When to use a shotgun, hypercardoid, omni directional, etc.? at DVinfo.net

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Old November 21st, 2007, 03:23 PM   #1
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When to use a shotgun, hypercardoid, omni directional, etc.?

I currently own an AT897 shotgun mic. From watching friends on shoots, they basically use a shotgun mic for everything. I was on a shoot recently where he used the same mic, an AT897, for an indoor scene, outdoor scene, car scene, etc.

I'm fairly new to all of this and barely learned what a hypercardoid was until recently. What I'm wondering is, with all the different types of mics out their for getting film audio, when do you use what?

For example, I want to film some indoor scenes where people are talking on a couch and at a dinner table. What's the best type of mic to use?

I am still debating whether I need to add a hypercardoid, cardoid, omnidirectional, or some other mic? It's so confusing because they all seem so similar.

Thanks for any help.
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Old November 21st, 2007, 03:51 PM   #2
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Buy a book. I'm in the same boat, wondering what to use for what applications. I read the posts here each day but, quite frankly, audio tools can be applied in a variety of ways. What I've learned so far is that there is no "set" answer. One person will say to use a shotgun for one type of scene, someone else will say to use a lav.

So I got a book and I'll be reading while digesting turkey! The only other common answer I see here is to experiment and listen for yourself; let your ears be the guide.

Good luck
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Old November 21st, 2007, 04:06 PM   #3
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I don't own a LAV either, do I need one? What do you use yours for?

What book are you reading?
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Old November 21st, 2007, 04:29 PM   #4
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audio recording techniquies and microphone choices

There's tons of stuff on the web that might help. Here's one link to get you going...Hope it's useful.

http://www.equipmentemporium.com/Art...od%20Sound.htm

and just adding another for good measure!

http://www.dvuser.co.uk/audio.php

Andy

Last edited by Andy Wilkinson; November 21st, 2007 at 04:42 PM. Reason: Add another link
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Old November 21st, 2007, 05:38 PM   #5
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There's a book being discussed down in the Read About it forum, Producing Great Sound for Video. I just bought a book produced from a member here, Ty Ford. Haven't begun it yet but it's received good reviews.

I have an Audio Technica Lav, the model that runs around $170 from most merchants. Does the job alright. If I were to buy again tomorrow I'd spend a few extra bucks on a Sennheiser, which appears to be better made. The ATs run on 9volt batteries; I won't buy a set up like that again. I've had to solder the battery connectors back on three of the units I use at work because frequent battery changes (particularly when people are in a rush) cause the little snap connector to fail/become disconnected.

I think at the end of the day, many people end up with some type of lav, a shotgun and something on a boom, depending on how complicated you want to get. Then there are mixers etc etc. I'd love to have a boom but I'm solo so I improvise by hanging my omnidirectional lav from the ceiling tiles. It's surprisingly good for what I need to do.
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Old November 21st, 2007, 09:51 PM   #6
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Most times you're laving and booming. The Sennheisers are pretty popular mics. I've worked on many productions that had Sennheisers as their house kit, not the preferred mic for me but it gets the job done in a lot of situations. If you're curious, just turn on your tv and watch news, court shows, talk shows, etc, notice what mics they're using.

As far as shotguns go. As a starter, get yourself an industry standard shotgun. As you gain more experience you'll start troubleshooting situations and also getting into situations where you'll need or use or start renting specialty mics. I mean, the Maysles brothers shoot with an ME 66.

Just get yourself out there working, not just with your friends.
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Old November 21st, 2007, 10:51 PM   #7
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different situations, different mics. There is no end all be all.
For example, in most indoor situations unless you can get the mic with in a couple of feet of the person speaking a shotgun probably isn't the best choice. In that case a hypercaroid might be a better choice. Outdoors, for 99% of what I do I live and die with my shotgun on the camera. Remember I'm talking about run and gun stuff not booming a mic. When at all possible I either put a wireless lav on the person speaking or set up a Shure SM58 on the podium or press stand. I use an SM63 for run and gun handheld work either wired or wireless. If I can I'll either tie into the sound board or press box. For sports stuff it's a wireless handheld for interviews and a shotgun on the camera. For weddings it's a hypercaroid on the main camera and a dual channel AudioTechnica 18XX series with a wireless lav on the groom and a wireless lav on the lectern. Both are running Countryman EMW mics. One lav is a hardwire XLR but needs 48v phantom so I use a phantom box and it works perfectly, but I can also plug right into my cameras OR my mixer and have a hardwired lav.
So bottom line, mic choice depends on type of work and budget. If you're going to be a video generalist (most of us are-more chances of work that way) then you need more than 1 type of mic to do it right. Not to say you can't do it with 1 shotgun and 1 wireless but choices make it easier. Stock up and save!!! :-)
BTW I also use an AT897 and feel for the money it's a great mic. Actually sold my ME66-too hot for my camera at the time.
Don

Last edited by Don Bloom; November 21st, 2007 at 10:52 PM. Reason: forgot to add
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Old November 21st, 2007, 11:05 PM   #8
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well said Don.

I'm curious about your choice of the SM 63. I like Shure handhelds but I use the RE 50B for run and gun (despite the obvious drawbacks) 'cause it's what a lot of people are used to.

How would you compare the two?
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Old November 22nd, 2007, 03:22 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Vincent View Post
I currently own an AT897 shotgun mic. From watching friends on shoots, they basically use a shotgun mic for everything. I was on a shoot recently where he used the same mic, an AT897, for an indoor scene, outdoor scene, car scene, etc.

I'm fairly new to all of this and barely learned what a hypercardoid was until recently. What I'm wondering is, with all the different types of mics out their for getting film audio, when do you use what?

For example, I want to film some indoor scenes where people are talking on a couch and at a dinner table. What's the best type of mic to use?

I am still debating whether I need to add a hypercardoid, cardoid, omnidirectional, or some other mic? It's so confusing because they all seem so similar.

Thanks for any help.
Hi Anthony,

Ditto what others have said. Certainly learning about microphone characteristics is a great start. Depending on your gear, audience expectations, skill, talent, environment, etc, your mileage will vary. For instance, your friends might think their shotgun is great while another audio engineer would point out its deficiencies in a given environment (where it might be suseptible to low frequency reflections indoor, etc) - one person might feels "okay", another might use a high-pass filter in post, while another might switch to a hyper-cardioid. You get the idea - there's lot's of subtleties, so learning the basics makes a lot of sense.

Lavaliers typically aren't our first choice, but serve their purpose for situations where a traditional mic isn't practical (visually shown on video, portability is needed, etc) or perhaps a lavalier is less suseptible to outside wind noise. Of course, there's much more to this but you get the idea...

Good luck, Michael
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Old November 22nd, 2007, 06:00 AM   #10
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Hi Anna,
well the SM63 came to being in my bag (you'll laugh at this) because it to me is an elegant look. :-()
Really I liked the look of the mic right away and since the ABC affiliate here uses them and I liked the way it sounded I got one. Really!!
I know a lot of guys/gals that use the RE50B and frankly it was #2 on my list when I was looking for a new handheld an while it's tough enough to drive nails with I wanted something a bit more sophisticated looking. Sounds dumb I know but...As far as I could tell from real world use the 2 mics sound about identical-this from using both in a very unscientific test with a friend of mine that has an RE50-we tried both mics on the same camera with someone speaking a prepared text. In post they both looked and sounded within a hair of each other. (imagine thumb and forefinger tips almost, not quite, almost touching. THERE, thats right, just enough to slide a piece of paper thru)
Am I crazy for choosing a piece of gear on the basis of looks first?!?!? Really!
Don
OO
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Old November 22nd, 2007, 07:57 AM   #11
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There's a ton of useful info over at Rycote's microphone data website:
http://www.microphone-data.com/library.asp

I've not used it myself but the Sanken CS-3e has gained somewhat of a reputation for being a great all-rounder.
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Old November 22nd, 2007, 09:23 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Bloom View Post
I know a lot of guys/gals that use the RE50B and frankly it was #2 on my list when I was looking for a new handheld an while it's tough enough to drive nails with I wanted something a bit more sophisticated looking...
Am I crazy for choosing a piece of gear on the basis of looks first?!?!? Really!
Don
OO
\_/
The RE50B is a good mic but the paint peels off it real easy. I had used my mic on a commentator for handheld interviews. He had his own camera guy there as well as our crew. Without asking me, the camera guy gaffed a lav on the side of the mic to get clean audio into his camera. I was so pissed when I saw it. When I went to get my mic I peeled off the lav and a HUGE chunk of paint came off and the lav scratched paint off 'cause it was rubbing against the side.

I was so angry at them I told them off, didn't care who they were. Luckily my crew had my back. When the commentators went over to the director he just shrugged and said "It's her mic, of course she's mad."

I hear that is a normal occurrence on those mics but am surprised that Electrovoice doesn't do anything about it.

So I've been looking for an alternative.

And no you're not crazy. A lot of people do, they just don't admit it.
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Old November 22nd, 2007, 04:12 PM   #13
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Another great option if you want a "sleeker" looking dymamic omni-handheld mic, with rugged performance is the Beyer M-58.

More contemporary styling - the finish is video friendly (no glare medium grey) virtually indestructible - and it sounds great.

FWIW
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Old November 22nd, 2007, 09:44 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Kerner View Post
Buy a book. I'm in the same boat, wondering what to use for what applications. I read the posts here each day but, quite frankly, audio tools can be applied in a variety of ways. What I've learned so far is that there is no "set" answer. One person will say to use a shotgun for one type of scene, someone else will say to use a lav.

So I got a book and I'll be reading while digesting turkey! The only other common answer I see here is to experiment and listen for yourself; let your ears be the guide.

Good luck
Let me kow how that works for you Bob. ;)

Don't forget to check out the "good gear" index in the back of the book.

Regards,

Ty
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