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Small-space treatment advice sought...
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GunslingerWriting
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2020 9:14 am    Post subject: Small-space treatment advice sought... Reply with quote

Hi all,

We have some VO fieldwork (corporate/promotional for radio/TV) lined up involving the need for the talent to move from one small space to another small space and then back to the first...and so on over the course of a few weeks. I’m asking for opinions on the best way to make the most of imperfect acoustic situations and significant space constraints, along with suggestions for treating each of these locations

It’s possible that this will result in the clients’ decision to physically expand the spaces (but only slightly, given structural limitations) and sonically improve them for the long run but, in the short-to-mid term, this is what we’re dealing with and, as noted ahead, the expansions wouldn’t be major.

On the bright side, the locations are very quiet, there is little environmental noise and there's nothing intrusive from climate control.

So, I’m asking you if we can make these areas work in one or both of the ahead configurations for this series of projects (and beyond, if necessary) or if you feel the space is just too small for a professional-quality result.

We’re using Neumann mics and John Hardy preamps.

There are two configurations involved for the locations:

#1) The smaller space is 3'4.5" (40.5") long x 30.5" wide x 8'3" (99") high. The walls and ceiling are painted drywall and the entry has removable sliding doors which would be replaced with a wall and conventional door.

#2) The not-quite-so-small size (couldn’t bring myself to say ‘bigger’) is 5'11.5" long x 3'1" wide x 6'9" high. The walls and ceiling are painted drywall and the entry has removable sliding doors which would be replaced with a wall and conventional door.

As noted, for each of the above, there is a good chance that a limited future expansion could occur but not in time for these upcoming projects.

Those future options and dimensions would result in these slightly enlarged areas::

For 1): they could increase only the original LENGTH from 3'4.5" / 40.5" to 5'3.5" for a final configuration of 5'3.5" long x 30.5" wide x 8'3" high.

For 2): they could increase only the original WIDTH (of 3'1" / 37") to 5'2" (62") for a final configuration of 5'11.5" long x 5'2" wide x 6'9" high.

Here are my questions:

#A) Can we make #1 option’s existing size work?

#B) If ‘Yes,’ what would you do (re. room treatment) to get a professional-quality result?

#C) If we can’t make #1's size work, can we make #2's existing size work?

#D) If ‘Yes,’ what would you do (re. room treatment) to get a professional-quality result?

A few weeks ago, I saw a colleague in a minimally treated, very small room using the Porta Booth Pro and the results were really quite good.

#E) Would a room that’s treated as in any of your suggestions above, plus adding something like the Porta Booth Pro to the room, increase the quality in a meaningful way?

Thanks very much; any of your insights and advice for any or the questions above is much appreciated.
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Frank F
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Joined: 10 Nov 2004
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2020 10:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Best option: a fishpole with a sock in the tight spaces.

Also consider some Auralux panels or foam, to place behind the mic (in front of the talent). Use Occum's Razer: "...sometimes the easiest answer is the best one".

Although this might change the timbre of the sound reflections and muffling should be at a minimum if things are as you say.

Consider micing with a lav. as it might be the best bet. You are between a rock and IN a hard place. So if the talent is not moving around a lot in the confined spaces - a lav or ear mic (headworn) might do the trick.

A lot will depend on how much time the talent is narrating in the comfined spaces and if you are good at sweetening the audio in post. Better hope the talent is not claustrophobic

Acquisition is the foremost thought. Matching the sound between mic's comes with experience. Play around in advance to see if you can make a workable transition.

F2
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GunslingerWriting
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 7:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Frank.

By 'fishpole,' are you referring to a boom pole? Would you elaborate on how that would be used and situated in this case to help with the small space?

And am I correct that, with the right talent and gear, professional-quality results are possible with these small spaces if the room is also treated as you suggest? Even though this is an unorthodox type of space and sounds lower level overall, it's a big project and has to result in high quality narration for commercial / media use.
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Frank F
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now that I understand more about the project, disregard all I have said, and think outside the "box" (or confined space).

Yes a fishpole is a boom pole. In the parlance of a sound person - it is called a fishpole because you are reeling in the talent (hahaha).

The idea would be to gather proper sound. You need the right equipment and know how to use it.

I was assuming your talent would be on-camera in the small space. If you are just recording VO only in the small space, the "boom" is not an option.

You have multiple issues when recording in a small space - one is talent fatigue, two is there is no "air" - air; sounds good, three: getting a mic, stand, AND talent in a small room can be at best - challenging.

So, creating a portable "booth" would be your option #1. A few moving blankets, some PVC pipe, and voila - you have a larger "studio". And, it is portable, Don't forget to create a ceiling for the new booth, too.

The above idea is not perfect, but you probably won't need any additional treatment.

Setting up your new "booth" in advance and recording snippets would be a good idea. Test, test, test, before hand.

F2
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GunslingerWriting
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

First, thanks for hangin' in there on this.

Given that the specific spaces I mentioned, for various physical/environmental reasons, are the only options in this particular project--and that something constructed external to them woudn't work--would you agree that doing what you've suggested INSIDE those spaces (moving blankets, etc. and any other spot-treatments that became necessary as we proceeded) could give us the quality we're after?

And, with regard to my curiosity about something like the Porta Booth Pro or its counterparts, what can you tell me about its role in an oddball situation such as ours?
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todd ellis
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

warning - potential idiotic post ahead.

lots of people here know WAY more than me on this subject - frank at the top of the list --- but i'll dig my own hole, thankyouverymuch.

you don't mention what flavor of neumann mic(s) --- would a solution be to switch to a more space-forgiving mic like a 416 or an AT4050 (or something)?
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GunslingerWriting
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 10:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That may well be. They'd prefer to stick with the TLM 49 and U87 and we may have to respect that.
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Frank F
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The post I wrote didn't want to work. So it is now below this post...

"To err is human to really foul things up it takes a computer."

F2
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Last edited by Frank F on Tue Dec 15, 2020 10:54 am; edited 1 time in total
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Frank F
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 10:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, you are making it interesting.

Why can you not have the "talent" go somewhere else?

Portabooth's take up space and you do not have any. If, and I do mean IF you need something, here are some options and they are cheap:

www.amazon.com/Microphone-Shield/s?k=Microphone+Shield

The above items are probably better suited for your project - remember, for what you are doing - image is important. Looking professional makes a big difference to the client.

You will need a mic stand and another mic stand to hold the shield, but this is much better suited (and looks better) than moving blankets.

As Todd said, the mic can make a difference too. Test, test, test and then test again BEFORE you go to the customer's site.

P.S.: Using one of the shield's might also allow you to record in another area, such as a closed office or larger room. Think outside the box!

F2
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GunslingerWriting
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 11:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Frank, the "porta booth" item I was referring to was along the line of the compact, insulated 'box' that Harlan Hogan and others had been promoting. A colleague used something like that on a high-end project pulled together at the last minute in a funky location and the result was excellent quality. And it would fit in the space we're looking at.

I was wondering if you'd heard feedback on something like that for this application.
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todd ellis
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i think the parabolic shield is a good idea. what about mounting it directly into a corner? with stand-offs to give an air gap between the shield & wall?
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Frank F
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What Todd said...

I have used and created a McGuyver'd version of the PortaBooth (which I am familiar with) in a couple of situations. Sound wise - it works - yes. Would I recommend it? Probably not.

Let me re-iterate the following: Perception is 90% of the game when dealing with clients. Most do not know the difference between a Barbie mic and U47.

If you set up with a PortaBooth and it looks amateurish, your project and YOU will look amateurish.

Sound wise for the "shield" I would state they are about 4000% better than a PB. It is your choice, choose wisely.

F2
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Frank F
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let me add this thought...

Porta Booth Pro - $369.00 vs.

Aokeo Professional Studio Recording Microphone Isolation Shield - $32.99

I think that says it all without stating the obvious.

F2
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GunslingerWriting
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perfect, thank you very much for the input.
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todd ellis
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2020 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the whole client perception thing is very true. i just finished putting several thousand dollars worth of video/audio/lighting gear on a shoulder rig to shoot a run & gun covid vaccine deal in the morning. it looks really cool. in this circumstance i could do the same shoot with a 2010 canon 60D & if they didn't see the set up, the client would never know the difference.

but ... they WILL see it.
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