Don’t Forget About Sound!

Coming up soon, the Atlantic team will be shooting a live event in New York City for a major fashion distributor. We had calls, meetings, and then finally the scout happened. Floor measurements were taken, pictures snapped, and general discussion took place about where to set up the stage in the massive event space. We even talked about our potential electrical needs in order to effectively light the space.

But then it was asked. “What about sound?”

Too often on shoots the issue of sound and how it will be recorded, mixed, and otherwise distributed is left until the very last minute. Why? Because there is naturally a lot of focus being put into getting the best picture possible. But any seasoned professional (or anyone, really) knows that without absolutely pristine sound even the prettiest of shots can be rendered worthless.

Back to our scout, we immediately figured we would be working with PA sound. Our sound engineer quickly came up with a plethora of excellent questions. Feel free to use these as a reference guide if you’re ever shooting a video during a live event and you have to work with the existing PA system at the venue.

1) Will there be an elevated stage?
2) Is there a need for handheld wireless microphones for presenters walking around the stage?
3) Or, will they need wireless lavalier microphones?
4) Will speakers only speak at a podium on stage?
5) Will there be an questions and answers session during the event? If so, how many microphones will need to be rigged?
6) Would your sound operator be required to feed a house PA system or would he or she be able to bring in their own speakers for complete control over the PA? (Otherwise, you may run into volume and feedback issues when you feed to the house PA system, and the house has automated level control).
7) Would cameras need a Clear-Com hardwired communication intercom system set up? (One-ear headsets to communicate to each other during the event).
8) Would each camera need to receive audio as a mix or ISO audio inputs?
9) Will there be any MP3 audio recording for transcription or even back-up purposes?
10) Will there be any music playing over the speakers during the event?

And don’t forget batteries and gaffer’s tape to tidy up all of your messy, jumbled wires which will somehow make your audio sound amazing and render you a production hero.