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Howdy. Does anyone have experience recording outdoor crowd walla? I am planning for a session of 30+ people in an outdoor setting and was thinking of recording in quad using a sound devices 744t. Looking for mic type and placement suggestions as well as any other crowd recording tips anyone might have.

Thanks, scott

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We did a session like that at Fury and Grace for the film "A Knights Tale" Bring as many mics and recorders as is possible- one thing that is cool is to have a recordist inside the crowd moving around- it can be a very useful perspective. – charles maynes Jun 18 '10 at 18:32
cool idea Charles. I hadn't thought about that perspective. Assumed it would pick up a few too many "rhubarbs" ;) – scott Jun 20 '10 at 5:06

I've done this several times. If you're going with 4 channels I suggest a different mic arrangement than quad. I'd go LCR, with the L and R mics pretty wide (over 8 feet) to get nice imaging. Use the fourth channel to get another mono track. Perhaps put that one much closer than the other mono so you can switch them for perspective changes. You can always double up takes and pan those to the surrounds if you're going for a large feel.

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Justin. I like your feedback on the mic positions. Would you keep everyone in the group facing the mic's in this set up or vary standing positions here and there? – scott Jun 20 '10 at 5:05
It really depends what crowd sounds you're trying to achieve. A typical ADR loop group will stay stationary facing the mics for something like audience applause, or a restaurant interior etc.. But if you trying to create the sound of a large crowd milling around, havoc, or if your characters are moving through a crowd etc., a loop group would form what they call a "donut." They walk in a circle in front of the mics. That way the voices constantly moving in front of the mics. – Justin P Jun 20 '10 at 8:11

I'd agree with Charles about getting someone milling around amongst the crowd. A couple of DPAs on a rucksack or in a hat can work well, and don't tell the crowd what you're doing otherwise sometimes they overperform when you're near them!

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