Production: How To Get Good Sound at Live Events
In order to have the best production in your live events, it is important to make sure your audio is excellent. Before you even start you need to be aware of the capabilities of whatever system you are using. There is only so much you can do if you do not have good quality sound. With a few extra microphones, you can get great sound even if you are recording with a traditional hand held camera.
Step 1. The Microphones
The type of microphones and where you place them are very important. The best microphones for live events tend to be dynamic microphones. If you are only working with your camera microphone then this will be omni directional, so it picks up sound from everywhere. If you cannot connect other microphones then you will need to be as close to what you are shooting as possible. Otherwise you can use directional microphones of clips on microphones.
Step 2. Before the Event
Talk to the manager or director before the event. You may find that you can have access to areas otherwise prohibited or even a special area you can shoot from. Many times people will be thrilled that someone is recording the event and will go out of their way to help you produce the best recording possible. This includes placement of microphones and other equipment.
Step 3. Acoustics
You want to be well aware of the acoustics of the room or area you are shooting in. Sound can bounce off of walls which can cause echoes. Try to record in rooms that have curtains, carpets and other soft items as these will absorb sound. Most recording rooms are lined with cork board which soaks up sound. It is best to get into the venue early if possible so you know what is already there and the type of room or space you are dealing with.
Step 4. Test
It is best that you test everything before the event; this way you will be able to head off any problems and can plan to bring additional equipment if needed. It is always a good idea to have a backup plan in place at all times. If you can't get in to test anything previous to the day then get a good description of the spot and bring as much equipment as you can. Normally you will have a few hours prior to the vent for testing.
Step 5. Wind
When shooting live events out of doors you will need to deal with wind interference. You can attempt to stand with your back to the wind to shield the microphone. Many times you can connect a screen to the microphone that acts as a wind shield.
Step 6. Using a Switcher
If you have many cameras and microphones, then a switcher can be a great way to get the best sound as possible. You can adjust the levels of sound as needed as you may find that 1 microphone is constantly overloading. With a switcher you can also turn microphones on and off as you need them as it may not be necessary to have all microphones on at all time.