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So How Did They do That International Choir Thing at the End of Conference?


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Posted (edited)
29 minutes ago, rchorse said:

With any reasonably good software, it's pretty trivial while editing video to speed up or slow down the video without affecting the pitch of the audio. The pitch can also be adjusted easily. An editor can change the tempo every frame, if necessary.


My guess is they just had the choirs sing and fixed any issues with tempo, etc. in the editing process. If you have good editors, which the church does, it's easier and probably cheaper to fix it that way than to get all the choirs to match up in the raw video.

 


You mean “fix it in post”?

You could be right of course. 
 

But I’m guessing they went to some expense and effort to capture broadcast-quality video at each of the several locations. I’m thinking, as long as they were going to all that trouble in the first place, they might have wanted to take pains to get as good of raw video and audio as they could, including having the choirs perform in real time at a uniform tempo and pitch. A procedure such as I have suggested is not all that cumbersome or expensive, though it would require some preparation. 

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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I just watched it again, and it should be pointed out that the choirs aren't actually being recorded in their outdoor "performances" (there are no microphones in the long-shots, and they're on a beach in New Zealand!) 

They obviously pre-recorded it (probably in a studio or other acoustically prepared space) and then lip-synced it in a more scenic local setting.  I'm guessing they had a backing track (organ or something simpler) for the recording.  In a studio environment, there are a lot more options.

Edited by cinepro
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Posted (edited)
20 hours ago, cinepro said:

I just watched it again, and it should be pointed out that the choirs aren't actually being recorded in their outdoor "performances" (there are no microphones in the long-shots, and they're on a beach in New Zealand!) 

They obviously pre-recorded it (probably in a studio or other acoustically prepared space) and then lip-synced it in a more scenic local setting.  I'm guessing they had a backing track (organ or something simpler) for the recording.  In a studio environment, there are a lot more options.

What you say certainly makes sense with regard to pre-recording the audio for the remote performances and then having the singers lip-synch the performances in the outdoor settings. But they would still need a way to match their lip syncing with the pre-recorded audio. How was this accomplished? In watching the segments again, were you able to discern any loudspeakers on the premises that would have enabled them to hear the pre-recorded audio to do the lip syncing?

Also, pre-recording the audio indoors for later lip syncing outside does not all by itself solve the problem of how to seamlessly integrate the remote performances with the main one in Salt Lake City. How did they hear the backing track to sing along to? Loudspeakers? Wouldn’t the sound from the loudspeakers have been picked up by the microphones used to record the voices? 
 

Perhaps they had a set of headphones for each singer to hear the backing track. But that would have been cumbersome, it seems to me. 
 

Edited to add: 

I just re-watched the video myself. The music from the organ with backing vocals from the choir in the Salt Lake Tabernacle was integrated seamlessly underneath each of the remote choir performances. Tempo and pitch were perfectly matched throughout. In at least one instance there is a perfect audio dissolve from one remote choir to another. 
 

The whole thing was superbly smooth. You don’t get a product that smooth without a lot of thought, preparation and attention to detail. It’s a technological marvel in addition to being aesthetically and spiritually pleasing. 

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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1 hour ago, Scott Lloyd said:

What you say certainly makes sense with regard to pre-recording the audio for the remote performances and then having the singers lip-synch the performances in the outdoor settings. But they would still need a way to match their lip syncing with the pre-recorded audio. How was this accomplished? In watching the segments again, were you able to discern any loudspeakers on the premises that would have enabled them to hear the pre-recorded audio to do the lip syncing?

Also, pre-recording the audio indoors for later lip syncing outside does not all by itself solve the problem of how to seamlessly integrate the remote performances with the main one in Salt Lake City. How did they hear the backing track to sing along to? Loudspeakers? Wouldn’t the sound from the loudspeakers have been picked up by the microphones used to record the voices? 
 

Perhaps they had a set of headphones for each singer to hear the backing track. But that would have been cumbersome, it seems to me. 
 

Edited to add: 

I just re-watched the video myself. The music from the organ with backing vocals from the choir in the Salt Lake Tabernacle was integrated seamlessly underneath each of the remote choir performances. Tempo and pitch were perfectly matched throughout. In at least one instance there is a perfect audio dissolve from one remote choir to another. 
 

The whole thing was superbly smooth. You don’t get a product that smooth without a lot of thought, preparation and attention to detail. It’s a technological marvel in addition to being aesthetically and spiritually pleasing. 

1. You don’t need to pick up any audio at all from the filming, if they had done it in the studio. 
2. You can use headphones, but as I’ve mentioned before, even when you’re mic’img drums, you still hear the guitars and bass underneath it if you just listen to a drum track. But it doesn’t matter because it just layers into the mix and you won’t notice it (it’s not as loud as you’re thinking when you have other mics picking up specific ranges).

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2 minutes ago, Judd said:

1. You don’t need to pick up any audio at all from the filming, if they had done it in the studio. 
2. You can use headphones, but as I’ve mentioned before, even when you’re mic’img drums, you still hear the guitars and bass underneath it if you just listen to a drum track. But it doesn’t matter because it just layers into the mix and you won’t notice it (it’s not as loud as you’re thinking when you have other mics picking up specific ranges).

1. I realize that. But I’m saying the singers would need to be able to hear the pre-recorded audio in order to lip sync to it. I’m wondering how that was accomplished. Loudspeakers? I didn’t see any on site. Perhaps they were behind the camera or otherwise out of camera range. 
 

2. I dunno. The recorded vocals at the remote sites sound so clean — as though they had been isolated. And when you watch it, — and listen with headphones —  you get the clear sense throughout that the accompaniment is coming from the Salt Lake Tabernacle Organ and the background vocals from the  Tabernacle Choir. The whole thing is marvelously integrated. 

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1 hour ago, Scott Lloyd said:

1. I realize that. But I’m saying the singers would need to be able to hear the pre-recorded audio in order to lip sync to it. I’m wondering how that was accomplished. Loudspeakers? I didn’t see any on site. Perhaps they were behind the camera or otherwise out of camera range. 
 

2. I dunno. The recorded vocals at the remote sites sound so clean — as though they had been isolated. And when you watch it, — and listen with headphones —  you get the clear sense throughout that the accompaniment is coming from the Salt Lake Tabernacle Organ and the background vocals from the  Tabernacle Choir. The whole thing is marvelously integrated. 

It’s not going to sound as dirty as you think. A better example would be the fact that any time you’ve heard the choir sing on TV, you’re hearing them through microphones that are also picking up the organ in the background, but the mics are situated where they’re mostly picking up the choir, then when the actual organ track is mixed in (rather than what’s picked up from n the microphones), you’re not noticing anything. 

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On 4/9/2020 at 11:19 AM, Scott Lloyd said:

What you say certainly makes sense with regard to pre-recording the audio for the remote performances and then having the singers lip-synch the performances in the outdoor settings. But they would still need a way to match their lip syncing with the pre-recorded audio. How was this accomplished? In watching the segments again, were you able to discern any loudspeakers on the premises that would have enabled them to hear the pre-recorded audio to do the lip syncing?

Also, pre-recording the audio indoors for later lip syncing outside does not all by itself solve the problem of how to seamlessly integrate the remote performances with the main one in Salt Lake City. How did they hear the backing track to sing along to? Loudspeakers? Wouldn’t the sound from the loudspeakers have been picked up by the microphones used to record the voices? 
 

Perhaps they had a set of headphones for each singer to hear the backing track. But that would have been cumbersome, it seems to me. 
 

Edited to add: 

I just re-watched the video myself. The music from the organ with backing vocals from the choir in the Salt Lake Tabernacle was integrated seamlessly underneath each of the remote choir performances. Tempo and pitch were perfectly matched throughout. In at least one instance there is a perfect audio dissolve from one remote choir to another. 
 

The whole thing was superbly smooth. You don’t get a product that smooth without a lot of thought, preparation and attention to detail. It’s a technological marvel in addition to being aesthetically and spiritually pleasing. 

The outside shots never show what is in front of the choirs, so they could have had big speakers playing back the pre-recorded singing, or they could have played it off an iPod.  It wouldn't matter at that point.  And since the editor could change the shots as needed, they didn't even have to do a really good job lip syncing.

Once the recording is being done in a studio or controlled space, there are a lot more options.  Since the space is acoustically treated, they can playback the pre-recorded organ and it won't be audible when they mix the sound with the real organ recording.  Or they can give everyone headphones, but once you get beyond a certain number of people, that gets unwieldy. 

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My guess is that the tab choir recorded the whole song first with cameras on the conductor the whole time.  The video was played in each of these remote locations with the sound being muted right before the choir began singing/recording.  This way, they were given the pitch and had a conductor to watch for the timing.  It’s easy to keep pitch, much harder to keep timing.

In other words, I think they sang a-cappella while watching the conductor on a tv (having been given the pitch) - then they were dubbed over the original tab choir recording.

I don’t think they were lip syncing.

Edited by pogi
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7 minutes ago, pogi said:

My guess is that the tab choir recorded the whole song first with cameras on the conductor the whole time.  The video was played in each of these remote locations with the sound being muted right before the choir began singing/recording.  This way, they were given the pitch and had a conductor to watch for the timing.  It’s easy to keep pitch, much harder to keep timing.

I don’t think they were lip syncing.

They could be singing with the recording already and just continue when the sound is muted and, as you say, keep watching the director on screen. 
 

But cinepro didn’t see any microphones in any of the outdoor shots. That’s why he thinks they were lip syncing. 

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18 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

They could be singing with the recording already and just continue when the sound is muted and, as you say, keep watching the director on screen. 

Exactly.

18 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

But cinepro didn’t see any microphones in any of the outdoor shots. That’s why he thinks they were lip syncing. 

The mics would have been above and/or behind the shot.  With small choirs like that, it’s not hard to keep the mic out of shot.  They do it all the time in movies, etc.

Edited by pogi
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1 hour ago, pogi said:

Exactly.

The mics would have been above and/or behind the shot.  With small choirs like that, it’s not hard to keep the mic out of shot.  They do it all the time in movies, etc.

Yes, they could have been on booms. 

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On 4/6/2020 at 4:43 PM, Scott Lloyd said:

Of course it was pre-recorded. But you’re missing my point. 
 

In order for those disparate choirs at far flung locales to sing the hymn at a uniform tempo, there would have to be some technical means to make that happen so that the portions of  the several choir performances could be edited together without it seeming awkward. 
 

I’m suggesting one way that could have been accomplished: Have each choir led by an off-camera director who, as he/she leads, listens to a click track set at one uniform tempo. 
 

Apparently, some here are less amazed than I by the technical accomplishment. Maybe I’m a nerd or a wonk, but I’m fascinated by things like this. 

 

image.jpeg.eac7c594867b4d14fc136030637072f1.jpeg

Metronomes have been around for a long long time and yet most choir directors don't need them because they can sense the proper tempo of a familiar song or hymn and even unfamiliar ones by those numbers in the beginning, like 2/4 or 4/4 or whatever.

So each choir singing the hymn at the proper tempo was fairly easy and is common in most choirs.  The tricky part was splicing the videos together at the correct point in time, but that's pretty easy too for someone who knows how to work with video files.

You do realize each choir was prerecorded in advance, don't you?... because they would not have been adhering to current social distancing guidelines if each choir had sung standing as close together as they were when they were recorded.

image.jpeg

Edited by Ahab
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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, Ahab said:

 

 

Metronomes have been around for a long long time and yet most choir directors don't need them because they can sense the proper tempo of a familiar song or hymn and even unfamiliar ones by those numbers in the beginning, like 2/4 or 4/4 or whatever.

So each choir singing the hymn at the proper tempo was fairly easy and is common in most choirs.  The tricky part was splicing the videos together at the correct point in time, but that's pretty easy too for someone who knows how to work with video files.

You do realize each choir was prerecorded in advance, don't you?... because they would not have been adhering to current social distancing guidelines if each choir had sung standing as close together as they were when they were recorded.

 

Have you ever looked closely at the metronome markings** for each hymn in the hymnbook?  There’s not a single number given for beats per minute, but rather, a range. This is because people are not as uniform as you think they are in how they “sense the proper tempo.” It is not reasonable to expect that separate choirs in separate locales at separate times would “sense” precisely the same tempo. They would need some means of guidance, whether it be a metronome or a click track, or whatever to ensure that they were precisely on the same number of beats per minute. So it’s more complicated than merely “splicing” the recordings together with each choir singing at its own pace. The result would be terribly awkward. 

**The "2/4 or 4/4 or whatever" is not a metronome marking. That's the time signature, i.e. number of beats per measure over the value of a note that gets one count. The metronome marking is a designation of number of beats -- or in this case a range in the number of beats -- per minute. 

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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