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OT: Sound for an outdoor wedding


BluMunk

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I'm vounteering to provide/run sound (giving as a gift) for a friend's wedding. It's low-key and expectations are in-line with my abilities.

 

I have a few questions and concerns, and am thinking that someone on this forum must have some experience doing this they could share, or mention pitfalls to avoid.

 

The setup is:

 

Outdoor wedding

 

An officiant

 

One additional speaker/reader

 

Bride and Groom

 

No podium/furniture; just standing in a field

 

My thoughts/questions:

 

My first impulse was to lapel mic the officiant. It's going to be a woman family member in some kind of dress (no pockets), and she'll never have worn one before, and won't be interested/cooperative in trying to figure out how to attach it, or wearing a pouch, or anything like that.

 

So, then, a wireless handheld. It can do double duty for the person who's doing a reading as well, which is nice.

 

My two big questions are: am I wrong about giving up on the lapel mic idea so easily/will I or the couple regret it? Do I need to make any special considerations for a windy day, or am I just stuck with it?

 

 

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One of the benefits of letting them stand in front of a mic stand is that they can't wander around, right in front of the PA speakers.

 

The issue of feedback management gets more serious if you give them a wireless rig. Somebody needs to ride the board.

 

And even worse with a lapel mic, which needs a whole lot more front end gain, and really isn't suitable for high volumes.

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I did this for my own wedding, lol! It was a long time ago but IIRC I bought a lapel mic for the officiant, a cheapo Radio Shack wireless thingy, and set up what was basically a home stereo outdoors (it was in the back yard of a house). It worked well enough but what really came through the speakers loud and clear was wind noise! My one piece of advice would be to have some kind of windscreen handy!
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I volunteered to do sound for my niece's wedding recently-it seemed really simple at first, but on the day, I had to put my foot down about not installing the groom's hi-tech gadget to record the vows five minutes before the ceremony started. The niece was supposed to have an I-pad ready to play ceremony songs, which didn't happen until her brother programmed his own phone to play the songs literally seconds before the ceremony was to start. During the ceremony, this phone went to "stand-by" mode, requiring brother's finger-print to re-activate. Sometimes the most strenuous events are the ones we're not being paid for.
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I volunteered to do sound for my niece's wedding recently-it seemed really simple at first, but on the day, I had to put my foot down about not installing the groom's hi-tech gadget to record the vows five minutes before the ceremony started. The niece was supposed to have an I-pad ready to play ceremony songs, which didn't happen until her brother programmed his own phone to play the songs literally seconds before the ceremony was to start. During the ceremony, this phone went to "stand-by" mode, requiring brother's finger-print to re-activate. Sometimes the most strenuous events are the ones we're not being paid for.

 

Hah!

 

That's true, though I've done enough weddings (as a musician) that I know how to communicate about needs, details, and expectations in advance. Not that there aren't always surprises, but I've got a map of the place, a schedule for the day, the name and contact info of the person who's doing the day-of-event coordination, name and contact of the best man, names of important family members, a run-down a few awkward family dynamics . . . but I appreciate the reminder about stand-by mode. There will be music coming from a device that is not mine; I'll make sure sleep mode is turned off!

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I do this all the time. So here goes.

I put a wireless lav on the officiant and the groom.

They are nice systems. Ones a new Shure Digital.

The other is an older Sennheiser.

I also put up a wireless mic for readings and backup.

Maybe a wired condenser for a quartet or guitar.

 

Why wireless ? Trip hazard. It will happen.

I practice extreme stagecraft and run everything away from any

path in or out.

If wired is all you have, run it towards the back and around.

Not sideway. No loops sticking up.

Leave small slack coils on corners just in case.

 

Wind noise:

The lavs each have wind socks on them.

You know those grey cats paw things you see on television cameras?

I got the smallest one I could find and cut it down to fit the lavs.

That does wonders for wind noise.

I also have a high pass filter on each device to knock out any rumble.

The regular mics are usually pretty good on wind noise if they are better ones.

Get a nice wind sock if you have to have something.

 

Feedback:

The worst fear. The groom is whispering and you've cranked it up. Then.

sCREEAWWWW!!!

I ring the whole thing out with levels up prior to the event.

If you have parametrics, they are a godsend. Especially on lavs.

Speaker placement is important too here. And usually they end up in the wrong places because their ugly out front.

Just get them up high enough on poles to shoot over their heads.

Not on the floor.

 

Music:

If it's a device, make sure you get it way early and that person shows you exactly

what is where.

Make sure that stupid shake/ shuffle thing is off. Make sure it's fully charged.

 

Oh. And if you do have lavs, fresh batteries.

Turn them all the way down on the board.

Get them on the peeps and taped up with power on.

Tape over all the controls. They will fiddle with it due to nerves

and general getting comfortable.

 

 

Bring plenty of long power and mic cords.

Don't forget that 1/8 to 1/4 adapter

for a music device.

 

What am I missing.

 

Oh yea.

During the ceremony, don't' mute anything.

Use the faders to turn thing up and down.

It's real easy to mute and not catch it. Just use those faders.

 

Good luck.

 

P.S.

 

If it's out in the middle of nothing, you might need a generator.

I've rented those little lunchbox Honda generators many times.

They're super quiet, light, and just work. Plenty of juice for a wedding rig.

Just put it about 50' out of the way and you can't hear it.

Also the photographer usually wants a feed of your board.

I give them a 1/4 send from an post fade aux. they've usually got stuff to make that work.

Dont forget to turn up that send on all channels used. And check it with them.

You don't want to overdrive their equipment.

 

Ok. I think that's it.

It's likely more than you need but take what you want from it.

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I do almost exactly what Hoochie does.

 

I use the lavs that poke through the clothing instead of clips, and I use small wind socks. The things wind up looking like an extra button.

 

This is a great time and place for feedback eliminators. I use a DriveRack PX with the AFS turned on. They are not, however, a replacement for good EQ and speaker placement. :)

 

You will have to ride the levels on the groom to catch everything the bride is saying.

 

Some folks like to put a lav on the officiant's book, through his sleeve. That really depends on the officiant's style.

 

Oh yes, a graphic equalizer is a handing tool for eliminating further wind noise. It's windy here. Freshwater sailing capital of the world.

 

Wes

Hammond: L111, M100, M3, BC, CV, Franken CV, A100, D152, C3, B3

Leslie: 710, 760, 51C, 147, 145, 122, 22H, 31H

Yamaha: CP4, DGX-620, DX7II-FD-E!, PF85, DX9

Roland: VR-09, RD-800

 

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