Articles, Blog

No DJ? No Problem! Audio Gear for Filming Small Wedding Receptions & Rehearsal Dinners

September 11, 2019

– Hey guys, my name is Matt Johnson. And today I want to share
with you my audio recording setup that I use for recording
toasts at rehearsal dinners, and at small wedding receptions that don’t have a sound system. And this audio setup is gonna
make sure that you’re able to record high quality audio and possibly even make more money, and I head you now saying,
“Matt, a wedding rehearsal dinner is basically a wedding
reception with just less people, why would I need a different
audio setup for that?” But hear me out, there
are certain scenarios that you are going to run into that
are very specific to wedding rehearsal dinners and smaller
receptions that don’t have a DJ or band with audio
equipment and that is what we’re gonna be covering today. Let’s start with the first scenario, you are filming a rehearsal
dinner at a large restaurant that has a sound system
and a projector, etc, in this situation you can
treat it just like a wedding reception and you don’t
actually need anymore gear. I’ve covered my entire
reception audio setup in previous videos which
I’ll make sure to link to down in the video description. Now here’s a more difficult scenario, let’s say you are filming
a smaller rehearsal dinner that is still gonna have
toasts but there is no speaker or sound system for you to plug
in to, how are you going to record high quality audio of the toasts? First up we have our cheapest
option and that is to take a lav mic with a recorder
such as this Tascam DR-10L and individually put one on
every single toast speaker rotating them out with as
many recorders as you have to make sure that every
person speaking has a recorder and mic on them. Second option is to take
a little voice recorder such as this Sony UX560,
I’ve done this many times before at wedding rehearsals,
you hand it to the person speaking, tell them to
treat is like a microphone and they just kind of
awkwardly hold it here like, “Hey, what’s up, glad
to be here, okay great.” and it usually works pretty well. You should already own at least
one of this in your wedding filmmaking audio kit for a
wedding day, so you can easily repurpose it for use in a
smaller rehearsal dinner. Let’s say you wanna get fancier though, this microphone is part of
my new audio recording system that I use at rehearsal dinners. This is the Electro-Voice
RE50N/D-B, which is a very difficult to remember
name for a microphone. I bought this mic specifically
because it is built to still record well even if
the person speaking into it isn’t holding it directly
up to their mouth. What’s one of the biggest issues you’ll have with wedding toasts? Instead of holding the
microphone up near their mouth, they hold it down here by their chest, and so it’s really hard to
hear what they are saying. Or, sometimes they just
kinda walk away from the mic completely and it’s like way
over here and you’re like, I really hope that’s picking
up what they’re saying, that does happen. The good news is that
this microphone is built to combat a lot of those
issues and so it can pick up audio great even if the person
is not super close to it. That is one of the reasons
that I prioritize spending the money on this microphone. I pair this mic with an
audio recorder that may look familiar to you, this is the
Tascam DR-10X audio recorder, and it looks very similar
to the Tascam DR-10L, except it has an XLR input on top. With the Tascam DR-10X
you are still getting all of the amazing features of
the DR-10L, high quality audio leveling, a limiter,
a backup audio track that’s recorded six decibels
lower, fantastic battery life, the only real difference
is that the lav mic jack on top has been replaced
with an XLR input. You connect the Electro-Voice
mic to the Tascam DR-10X voice recorder and suddenly
you have this awesomely compact method of recording
toasts at a wedding reception. You could also use this setup
for handheld news interviews, if you wanna feel like
a fancy news reporter. I love that. Of course just like whenever
I record toasts at a wedding reception, I want to make
sure that I have a backup audio recording system in
the event that the batteries on the Tascam DR-10X fail,
and in that case what I reach for is, my trusty microphone
sleeve here that kinda looks like a condom, but it isn’t and this Sony UX560 voice recorder, then I simply slide the voice
recorder down into the mic sleeve and I have a clean and
simple audio backup solution. Incidentally, I will make
sure to link to every piece of gear that I’m talking about
down in the video description if you want to check it out. Let’s take things a step further, I hate whenever people walk
around while they are giving toasts, partially because then
I have to pan and follow them and focus and that can be a major pain, but also because I want to bring on lights and have them set up to
light whoever is speaking so that way they look as good as possible. If they’re walking around
it’s basically impossible to light it, so to keep people stationary, I invested in, let me grab it here, this mic stand. It’s cheap, reliable and
I love that it folds up whenever I’m not using
it so it does not take up too much room in my camera bag. I hear you now saying,
“Matt, what if they take the microphone off the mic stand?”. Some people are determed to walk around, they’re gonna pop that
sucker off and start walking around with it, what do I do then? Well, I have literally
no problem telling you because this is your
mic and your mic stand, to get some gaff tape and
gaff tape the microphone to the mic stand, get it
on there good so that way they can’t like fight it
off, people are notoriously determined to really pull
on it, so make sure you use a lot, no big deal,
that way they’re guaranteed to stay on there in the good light and things are gonna look good. There is one last thing
we need to talk about, this microphone and
recorder setup is awesome, but it has one flaw, namely
whenever you have wedding guests come up to give a
toast, they’re going to step up start speaking and then
they’re going to immediately stop and look around, and wonder why their voice is not being amplified. Even if you explain it before
hand, people are not paying attention to you, they
are not going to know. So, they’re gonna start
and they’re gonna be like, “It’s not on, hello, it’s not working.”, and you’re gonna be like, in the back, “It’s for the video, it’s for the video. There’s a video on that
don’t work but just keep, just talk in to it.” It’s guaranteed to happen,
happens to me every single time I use this system. – All right, can we get
everybody’s attention here real quick. – I hear it doesn’t amplify. – [Matt] So here is
another option for you, if the couple tells you
they are having a small rehearsal dinner with no audio setup, offer to bring a speaker
system with you that they can then use for their toasts,
you could even charge extra for this speaker system. The speaker that I
recommend is the Bose L1. At around $1000 there are
definitely cheaper options out there, but none of them
that I’ve seen are this small, elegant and simple to use. Plus, the cost of the system,
if you charge to bring it to a rehearsal dinner, should help pay for the system pretty quickly. You have an XLR input that
you can plug your mic into, there’s a nob to control your mic volume, and there’s an RCA output on
the back that you can plug an audio recorder into
to record the toasts. And here’s the beautiful
part, the Electro-Voice mic works flawlessly with this speaker system. If you want to use a
different mic that’s fine, but keep in mind that the
Bose L1 does not support phantom power, so while
the Electro-Voice mic doesn’t require phantom power
to work, so you can use it with the system, you will want
to check if your alternative microphone needs phantom
power because you will need an amplifier of some sort to
power your mic if it does. And that is my rehearsal
dinner audio setup. I hope this video helps you
especially if you’re dealing with one of these specific
audio scenarios that is not typical for a wedding
reception, but pretty common if you are filming a rehearsal dinner. If you wanna invest in
any of this audio gear, I’ve created a kit page
that is linked down in the description that
lists every single piece of audio gear that I use
at a rehearsal dinner. With that, thank you so much for watching, it would be a huge help to
me if you would consider liking this video and
subscribing if you wanna see more videos like this in the future. You can also sign up for my
new wedding film editing course that is linked down in the description or go to Thanks so much for watching,
and have a great day. (upbeat music)


  • Reply Matt WhoisMatt Johnson September 9, 2019 at 1:55 pm

    This is probably the last time you'll be seeing the whiteboard video background! I recorded this before I moved to a new place!
    ? Get all the audio gear I talk about here:

  • Reply Zack Darce September 9, 2019 at 1:59 pm

    I love my tascam dr10l runs all day on one AAA and dr10x was perfect at my last gig.. plugged it into the speaker output and then used the headphone output to send audio into a stationary camera… Had backup audio and a usable scratch track for syncing the cameras ?

  • Reply Jonas V September 9, 2019 at 2:26 pm

    The Electro Voice mic is omnidirectional. For use with a speaker system maybe a different mic with directional pickup pattern is better? Have you ever had feedback problems?

  • Reply Dzintars Rudzītis September 9, 2019 at 2:28 pm

    Yeah, dr10l is the best recorder i used, works so good, it is small and compact. Maybe sometimes i buy another one 🙂

  • Reply Sean Marsalis September 9, 2019 at 2:29 pm

    I don't think the Shure SM58 is omnidirectional, but it should also be a good budget option for some people. Comes in at 99 dollars most places. Even cheaper used.

  • Reply John Paul Lusk September 9, 2019 at 2:32 pm

    In the UK we rarely if ever have bands or DJs set up during the meal. they usually don't even drive until after the meal. Most venues also have horrendous PA systems, so we have to resort to lapel micing every speaker and we also stick on the Sony TX650s. They're handy to have if you get a surprise speaker you can quickly attach it to that speaker. you can also attache the T650 to a mic similar to how Matt does with his Sony recorder in this vid

  • Reply Don Sae Kang September 9, 2019 at 2:36 pm

    Don't mess with the Gaff Tape!

  • Reply House of Ren September 9, 2019 at 3:16 pm

    Ha.. I also bring my own PA system. It’s very like the Bose one but mine has phantom power and a built in mixer as well as a 6 hour battery. So no need even for power. Look up the JBL eon pro

  • Reply Виталий Зорин September 9, 2019 at 3:36 pm

    Мэтт, спасибо тебе большое за твою работу!! Ты крут! Matt thanks for your works! It was great and useful for my filmakers work! You are amazing videographer!!!

  • Reply Austin Paz September 9, 2019 at 3:46 pm

    great video as always matt. just out of curiosity, what do you charge to bring the bose system to a rehearsal dinner?

  • Reply Cam Gregg September 9, 2019 at 7:47 pm

    Dang you made this video at a perfect time for me haha. I have a wedding next week like this. Thanks for the great tips as always!

  • Reply Wunz Again September 9, 2019 at 7:58 pm

    Some great tips! I love the DR-10Ls, really smart of Tascam to make several models of the same basic recorder!

  • Reply david chait September 9, 2019 at 8:37 pm

    Your sound like your at war with toasters

  • Reply AllanClareMedia September 9, 2019 at 8:47 pm

    Did matt just say what i thought he said ????

  • Reply AllanClareMedia September 9, 2019 at 8:51 pm

    3.49 ???

  • Reply Frank Torres September 9, 2019 at 9:25 pm

    Great tips. It just seems that their wedding is on rails according to your rules. I like the gear and some of your ideas. I would hate to have you controlling where I need to stand. Why don't you just use the camera to record? that works fine, and you don't have to worry and be controlling. less stress on you and the client. thanks for sharing

  • Reply ABP Films September 10, 2019 at 12:41 pm

    5:41 – YES!!! I KNOW RIGHT!?? Really appreciate the tip on the affordable sound system, I have been needing this for ages because literally no one listens when you tell them that it doesn't amplify! ??

  • Reply Safel Peterkin Creative Media Concepts September 10, 2019 at 3:23 pm

    nicely said Matt thanks

  • Reply Shawver Creations September 11, 2019 at 3:24 am

    Love your videos Matt! I have been a long time subscriber and stoked you keep putting out excellent content!

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