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  #1  
Old 01-06-2007, 03:05 AM
gerax gerax is offline
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Default Surround Panning Question

Hello

I'm in the editing phase of a music DVD I've recorded last month. I'd like to have your opinion on a few things, being that this is my first attempt at a 5.1 surround production for a music project.
The band I've recorded is an "almost classical" double bass quartet I've been working with for some time ( The bassgang ), the approach I've used for recording is an LCR (Decca like) front and an ORTF stereo pair for the rear, all five mics mounted on a surround bracket sytem, with 4 additional close spot mics on the instruments. Recording went fine, but I have some doubts on the panning side of things. Particulary on how to deal with the center channel. The band is set up in an semi circle (a bit open to the sides) so panning for a stereo format wouldn't be a problem. I know that in film sound prodcutions the C is reserved for dialog, but what about music DVDs? Also, my mastering engineer suggested to mix as 5.0 being that there's no real "boom" or low end FX to be put in the sub. What about that?

Your opinion is appreciated.

L.G.
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Old 01-06-2007, 10:55 AM
gerax gerax is offline
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Default Re: Surround Panning Question

Anybody?

L.G.
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  #3  
Old 01-06-2007, 12:14 PM
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Default Re: Surround Panning Question

when i have mixed 5.1 music projects, the vocal is in the center and just a touch of the kick, snare, and bass (though very little) to anchor things. if you have no vocals, then find the element that you want anchored and put it in the center. you can play also with putting things L & R and adjusting convergence to taste -- maybe trying more than usual. then nothing will be total in the C alone. and, then, as you know, use your ears. that strategy makes sense to me with the kind of music you describe.

the LFE is another issue. this is the most unpredictable thing in consumer playback settings. i would set up a lo-pass on the LFE aux and send SOME bass and other things there, but not too much. some titles do none at all. none is perfectly acceptable.

it sounds like you have a very good plan and did some good things in the recording process. in the end, you may find the surroudns are more of a 'feel' thing. like, when they are gone, you miss them, when they are in, they add to the sense of space.
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Old 01-06-2007, 01:05 PM
Serge Perron Serge Perron is offline
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Default Re: Surround Panning Question

Interesting project. You have an acoustic recording of an ensemble. I would take exactly the same approach as a stereo classical music recording. If using a Decca Tree as the main pickup, the C mic would be panned center and the L and R mics panned hard L and R, relying on phantom images for panning. The spot mics would be blended in very subtley and panned to coincide with the phantom images. In a 5.1 setup, just assign the main C mic to the C channel. There are no restrictions on what you can put there. You are still relying on phantom images. Asign your ORTF pair exlusively to the Ls and Rs, even better if no audience was present during the recording. Remember, the more you blend your mic signals the more you muck up the phantom images.

So it's a double-bass quartet? Cool! I'm sure you can find some use for the LFE. Just use it occasionally to enhance specific islolated LF events. Band-limit your LFE feed.


Serge
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Old 01-06-2007, 02:06 PM
georgia georgia is offline
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Default Re: Surround Panning Question

Stay away from the LFE channel. When doing classical, I always try to make them sound exactly like they were playing. If I were you I would simply re-create the room they were playing in and the sound of the group as close to Real as possible. Kepp it all L C R nicely panned as they were sitting and put a tinge of Room in the rears. You do not want to be listening to classical and feel like your sitting on the stage. You want to allow the istruments to develop their sound naturally and that is what you are trying to recreate. The LFE channel is just not a good idea.

cheers
geo
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Old 01-07-2007, 10:16 AM
gerax gerax is offline
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Default Re: Surround Panning Question

Thanx everybody for your input, it's very much appreciated.
Well, the approach I'd think I'd go with in the mix is to have the quartet (BTW it's not a "classical ensemble" by any means, even though they are players from the major orchestras in Italy, the music is far from classical, if you want to have a listen check the link I've posted above to have an idea) in my front speakers, maybe a bit spread over to the sides, with just room and audience in the rear, just like you'd hear if you'd be sitting in 2nd or 3d row. I've suspended the "surround decca array" (I'll post picture soon if anybody's interested) just a few feet in fornt of the quartet so that it was in between them and the audience, and I think I've got a farly balanced tone (hanging that sucker from the ceiling of the theater has been tricky...).
So judging by your opinions I may just pan my LCR mics to the corresponding channels, and have the spot mics up to the necessary level panned to the front LR pair according to the position of the musicians, right? This way I'd just have the C mic in the final C stem, am I right? I'll put the back ORTF pair in the surrounds, and just have maybe a bit of reverb in there too (the room was quite close and fairly dead). I'm just glad I can leave the LFE alone and not have to deal with it. So in my final stems I'd have an empty file (no sound) for the LFE, or I can take it out altogether and deliver 5 master stems (L-C-R-LS-RS) to my mastering engineer?

Thanx for your suggestions

L.G.
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  #7  
Old 01-07-2007, 03:00 PM
Serge Perron Serge Perron is offline
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Default Re: Surround Panning Question

Quote:
have the spot mics up to the necessary level panned to the front LR pair according to the position of the musicians, right?
Lorenzo,

Your spot mics should be panned with an LCR panner. If, for example, you had a spot mic at center stage, you would pan it center with the LCR panner and there would be signal going only to the C channel and not the L and R channels. This way, your image would be more stable than if you used only the L and R speakers.

Serge
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Old 01-08-2007, 10:47 AM
gerax gerax is offline
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Default Re: Surround Panning Question

I'm just working on the mix but another question came up: what about levels? I usually go as high as -0.3 on digital full scale when I mix music, but this is for record releases; what about the levels I have to keep into account in a DVD mix? I know the reference levels for movie and broadcasts are radically different (as low as -20dBFS for dialog). Is there an international standard applicable to music DVDs too or I can go as high as I want and just leave room for the mastering engineer to do his own work? Cosidering that I have to go toward an encoding process is level a factor of influence? I've checked several commercially released music DVDs I have and they are as loud as CDs, this makes me think I should start thinking about treating levels as I was mixing a standard record, am I right?

Again, thanx a lot

L.G.
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Old 01-08-2007, 11:55 AM
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Default Re: Surround Panning Question

that is what i discovered too. make it as loud as a *good* sounding CD. broadcast and room playback specs are irrelevant -- unless of course it is broadcast...

on another note, you may find that the most stable and clear image -- assuming you had good stereo recording technique (which it sounds like you did) -- with 'hard' or 'no' panning. just straight Left and Right and let the stereo micing dictate the image.
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Old 01-09-2007, 10:52 AM
gerax gerax is offline
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Default Re: Surround Panning Question

OK, got it, thanx a lot for the moment, I'll try to post some stereo samples of the mix to let you hear and comment.

L.G.
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