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Crowd sound in live recordings
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1
Gear Nut
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Crowd sound in live recordings

Bit of a recurring problem I have when I mix live recordings is that the crowd often sounds much smaller than it was. I don't always get audience mics provided, in which case I'll experiment a bit with overheads and vocal mic bleed to capture the crowd between songs, but even when I do have audience mics in the pack, they will sort of highlight some screams in the front rows and don't get those massive cheers so much.

Maybe not so kosher, but does anyone have any good tips on how to mitigate this? I used some plugin years ago that sort of helped a bit but I can't remember what it was. I've also looked through some sound fx libraries but I haven't really found anything suitable yet.

(Naturally, more audience mics or better placement would be the first go-to, but this is rarely provided unfortunately).
Old 2 weeks ago
  #2
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JayTee4303's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I back everything else up, audio recording wise, with a handheld two track, usually clamped to my FOH main video camera tripod.

Then there are satellite vidcams, which record audio but tend to distort at rock band levels. I can often get a clean crowd signal from those.

Lots of ways to manipulate signal once uou have it. Compression, mult the track, mult it and slide copies around in time, to thicken, etc.

By and large, live music falls under the heading of Entertainment. People pay to be entertained. Pretty sure very few who paid to see Luke destroy the Death Star or Rambo handholding a Minigun felt short changed in the "reality" department.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #3
Gear Nut
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayTee4303 ➡️
I back everything else up, audio recording wise, with a handheld two track, usually clamped to my FOH main video camera tripod.

Then there are satellite vidcams, which record audio but tend to distort at rock band levels. I can often get a clean crowd signal from those.

Lots of ways to manipulate signal once uou have it. Compression, mult the track, mult it and slide copies around in time, to thicken, etc.

By and large, live music falls under the heading of Entertainment. People pay to be entertained. Pretty sure very few who paid to see Luke destroy the Death Star or Rambo handholding a Minigun felt short changed in the "reality" department.
Thanks Jay. I put a Zoom back at FOH sometimes for recording, with the risk of picking up some random chatter. Front mics always have the "front rows only" issue. I've flown mics in the ceiling at times, around center hall; those have been the best.

I'm referring more to when it's out of my hands though, i.e. if tracks are provided for mixing. I'll play around a bit with what you suggested about slipping in time, sounds like it could work pretty well. Maybe also combining sections from different song breaks to some sort of composite.

I searched around a bit again for crowd samples but I was reminded of my previous results: a lot of football (soccer) crowds mostly.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
There’s plenty of cell-phone ‘crowd perspective’ videos on YouTube ripe for the sampling/harvesting from ! Make a layered collage of these and you’ll have sufficient audience atmos to cover for what your mics fail to capture. Aim to match audience/crowd size so that context seems appropriate
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #5
Gear Nut
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➡️
There’s plenty of cell-phone ‘crowd perspective’ videos on YouTube ripe for the sampling/harvesting from ! Make a layered collage of these and you’ll have sufficient audience atmos to cover for what your mics fail to capture. Aim to match audience/crowd size so that context seems appropriate
Very good idea! Could even look for footage of the actual concerts that were recorded.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tgs ➡️
Very good idea! Could even look for footage of the actual concerts that were recorded.
Just be sure to layer, eq, edit, compress, loop, sample, flange, reverb sufficiently to cover your tracks….so you don’t receive a lo-fi copyright challenge !

Gus Dudgeon did this for Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets” in 1973….see from 8:55 in the following video:
https://youtu.be/aemvt5lEjLs

Last edited by studer58; 1 week ago at 09:26 AM..
Old 1 week ago
  #7
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huub's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
-Use as many audience mics as possible. (Although I have heard very good sound from just 2 schoeps, but with a lot of mics you have control over the sound and applause/room/speaker bleed ratio)
-Fake it with audience recordings that match your picture/recording.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #8
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
see above post!

indoors i'm almost always using three pairs of ambis which often work well for crowd noise - outdoors of course is a different topic...
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #9
Gear Nut
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah ➡️
see above post!

indoors i'm almost always using three pairs of ambis which often work well for crowd noise - outdoors of course is a different topic...
When I do the actual location recording myself it's usually less of a problem. When that's not the case, well, more trickery needed!
Old 1 week ago
  #10
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🎧 15 years
The best sweetest applause I ever got recorded was in A: a great hall that was B: absolutely full, where I was able to C: get shotguns up high under the flown stacks L and R as well as a stereo mic rigged off the front of the balcony, with flankers about halfway towards each side. In listening later each one of those mic contributed to the fullness and sense of detail (but not too much detail) of the sound. Many mics for applause etc= good!
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #11
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tgs ➡️
When I do the actual location recording myself it's usually less of a problem. When that's not the case, well, more trickery needed!
well, you could build a library of applause sounds...
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #12
Gear Nut
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah ➡️
well, you could build a library of applause sounds...
Actually started doing that earlier today, I guess the time is nigh...
Old 1 week ago
  #13
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
After reading some suggestions on here, I tried a pair of hypercardioids with ~50cm spacing and both pointing straight forwards.

It's a reasonable stereo image, with a good amount of "reach" towards the more distant areas of the audience, thanks to the narrow pattern attenuating the closer audience.

It works really well, and has become my default for a tricky-to-record venue which I work at regularly.

Chris
Old 6 days ago
  #14
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wildplum's Avatar
 
🎧 20 years
While not directly answering the OP question, here are a couple of tricks I've learned along the way. In a smallish club (Slim's, cap 470- though I know for a fact that they, more than occasionally, packed 600 in there) Guy Charbonneau (LeMobile) taught me to place a pair of mics under each of the main stacks (L & R), a shotgun and a hypercardioid (or cardioid); the shotgun was aimed towards the read center and the hypers towards the center center. At a somewhat larger venue (The Fillmore, cap. 1300), this was augmented by a cardioid on each side (balcony and wall) about half way down the length of the venue, aimed at the rearish center. For something like a comedian in a similar venue, there would be as many as 18 mics discreetly positioned around the venue, all out of camera sight.
To address the OP's main concern, I have used audience reactions captured this way when mixing crowd response for a different recording done without audience mics, sized for the venue (and, of course, careful not to add any additional music). I don't tell anyone, just as subtlly as possible, bring them up to fill out the crowd.
Old 4 days ago | Show parent
  #15
Gear Nut
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by wildplum ➡️
While not directly answering the OP question, here are a couple of tricks I've learned along the way. In a smallish club (Slim's, cap 470- though I know for a fact that they, more than occasionally, packed 600 in there) Guy Charbonneau (LeMobile) taught me to place a pair of mics under each of the main stacks (L & R), a shotgun and a hypercardioid (or cardioid); the shotgun was aimed towards the read center and the hypers towards the center center. At a somewhat larger venue (The Fillmore, cap. 1300), this was augmented by a cardioid on each side (balcony and wall) about half way down the length of the venue, aimed at the rearish center. For something like a comedian in a similar venue, there would be as many as 18 mics discreetly positioned around the venue, all out of camera sight.
To address the OP's main concern, I have used audience reactions captured this way when mixing crowd response for a different recording done without audience mics, sized for the venue (and, of course, careful not to add any additional music). I don't tell anyone, just as subtlly as possible, bring them up to fill out the crowd.
Really great tips, thanks for these! I'll invest in a couple of shotgun mics so I have more options in the future. I have some shows coming up with one of the bands that I'm working out a live mix for so I could actually use new crowd recordings from these concerts to augment the others.
Old 2 hours ago
  #16
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kludgeaudio's Avatar
 
I don't like shotguns for the application, but I know folks who put shotguns directly on top of PA stacks, then aggressively highpass them so that they get audience sound without too much PA leakage. The fact that the audience sound is thin is not a problem once it's added to the mix.

In a perfect world, I like to have an ambient pair which both provides hall ambiance and audience sound. If I know the room really well (and it's not some huge stadium) I can do both with a single mike pair. If I don't know the room I won't even try it.
--scott
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