can prove you were out of
mics...

Aside from the mics, do start pondering ahead about running the board
with all these little kids prancing about and they love banging the mic
to see if it works (mute alot). Gates and compressors on large
subgroups helped herd things along too.

A feedback destroyer helped too...

Good luck,
Andy
Anonymous
April 8, 2005 6:16:37 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

On 4/7/05 6:15 PM, in article O5KdnaNzyd6HLMjfRVn-qA@rcn.net, "bill"
<bp-x47@poboxDOT.com> wrote:
(SNIP details about bunches-o-bodypacks on community show)
> Quite a few
> people thanked us for the "excellent sound".

Maybe or maybe-not we should get into what means 'excellent sound'.

While -admiring- Big Broadway Sound Design and the more-oft-than-not
resultant Huge 70mm Big Movie Sound that thus is completely viscerally
detached from the relatively miniature figures running around the stage, I
find it absolutely destroys the whole point of live theater. I'm in a very
definate minority on this as a sound designer but those that Get It make
Magic happen. There are a coiple here in the Dc area, most notably for me
was John Kalbfliesh, Musical Director who, when allowed to, DEMANDS a show
that is indistinguishable from an acoustic character and has achieved this
with the better techs around here both WITh and WITHOUT any or all forms of
voice reenforcement.
April 8, 2005 6:16:38 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

SSJVCmag wrote:
> On 4/7/05 6:15 PM, in article O5KdnaNzyd6HLMjfRVn-qA@rcn.net, "bill"
> <bp-x47@poboxDOT.com> wrote:
> (SNIP details about bunches-o-bodypacks on community show)
>
>> Quite a few
>>people thanked us for the "excellent sound".
>
>
> Maybe or maybe-not we should get into what means 'excellent sound'.
>
> While -admiring- Big Broadway Sound Design and the more-oft-than-not
> resultant Huge 70mm Big Movie Sound that thus is completely viscerally
> detached from the relatively miniature figures running around the stage, I
> find it absolutely destroys the whole point of live theater. I'm in a very
> definate minority on this as a sound designer but those that Get It make
> Magic happen. There are a coiple here in the Dc area, most notably for me
> was John Kalbfliesh, Musical Director who, when allowed to, DEMANDS a show
> that is indistinguishable from an acoustic character and has achieved this
> with the better techs around here both WITh and WITHOUT any or all forms of
> voice reenforcement.
>
Point taken. "Excellent sound" was an amalgam of many different
comments. To expand, some said (and I paraphrase, my memory ain't what
it used to be) "Everyone was balanced, I could hear even the quiet
kids", "It was enjoyable, I didn't have to strain for 2 hrs to hear the
words". I've been to some Broadway shows where the sound was just *way*
too much 'in your face', it took away from the overall performance I
thought (JC superstar comes to mind for some reason).
And to answer T Maki's post; we were doubly fortunate in that we had no
snotty kids demanding mics nor demanding parents. The kids were very
respectful to me and our light/sound crew. Maybe it's me, but when I go
to a performance and I can't hear/understand the actors my mind wanders,
I'm just not paying attention!

bill
Anonymous
April 8, 2005 6:21:50 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

On 4/8/05 6:13 AM, in article 115cmau659q2g91@corp.supernews.com, "Julian
Adamaitis" <nospamJulianPA@Access4Less.net> wrote:

>
> "SSJVCmag" <ten@nozirev.gamnocssj.com> wrote
>>
>> Not old school but current.
>>
>> Actually you use as MANY as you can afford,
>> in an odd number so that one ends up dead center,
>> the rest positioned according to where th stage action happens and you
>> NEVER turn on more than two at a time... Yes that means a trustable audio
>> mix person is MANDATORY who KNOWS the blocking and LIVEs to stay 1/2 step
>> ahead of the script and action)
>
> AND LOTS of EQ. Spend some fosuced time ringing them out to get max gain
> before feedback
>
>>
>> Aside from laying a shure 57 on the floor pointing at the stage You REALLY
>> want a bunch of the CROWN PCC160 floor mics.
>
> I do like the Countryman Hyper cardioids better! You can get 6 dB more gain
> that with anything else I've done this with.
>
> Julian
>

Havent worked with those.
Another HARDEr thing to wrangle is a really FOCUSSED speakers system that
has real directional control below 1kHz. I worked with a set of SPL systems
that use this whacky idea that dumps a set of lower-midrange drivers into
the sides of specially made LARGE horn (that has the mid-HF firing into a
fairly conventional throat at the back). The result is IMPRESSIVE clean
sharp-edged patterns down to 400Hz! I was able to nail an easy 6dB or better
at the audience with a VERY unstable 3-PCC wide0stage setup.
Anonymous
April 8, 2005 6:21:51 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"SSJVCmag" <ten@nozirev.gamnocssj.com> wrote

> Another HARDEr thing to wrangle is a really FOCUSSED speakers system that
> has real directional control below 1kHz.

Yeah! Good point.

Julian
Anonymous
April 8, 2005 7:01:25 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

I'm with you all the way. Much more could be said, but as
you say, those that "Get it" really do get it.

And, of course, there is the tangential issue that the more
and earlier the collective "we" introduce
children and young people to dependence on electronic
support, the longer it will take them (if they ever do) to
understand the principles and practice of good vocal
production and projection. I'm starting to lose count of the
times I've had to deal with a snotty, egocentric 11-year-old
or his/er parents who demand a wireless mic. Most of the
time, it is quite adequately proven that the kid should
never have been cast in the first place - often,
embarrassingly so. Can't wait for them to get into high
school or college - what a treat.

So, when we're all complaining some day about how "these
kids" coming along have no idea how to produce vocal
quality, let's not forget who taught them they didn't have
to learn how. The conditioning they received consisted of
"stomp, scream, roll on the floor - get a belt pack." Never
made sense to me how they can hear each other across a
playground with no assistance whatsoever, but can't be heard
past the footlights on stage.

Carry on...



TM



SSJVCmag wrote:
>
> On 4/7/05 6:15 PM, in article O5KdnaNzyd6HLMjfRVn-qA@rcn.net, "bill"
> <bp-x47@poboxDOT.com> wrote:
> (SNIP details about bunches-o-bodypacks on community show)
> > Quite a few
> > people thanked us for the "excellent sound".
>
> Maybe or maybe-not we should get into what means 'excellent sound'.
>
> While -admiring- Big Broadway Sound Design and the more-oft-than-not
> resultant Huge 70mm Big Movie Sound that thus is completely viscerally
> detached from the relatively miniature figures running around the stage, I
> find it absolutely destroys the whole point of live theater. I'm in a very
> definate minority on this as a sound designer but those that Get It make
> Magic happen. There are a coiple here in the Dc area, most notably for me
> was John Kalbfliesh, Musical Director who, when allowed to, DEMANDS a show
> that is indistinguishable from an acoustic character and has achieved this
> with the better techs around here both WITh and WITHOUT any or all forms of
> voice reenforcement.
Anonymous
April 8, 2005 11:02:48 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

No intent to dis' your kids. Most kids are pretty good about
it.

And they are fortunate to have supportive adults who help
and want them to succeed.



TM

bill wrote:
>

> we were doubly fortunate in that we had no
> snotty kids demanding mics nor demanding parents. The kids were very
> respectful to me and our light/sound crew.
!