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Thread: reducing drum volume - HELP !!

  1. #1

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    Default reducing drum volume - HELP !!

    Hi,
    We have been given a really good gig filming a number of adverts for a large international company. The idea is that we perform for 20 seconds or so in a number of ads. The production company are looking for a sound that is not pre recorded they are happy for the sound to be like a 'jamming session'.
    The filming is to take place in a small studio and volume of the drum kit is going to be an issue. In the past for videos etc we have performed over pre recorded tracks and taped the underside of the cymbals and used silence pads on the toms. This time, that is not an option as we have to record live.
    Does anyone have any ideas other than play quieter?
    All comments gratefully recieved

  2. #2

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    Default Re: reducing drum volume - HELP !!

    First, welcome to the forum!

    Second, I haven't had any luck with this issue. The only thing I found that even kinda works is moon gels.

    I think I read somewhere about using painter's tape somewhere in the head, but I'm not sure. Hopefully one of the pros will have a suggestion.
    "Well-behaved women rarely make history."
    -Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, 1976

  3. #3

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    Default Re: reducing drum volume - HELP !!

    How about modifying the drum part - hi hat sizzles in place of crashes, possibly use a crash as a ride cymbal with several moon gels to stop it ringing out. Soft fluffy beater on kick pedal, the lightest sticks you can find, tape heads to kill boom/boing sounds and play as quietly as possible. Or maybe an e-kit if you have access to one. Not easy - I live in an apartment and I constantly try to find ways to reduce sound on my acoustic kit - it can be done, but it sure is frustrating.

  4. #4

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    Default Re: reducing drum volume - HELP !!

    Towels or t-shirts on every Tom, snare batter head, 12" or 10" splash for a cymbal, no tape, stuff the kick and use a soft beater(one of the fluffy kinds).
    Last edited by slinglander; 07-18-2014 at 04:22 PM. Reason: Sp.
    SONOR 6 pc Special Edition 3007's red maple, old Pearl Brass 14x6 FF snare, Yamaha Tour Custom maple 8 pc., Tama 4 pc., honey amber B/B, Ludwig Supralite chrome 14x6.5 steel snare, Paiste, Saluda & Zildjian
    Loaned out Slingerland upgraded 4 pc 1963 black, wrapped maple + 14" Pearl birch FT
    The Almighty Speed King pedal, Speed Cobra, Sonor Single

    http://www.screaminmelinas.com
    http://www.facebook.com/DerailedRockers/

  5. #5

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    Default Re: reducing drum volume - HELP !!

    That silver foil tape (not duct tape) all over the heads will work pretty good...makes the drums sound like crap but it'll be quieter..put it on the cymbals as well, stuff the crap out of the kick drum.....

  6. #6

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    Default Re: reducing drum volume - HELP !!

    Welcome to the forum daveemmons. I've been in the TV biz for over 30 years and have been involved in many types of production situations. Just some question for the sake of this thread:

    #1- When you mentioned that the production company wants a "live" jam, are they going to record the audio from the band in real time as you are being filmed?

    #2-Will the vocals, guitars, drums, etc be recorded through the band's PA system as you're being filmed and passed through to the camera?

    #3- Are there multiple scenes for each 20 seconds your band is playing?

    Here are the reasons why I'm asking these questions.

    For Question #1 & 2- The mixing of the "live" audio for the finished video will determine if you can get away with playing quitely. If you add mutes to your rack toms and cymbals, they won't sound like real drums and that may not work if you're using the live audio for the completed video.

    For Question #3- Scene changes may require different camera set ups. You may be able to get away hiding the towels or t-shirts over the toms if the camera is facing the kit but if multiple scene changes are required, shots from the back of the kit will expose anything you have draped over the toms.

    Case in point:

    I was the drum tech for a video I worked on recently and the video's producer insisted that we ditch the drum rug because it looked ugly on camera. The drummer was required to play at full stage volume so we could film the impact of the sticks hitting the cymbals. It looks more convincing on camera when it's done this way.

    The major problem was the slippery shop floor. With no drum rug, the double bass pedals, the kick and the hihats would not stay in place. You can't see it in the pics below but I had to use an entire roll of gaffer's tape to secure the kit so it wouldn't slide all over the floor. The taped down pieces of the kit had to be hidden from camera and that was no easy task.






    Last edited by late8; 07-18-2014 at 06:17 PM.

  7. #7

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    Default Re: reducing drum volume - HELP !!

    don't hit as hard... I know i just had to say it. I would say use light sticks and i know some vic firth stands at like GC will have a profile of each stick that tells how loud they are. By loudness i think it means the sticks capabilities. Like a 2B stick is supposed to get a lot of volume from a drum.
    Sabian!!!

  8. #8

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    Default Re: reducing drum volume - HELP !!

    Thanks for all of the suggestions guys. I think moon gel and hot rod type sticks is going to be the answer.
    Late 8, thanks for the photos etc. To answer your questions:

    #1- When you mentioned that the production company wants a "live" jam, are they going to record the audio from the band in real time as you are being filmed?

    Yep - I am afraid so. I understand that they don't even plan on miking up the kit and are going to try and get away with using the camera mike :-(


    #2-Will the vocals, guitars, drums, etc be recorded through the band's PA system as you're being filmed and passed through to the camera?

    See above :-( :-(

    #3- Are there multiple scenes for each 20 seconds your band is playing?

    I really don't know what they are planning - all we are being told is up to 12 ads with about 20 seconds of music in each.

    Recording starts next week so I guess we will have to suck it and see!

    Thanks again guys

  9. #9

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    Default Re: reducing drum volume - HELP !!

    You could run wide, felt strips under the batter heads, like in the "olde" days' felt strips for kick batters muting.
    SONOR 6 pc Special Edition 3007's red maple, old Pearl Brass 14x6 FF snare, Yamaha Tour Custom maple 8 pc., Tama 4 pc., honey amber B/B, Ludwig Supralite chrome 14x6.5 steel snare, Paiste, Saluda & Zildjian
    Loaned out Slingerland upgraded 4 pc 1963 black, wrapped maple + 14" Pearl birch FT
    The Almighty Speed King pedal, Speed Cobra, Sonor Single

    http://www.screaminmelinas.com
    http://www.facebook.com/DerailedRockers/

  10. #10

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    Default Re: reducing drum volume - HELP !!

    Thanks slinglander - thats a great idea

  11. #11

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    Default Re: reducing drum volume - HELP !!

    You might try cranking everything else up to match the drum volume, and reducing the sensitivity of the camera mic---a mic shield with a hole for the camera lens could work

  12. #12

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    Default Re: reducing drum volume - HELP !!

    I know you've already had this suggestion, but I just recently got some Vic Firth Steve Smith Tala Wands and ProMark Hot Rods. I was, and am, truly amazed at how these things reduce volume!!! Both on drums and cymbals. Incredible! Now, they do have a different feel than a regular stick. Not to your hand; in that regard, they feel quite similar to a solid wood stick (although plastic, not wood). But when you impact the drum or cymbal, the 'business end' of the sticks, which are made up of multiple smaller diameter individual small rods of wood, do have a different feel than a regular stick. But I've found that you just have to try to keep from concentrating on the different feel, and just 'go with it'. I think these would be the best solution for you. I've tried a number of things to reduce volume, including foam pads over the heads, which work, but you get, in essence, no sound. With these sticks, you get a normal acoustic drum sound (albeit a bit tonally different), just at a greatly reduced volume. In fact, Steve Smith said in a video about the Talas that the reason he came up with the concept (whether true or BS about his involvement) was to reduce volume when playing with players of acoustic instruments from India.

    Good luck!
    Last edited by cabasner; 07-19-2014 at 10:49 PM.
    Now, just a tiny bit less than an absolute drum newbie
    DW Collectors Cherry kit, Ludwig Black Beauty Snare, DW SuperSolid Oak/Cherry Snare, DW Sabian Vault Edge Snare

  13. #13

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    Default Re: reducing drum volume - HELP !!

    how about vic firth practice sticks with the rubber tip just another thought i have never used these just an idea
    Sabian!!!

  14. #14

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    Default Re: reducing drum volume - HELP !!

    use bigger sticks ...sounds crazy but with lighter sticks you actually hit harder and its louder ...

  15. #15

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    Use 3/8 timbali sticks....I've used them instead of hot rods.

  16. #16

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    Default Re: reducing drum volume - HELP !!

    To swipe a suggestion I read on a similar thread - Cool rods? Sorry - I should have quoted but I don't know how to quote from a different thread.

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