It’s been a long time since I’ve posted here and since I got such warm and helpful advice last time I needed something, I decided why not request your sleuthiness again .
Here’s the deal: I have some epic conversations with my brother and my friends via skype, I’m talking like 3-way/4-way, all of their mics are okay, no distortion, but mine is an XLR Studio Projects B1 which is much much higher quality, so the quality isn’t a problem, what is a problem is…Well, I’m new to this. I’d like to record all of us, including me, and I have no idea how. Would I need a mixer? I’d also like to play audio over my mic, like two audio tracks but so they can hear and it’s recorded.
I have a good budget but I’m not thinking of doing this professionally, but I’d just like some advice for the time being.
Probably the best way to do it would be for each of you to record your own (microphone) part of the conversation.
Each of you would Export the recording as a FLAC file, then send all of the files to one person. (these will be big files, so you may need to use an on-line delivery service).
The person receiving the files would then import all of the files into one Audacity project, line them up as close as possible using the Time Shift tool (F5 key), then edit them together cutting out the rubbish bits and synchronising the good bits as close as possible.
This method avoids the poor quality Skype transmissions as each part is recorded directly from a microphone.
I suppose you’re right - it DOES make the most sense. But just out of curiosity, if everyone was in the same room with isolated microphones respectively, everything would be connected to a mixer and then exported to the sound card, wouldn’t it?
You might be surprised how often TV interviewers are filmed asking questions and nodding with interest after the interview has finished.
Very often the interviewee is filmed in one continuous take, then the interviewer is filmed by the same cameraman and the two are then spliced together in the right order.
At the other extreme, if you’re in the same room you could all sit around the same microphone.
You know all those movies you’ve been enjoying for decades? One (1) camera and one (1) sound guy. Gregory Peck says his lines into the camera, everybody stops and then Audry Hepburn says her lines into the same camera. Each sometimes multiple times until the director thinks they got it right.
The movie may be shot in Rome, but “Roman Holiday” was created over weeks in a dark editing room on Melrose Ave in Hollywood.
You can be amazingly economical if you don’t insist on instant reality. Instant reality is expensive and it doesn’t always give the best audience experience.
You can do the one microphone method by putting an omni-directional microphone in the middle of a table – on the table – and then use Chris’s Compressor to even out all the volume variations in post production. You have to be careful not to thump the table when you do that, but a more advanced technique is the Fake Pressure Zone Microphone. You put the mic on a board and then put the board on a folded up towel. The microphone sensitivity doubles when you do that and the noise level goes down. Do Not use a desk mic stand. Those are an abomination.
I’ll come up with a picture in a minute. It’s not that hard to do.
You may run into one production problem. Some sound cards have a “Mic-In” in big quotes. The sound amplifiers don’t work too well and you have to boost the signal in post to get anything useable. Make sure your sound card has a switch called “+20” in a control panel somewhere. That’s the Mic Boost for good theatrical work.
The release version of that microphone has the towel replaced by a carefully trimmed Duvetyne sheet which is a dead black theatrical felt material. Spray the board with High Temperature flat black paint before you put the mic on. Done. I’m using that for a training/education capture room. The one in the picture is pieces from home.