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School Productions: Audio

Audio can be tricky at school productions. A common problem is that some performers speak clearly and project themselves well, while others mumble and can't be heard. Crowd noise can also be problematic — school productions tend to attract young families with restless children and crying babies.

A good, simple approach is to use a directional microphone mounted on a tall stand and pointed at the stage. Two microphones are even better — you can place them far apart which provides two benefits: Stereo separation and less chance of someone close to the mic ruining the only audio.

Another option is to take a feed (bus) from the sound system. Be careful when doing this to ensure that all the audio you need will be on this feed. If some performers don't use microphones you may be missing their sound. The safest option is to record both the sound system and one or more separate mics. You can choose the best audio or mix them together in post-production.

If you are limited to your camcorder's onboard microphone, be aware that it will probably pick up sound from around you as much (or more than) the sound from the stage. This may influence where you set up. If people near you are talking, politely whisper to them that their conversation is being recorded on the video. Be aware that parents with babies and young children often sit at the back of the room or near exits.

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