Creative Audio Post, a New York-based post-production studio utilized TSL Soundfield ST-450 microphones to record surround crowd ambiance as well the string section during a recent live concert by singer-songwriter Natalie Merchant at the Tarrytown Music Hall in Tarrytown, NY.
The performance will be included in filmmaker Jon Bowermaster’s latest project, a documentary video of Merchant’s tour in support of her new album that will be released later this year to coincide with the 20th anniversary of Tigerlily (a five-times platinum album), her first solo album after splitting from 10,000 Maniacs.
Creative Audio Post founder Jacques Boulanger and partner Holly Grace were in charge of setting up the microphones as well as recording the mixing desk feed on two redundant 40-track portable recording rigs.
“Recording crowd ambiance and reactions is often a neglected part of a live concert soundtrack, yet it is such an integral part of recreating the live experience. We love our TSL Soundfield microphones because they give us the flexibility to capture with precision the reaction of an individual member of the audience as well as individual players to create a full surround sound experience and transport the viewer to the venue, as if they were there,” says Boulanger.
Boulanger and his team used two Soundfield ST-450 microphones: one perched at the edge of the balcony—capturing a 360-degree recording of both the balcony audience as well as the entire orchestra audience—and the second one above the string section. Both microphones were tracked in their unique B-format, and their 100-meter extension cables, designed for location recording, proved handy in reaching the balcony position from the stage input feed.
The ST-450 extending over the string ensemble provided exceptional imaging of each string player, while the other ST-450, dedicated to the crowd ambiance recording, will provide a way to “zoom into” any particular direction and pinpoint any singular audience member response throughout the venue with the use of the SurroundZone2 plug-in inserted across the B-format Quad channel. This intuitive plug-in enables the team to steer the forward axis of this notional array in a full 360-degree horizontal circle and to elevate it over a ±45-degree arc as a post process.
It also offers a Dominance or Perspective control, which simulates moving the microphone closer to or further from the sound sources. At other times, it will be used to provide a true three-dimensional imaging of the audience’s reaction during the concert.