Hi everybody, I´m just thinking about stereo dialogue mixing for tv, and I´d like to know yours opinions. The thing is that I´m working on the first chapter of a Tv Serie (with a stereo final mix) that has several scenes inside an F-250 truck, with 3 characters sitting at the front seat. Everyone has his owns lavs, and there is an ORTF stereo set with two Senheisser 416, placed in the middle of the cabin. The shots usually are frontal, with the camera mounted on the car´s hood. My big doubt is if I should pick the boom mic that has the character who speaks at the moment (alternating the mic, like when you have two boompoles) OR should I leave the ORTF signal, that sounds really great indeed, close and clean, with a nice natural reverb. I´m inclined to use that option, but I have two issues regarding that. First of all, is it unconventional, the driver always sounds at the right of the screen, like the other character at the left side and the one in the middle, at the phantom center. Is it that strange? in a good or bad way? Could I use the lavs panned to center? And second, how to clean and EQ both tracks, cleaning like an stereo and doing copy-past of the EQ automation?

What you would do if you have to choose in this situation? Did you have stereo dial before? How did you deal with it?


4 Answers 4


No matter what you decide to do, always sum your mix to mono and check it, as many broadcasts and/or TV sets (not to mention some laptops) still come through in mono. ORTF takes advantage of time differences between the capsules to create a stereo image, which works great in stereo playback but can cause phase issues when summed mono. One possibility is to automate the two mics in the ORTF track to alternately dip at least 6dB when not in use. This still gives you a stereo reverb, but if the TV station or playback system is mono then the phasing will be less apparent. If there is a character that is equally loud in both mics then you just need to pick one. It's kind of a middle ground between your two options.

I would be careful about mixing the ORTF with the lavs. It sounds like both are capturing a fairly direct signal from the actors and combining them, even a little, will almost certainly cause phasing of some degree.

Best of luck!


I would use the ORTF at approximately 35% volume and lav's to fill in the rest. Also I think that it depends on the rest of the TV series and scenes, and how they are recorded.

Never done such a thing just speculating...


Thanks you guys for your advice.

I´ve made some test with the stereo summed to mono, with different % of the stereo signal and volume changes, the best results I think were accomplished with the 6db of difference with the unused mic, as Matt said, and with the lavs in phase with the principal mic, but just for support. In that way, the dialogue keeps the dynamics in motion of the stereo setting, but it´s not weak at the center when the side characters speak...in the end, it acts like a natural stereo reverb and sounds pretty well in this particular case. I wonder if there are production sound made with an M-S rig for dialogues or things like that, but maybe that´s another post.


I haven't dared to answer, but rather than the ORTF, why not use a MS couple in the middle and an omni (or cardio) on each side ?

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