After getting a clearer picture of what was needed, I found out we merely needed the audio for future reference in case the notes taken at the meeting were not enough. So the voices merely needed to be audible and intelligible.
I sat down with the girl who would be running the meeting and discussed the seating arrangement, what kinds of things would be happening in the room, what would be on the table (no candies with wrappers or hard candies in glass bowls, please), and worked out the setup.
The tables would be setup in a U shape so everyone would be able to see everyone else. So, I put three omni-directional lapels on the three tables and set up a shotgun mic by my camera so I could point it at the person speaking.
Was the audio perfect? By no means. I won't be winning any Oscars for sound design on this one, but you could hear everyone and understand what they were saying. Besides, the audio wasn't perfect anyway because we had a baby that tended to scream and some people tapping the table legs.
But we didn't have any click-able pens.
So, as you prepare for a recording session, take a minute and think about the things that could make sound, the types of noises you will likely encounter, and do what you can do stop them. Our ears are very good at tuning out sounds we don't want to hear. As a media producer, you often need to purposely turn off that ability and listen for the sounds the microphone will pick up that no one else will notice.
In a room full of talking women, I often hear the clock on the wall ticking. Surprising to the uninitiated. I would have moved the clock if we hadn't needed it to keep us on schedule.
Your Media Production Mentor