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Old September 12th, 2007, 08:35 AM   #1
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Help with mic for waterfalls/ambient

I would like to get some recommendations for a microphone to use with my Canon XH-A1. I really enjoy filming waterfalls and sometimes a few sunrises when I’m at the beach, so I am looking for a mic that would be good for recording ambient sound. The Rode NTG-2 seems to get many recommendations, so I was considering that or possibly the Audio-Technica AT897 since they were in my price range. I had listened to some examples at: http://dvestore.com/theatre/mics_guide.html# and I was surprised at how much clearer the AT897 was over the NTG-2. The NTG-2 sounded a bit flat. I would like to get some opinions on what others think of the two mics, and how much of an improvement either one of these might be over the built-in mic, particularly for ambient sound.

Attached is an example of the audio I got from my camera.

This waterfall was small, and I climbed up some rocks to get within a few feet of the fall as the runoff flowed past me. Below is a photo of the falls the audio was taken from.

http://www.webaperture.com/gallery/onephoto/85404

Does anyone have any examples they could offer for comparison?
Attached Files
File Type: wma Audio-wtr.wma (580.8 KB, 87 views)

Last edited by Christopher Neville; September 12th, 2007 at 08:44 AM. Reason: attachment did not come through
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Old September 12th, 2007, 09:30 AM   #2
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Chris,

Getting good sound of waterfalls is difficult. All my attempts sound like frying bacon. I have had to use sound clips on some occasions from some of the on-line royalty free sites to get something that sounds decent so I am also interested in any suggestions
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Old September 12th, 2007, 03:43 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Williams View Post
[...] Getting good sound of waterfalls is difficult. All my attempts sound like frying bacon [...] I am also interested in any suggestions
I think you'll have better luck recording ambient sounds, especially waterfalls, if you use a stereo microphone. The reason is that the actual sound you hear in nature is coming from many different directions, and you are hearing it in stereo. A shotgun like the NT2 is going to give you only a single dimensional slice of the soundscape. I've discovered that recording ambient sounds in stereo with an on camera mic is better than a single shotgun, and using a stereo microphone (for example, the Shure VP66 M-S microphone or a pair of cardioids in an X pattern) will yield much better results. Lots has been written on stereo recordings, for starters, take a look at this basic tutorial: Stereo Recording Techniques and for more details, this: Stereo Microphone Techniques. Another tip: get closer to the source if you can by doing double system (recording sound and video separately), shooting the sound of the water fall closer to the water.

P.S. If you set up 1000 pans of frying bacon and various distances 180 degrees around you, I bet it would sound more like a water fall :-)
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Old September 12th, 2007, 05:29 PM   #4
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Hello Christopher,

Waterfalls are difficult to record because of the nature of the sound. Cheap mics simply can't capture the sound without problems. Try renting a Sanken CSS-5 stereo mic.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old September 12th, 2007, 07:29 PM   #5
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I got crystal clear sounds of a flowing stream with a Rode SVM set up on a stand about 3 feet high at the edge of the stream. Had a Deadcat wind muff over it to kill noise from the breezes present that day.

Sounded exactly like what I heard except I can now adjust the level in post.

My experience supports what David Tames says.
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Old September 12th, 2007, 07:33 PM   #6
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Sounds like some good suggestions. I am going to try a good stereo microphone on my next field trip.
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Old September 13th, 2007, 06:43 AM   #7
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I appreciate all the advice. I will take a closer look at stereo mics.
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