File this one under “never waste perfectly good pandemic” (this stuff is fun) and also under “just in case I get hit by a bus (or a virus)” – leaving breadcrumbs for some future entity picking up the pieces if I wander away (from the yoga studio or off this mortal coil).
Here’s how we make the yoga happen. We started with a simple mixer and amplifier (a standard stereo with A and B speakers) that has been in the studio since Jansen Court (circa 2002), being fed by:
* CD Player (just one teacher uses this regularly)
* Wireless headset (aka “Barbara’s Mic”)
* Phone / MP3 via 1/8″ stereo
* Bluetooth receiver (a fairly recent addition by yours truly)
Once COVID hit and we started moving to livestream classes, I started getting fancy – with a four camera video system, centered on the Blackmagic ATEM Mini Pro and AIDA HD-100A cameras. But the sound….there’s the rub.
The basics – a choir mic (hanging from the ceiling) and a boundary mic (on the floor) near the instructor mat – which does a pretty solid job of picking up the instructor. The Zoom noise filters (and post-processing noise removal for recorded classes) provide reasonable quality. Both room mics require phantom power, so a mixer (that I had on the shelf) was needed, and I initially ported this to the switcher aux inputs (Mic1 / Mic2) via the mixer main output (left / right)
Then it started to get complicated. Teachers use bluetooth or CDs for class music. Teachers want to walk around the room. There are a couple of different headsets in use. So here’s where it has ended up, after many months of evolution, experimentation, and experience.
Room Mics (floor / ceiling) are now panned left (levels set at the mixer, in the room), feeding mono into the switcher Mic1 input.
Headset mics (two types) are now panned right, mono into the switcher Mic2 input.
Headset mics (two types) are also sent via the mixer FX bus to the room mixer (to provide teacher amplification if desired.
CD and Bluetooth outputs are split, feeding the room mixer (dual 1/4″ mono) and two of the AIDA camera inputs (1/8″ stereo), where they run to the switcher via the camera HDMI. Latency is not a huge issue with the audio tracks (was a bit of an issue with voice, we found)
I think I’m (finally) done with all this – there’s plenty of flexibility to set levels, turn things on and off. Been a long time coming…