Award-winning writer and filmmaker Jon Bowermaster’s latest project is a documentary video of singer/songwriter Natalie Merchant’s tour in support of her eponymous new album. The DVD/Blu-ray disc will be released later this year to coincide with the 20th anniversary of Tigerlily (a five-time Platinum album), Merchant’s first solo album after departing 10,000 Maniacs.
The documentary will feature reprise performances from Tigerlily, in addition to songs from Merchant’s new release and interviews with Merchant and other artists and personalities who know her.
Creative Audio Post in New York City, a full-service audio post-production studio, used TSL Products’ Soundfield ST-450 microphones to record surround crowd ambience and reactions as well the string section during Natalie Merchant’s live concert at the Tarrytown Music Hall in Tarrytown, New York.
Creative Audio Post’s Founder Jacques Boulanger and his partner Holly Grace were in charge of selecting the microphones and recording the feed from the mixing console to two redundant 40-track portable recording rigs.
“Recording crowd ambience and reactions is often a neglected part of a live concert soundtrack, yet it is such an integral part of recreating the live experience,” says Boulanger. “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.”
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; the second mic was positioned above the string section. Both microphones were set in TSL’s proprietary B-format. The extension cable, designed for location recording and measuring about 328 feet in length, proved to be ideal to reach the balcony position from the stage input feed.
The ST-450 positioned over the string ensemble was said to provide exceptional imaging of each string player and was useful for each of the acoustic pieces sung by Merchant.
The ST-450 that was dedicated to recording the audience provide a way to pinpoint any singular audience member response throughout the venue, thanks to the use of the SurroundZone2 plug-in inserted across the B-format Quad channel. This plug-in enables the audio 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 features 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.