Meeting Services, Inc. Counts on VX5’s to Mic the Stars
Founded in 1970, San Diego’s Comic-Con has grown from a small gathering of comic book enthusiasts to the largest convergence of all things ‘pop-culture’ in the United States and beyond. Major film studios and television networks have helped grow Comic-Con into an international stage for premiering new offerings and building fan bases for comics, movies, and TV series.
The now named Comic-Con International is annual host to any and all sorts of aliens, terrestrial & off-planet warriors, vampires, comic book heroes, manga & anime characters; and of course the actors, writers, directors, and producers who bring them to life. It’s up to San Diego, CA-based Meeting Services, Inc. (MSI), and Ken Freeman, to make audio sense of this intergalactic, time-warped, alternate reality madness. “I’ve been managing the “Big Room” – for the last five years or so, with more than 35 events over the course of a four-day convention,” says Freeman.
MSI utilizes Audix VX5’s for podium and panel mics in Hall H; a 6,500 seat venue for high-profile presentations. “Audix microphones provide unique solutions that we find to be cost-effective and robust,” explains Freeman. “With the VX5, we know that they will perform and that we can ‘bet the show’ on their performance. We use them for podium and table mics in panel discussions because of their uniform coverage off-axis and a tremendous amount of gain before feedback. We run ten or twelve of them into a Dugan Auto mixer and I don’t have to worry about it.”
Even seasoned actors and press savvy directors and writers may not be comfortable or familiar with larger public speaking engagements. “I can suggest to them that this is a big venue and to use their ‘outdoor’ voice,” continues Freeman. “These folks don’t necessarily have good mic technique, so I rely on the VX5’s coverage and gain characteristics and then on the Dugan MY16 Auto Mixing card in our Yamaha mixers to get consistent levels.” The Dugan’s not only controlling dynamics, but also microphone priority: “Producers, directors, and actors may not always follow the rules of parliamentary discussion!”
The Audix VX5 is extremely well behaved in terms of EQ as well. “They’re a lot better in terms of high-frequency sibilance than other mics we have used. I don’t have to do a massive amount of dynamic EQ,” explains Freeman. “The uniformity from unit to unit is extremely good. With others’ mics, especially from one year’s production to the next, I can easily discern a difference. This is not the case with the Audix VX5’s. I can be sure that all of them will be consistent.”
Any dynamic processing is largely accomplished by the auto-mixing capabilities of the Dugan, but the entire panel mic group is sent to a compressor. “…just in case Sylvester Stallone grabs a mic, jumps up on the table and starts yelling into it,” adds Freeman.
The list of talent using Audix VX5’s at this year’s Comic-Con is considerable. Between the premiers, presentations, and panel discussions, this a collection of pretty much everyone cool on-screen including talent from Trailer Park, The Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn, Frankenweenie, Oz, Wreck-it Ralph, Jackie Chan, CZ12, The Expendables 2, At the Drive-In, The Big Bang Theory, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Resident Evil, Total Recall, Looper, Elysium, Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, End of Watch, Silent Hill: Revelation, Trailer Park, Iron Man 3, Fringe, Supernatural, Doctor Who and Sons of Anarchy! (Told you it was cool…)
Meeting Services, Inc. has been an AV provider to Comic-Con for over 20 years. As one of the largest projects for MSI each year, Comic-Con is a great showcase for their talents and abilities to provide audio/visual capabilities beyond the scope of normal corporate presentations; of which they do plenty! MSI regularly provides AV services for the X Games, MLB All-Star FanFest, and numerous university performance productions and functions as well.
Audix mics are a reliable tool for MSI productions year-round. “The VX5 has become our go-to choice for podium and table mics, and I have a hard time getting them back from my guys! The couple dozen of them that we have in our inventory have become premium items,” continues Freeman. “I keep four of them in my workbox that I won’t let go of. Rather than carry a couple of each of the ‘standard mics,’ it’s become a reliable choice for getting the job done.”
To learn more about Meeting Services, Inc. visit http://www.msiprod.com.
To get your pop-culture to fill next year in San Diego, visit http://comic-con.org
More information on the Dugan Automatic Mixing systems can be found at http://www.dandugan.com