John Marks Teaches ORTF
In a recent Stereophile.com news item, John Marks informed readers about free online music production classes now offered from the esteemed Berklee College of Music. Seems like JM himself is taking up this opportunity. In this video assigment, JM shares his explanation of the ORTF microphone placement technique for stereo recording.
Don't be deceived by this simple mic set-up! You don't need six plus microphones in order to record a full band or orchestra with realism and space. Rather, the ORTF method, devised at the Office de Radiodiffusion Télévision Française at Radio France in 1960 is an easy and efficient way to capture realistic sound with a sense of space as long as the two mics are properly placed. Thankfully, JM's video is a great visual guide.
Here are two recordings ("Not Alone" and "Big Ole Star") I made using ORTF with two inexpensive condenser microphones, certainly not as nice as the Pro Microphones from Sweden JM uses in his video. Though in lossy format from MySpace, you can still perceive the wintry air which surrounded us on that crisp February morning in that old loft space in Harlem, us being the folk super-group Swampluck. You can also hear reflections from the right wall arriving early as a result of the microphones being closer to the right panel of windows, but this is just a tribute to how this simple mic arrangement can accurately represent the sound in the room. In this video, John Marks does an excellent job of explaining why ORTF captures the sound so accurately in real-time, and just why ORTF is just so darn cool.