Question: Do you have any tips for miking a marching band for video?
Answer: Previously, we discussed options for miking a marching band to enhance their performance during instrument solos and to allow instruments in the pit to be heard. This week we cover a completely different need for miking a marching band: to achieve great sound for video. Now, for a personal record of the event, video shot on a smartphone or tablet usually has audio that is acceptable. But what we are covering today is audio captured by the band’s dedicated videographer, who is responsible for creating the best video possible. Of course, the on-board microphone can be used, but that will probably not provide the best audio. So let’s look at a couple of other options.
Shotgun microphones work well for distance miking because of their tight pickup pattern and side rejection. A good way to think of how a shotgun microphone works is in terms of a cardboard paper towel roll. Focus on an item 50 feet away and then look at the same item through the paper towel roll. The item is not any closer but you don’t see all the other things around it. The same principle applies to a shotgun mic. The remote sound is not any closer it’s just that many of the surrounding sounds are not picked up. A shotgun microphone can be mounted on a stand or on the camera. Another option, is to use a stereo shotgun microphone such as the BP4029. The same characteristics apply, but with the added feature of creating a stereo image, which can sound more realistic.
Another option for capturing realistic audio is using a spaced pair of wired microphones. Of course, this takes a bit of forethought and effort because mic cables need to be run beforehand. Using a pair of microphones, such as AE5100 cardioid condenser instrument microphones, place one on a microphone stand on the sideline at the 40-yard line and place the other on a stand at the other 40-yard line. This arrangement does an excellent job of picking up the entire field, with the added benefit of providing a very nice stereo image.
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of what it takes to mike a marching band for video. Of course, there are many other options for capturing audio for video, but these are common, tried-and-true methods. Feel free to experiment, and be sure to share your outcomes with us! As always, feel free to contact the Audio-Technica Audio Solutions Department for more information.