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Old February 26th, 2008, 03:59 AM   #1
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Need recommendation for audio equipment

Good evening,

I am very new to audio and looking for advice on what to buy to best handle a multitude of situations (I know there is never a perfect solution).

We shoot with the following cameras:
Sony FX-1
Sony HC-7 (small hand held HD cam for "out and about")

We shoot primarily a single subject and she is talking during the video. We shoot in our studio, in houses, outside, and in public places (ie the mall).

We are hoping to find one mic that we can use on the cameras when we are moving around outside the studio as well as being able to mount it on a light stand to keep the mic off the camera when we are in the studio.

I need to hear the subject but would also like to be able to hear the camera operator who interacts with our subject on occasion. Currently the built in mics give us really loud audio from the camera operator and the subject is hard to hear.

From my reading here I also have come to understand that I need a converter to make this all work with the cameras.

Oh yea . . . wireless would be best since I hate to have a wire trailing around behind me.

I know I am asking for a tough answer, but if you can make any recommendations we will be forever indebted :-)

Thanks!

Bill & Denise
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Old February 26th, 2008, 05:38 AM   #2
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There really is no 'one size fits all' mic solution. The fundamental problem is that you are trying to work the mic too far from the talent, whether mounted on the camera or off. There is no such thing for sound that magnifys distant sounds like a telephoto lens maginfys a distant image. Mounting a mic on-camera is almost never going to give good results - on-camera mics are useful for general ambience recording and not much else, certainly not dialog or speech. Moving it off camera and just mounting it on a light stand as such probably won't help much either - it'll still be too far away from her. You'll also need to mount a boom arm on the lightstand to make any progress. What you have to do is get the mic close - exactly how far depends on the type of mic but within about 2 feet of the speaker's mouth is typical. So your options boil down to 1) a boom mic flown overhead or held below frame just in front of the speaker; 2) a hand held mic that your subject holds like you see being used by field news reporters on TV; or 3) a lavalier mic, either hardwired or radio mic, pinned to the subject.
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Old February 26th, 2008, 06:29 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by William Wilson View Post
Good evening,

I am very new to audio and looking for advice on what to buy to best handle a multitude of situations (I know there is never a perfect solution).
Heya,

Well, i'm old to audio, but new in the last few years to location sound recording. Here is my advise, a mixture of my own experience (with my fx1) and also parroting the conventional wisdom frequently asked and answered here.

So there is a sliding scale from audio "legibility" through audio transparency. Legibility means you can actually understand what the person is saying without making your ears or head hurt. Transparency is audio that is so spectacular you wonder if it is coming from inside your own brain.

With an fx1, legibility in my opinion will cost you starting around $500, and transparency will cost you roughly $18,000 plus the wages of the people on your audio staff payroll. You can pick any point along that scale to buy gear.

If you are using the on camera mic on the fx1 now, then most likely you are below the threshold of legibility. Raising up to that point of legibility is most likely what you are asking about.


Legibility option 1: $500
buy a sennheiser Evolution G2 100 wireless kit, with a small belt mountable transmitter with a lavalier mic, and a receiver that will hook onto the cold shoe of your camcorder and a cable that will go from the receiver to the mic jack on either of your camcorders.

By placing the mic that close to your talent's mouth, she will always be clear and understandable in a variety of scenarios. Also, without wires, you and her are free to run about. You will not hear the cameramans interactions... for that you need another mic... or if the content allows it, you just rerecord the cameraman's questions later on.

If, as steve suggested, you have the host holding a mic, there is a sennheiser kit that is a few hundred dollars more and comes with a transmitter that plugs into handheld mics. This is the kit i bought originally and it has proven really valuable for industrial work. Either wire up the talent, or hand them a re50/sm58 with this plug in it and you have legible audio in most situations.

You can upgrade the lavalier with a sanken cos11 for around $320. You can upgrade the sennheiser wireless with a lectrosonics solution for... i dont know. i think a transmitter/receiver set is like $2k-$5k for letrosonics? The improvements are sound quality and robustness against interference.

(if you live in new york or some other city filled with RF, then you might be forced into a fancier system than the sennheiser)

Legibility option 2:
buy an inexpensive mic (rodeo videomic for $150) and tape it to a painters pole ($18-$28 at home depot), then run a cable back to the camera. ($15 or so).

This option will be a huge hassle to tote around, you'll look crappy and the miniplug cable will be vulnerable to interference and disconnection, you'll require a dedicated boom operator (who will complain about having to use a painters pole).

You can upgrade option 2 in several ways... a boom pole from $100 to $1500, a better mic (from $250 to $2,000) a better cable ($40)... and the better mic and cable will require some form of mixer/preamp like a beachtek device with phantom ($309) or sound devices mixpre for around $700. You can continue spending money on better and nicer gear with more channels until you are broke, so at some point you need to draw a line in the sand and decide what your budget is.

Hope that helped!

And keep in mind, i'm not an audio professional, I'm a post production guy that sometimes does industrials so he can go outside. I have an fx1 and senn g2 and while it would never fly in a hollywood movie, the sound is perfectly editable and understandable when wired up correctly to appropriate clothing. Its also damned convenient. If you outgrow the g2, it holds a fair bit of its value, and is always useful to have around. I recommend the purchase of 12 eneloop AA batteries so you can have 2 sets ready to go.

cheers!
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Old February 26th, 2008, 09:21 AM   #4
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Legibility option 1: $500
buy a sennheiser Evolution G2 100 wireless kit, with a small belt mountable transmitter with a lavalier mic, and a receiver that will hook onto the cold shoe of your camcorder and a cable that will go from the receiver to the mic jack on either of your camcorders.
This looks like a great setup for a single voice. Is there anything that you recommend with two transmitters and one receiver, so the signals can be fed into the 2-track camera input? For example, shooting & recording a simple interview. What audio packages would you recommend?
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Old February 26th, 2008, 09:37 AM   #5
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How about two transmitters and two receivers (i.e., 2x the G2 kit)?

- Martin
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Old February 26th, 2008, 09:58 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Chris Brown View Post
This looks like a great setup for a single voice. Is there anything that you recommend with two transmitters and one receiver, so the signals can be fed into the 2-track camera input? For example, shooting & recording a simple interview. What audio packages would you recommend?

While there are dual-channel receivers on the market (Audio Technica 1800, for example) they are generally pretty expensive. Each transmitter needs to operate on a different frequency or they will interfere with each other - the squeals and squawks associated with shortwave radio is an example of that in action. Two feed two mics to the camera at once you need two pairs of transmitters and receivers set to different frequencies for each pair.
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Old February 26th, 2008, 12:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William Wilson View Post
Good evening,

I am very new to audio and looking for advice on what to buy to best handle a multitude of situations (I know there is never a perfect solution).

We shoot with the following cameras:
Sony FX-1
Sony HC-7 (small hand held HD cam for "out and about")

We shoot primarily a single subject and she is talking during the video. We shoot in our studio, in houses, outside, and in public places (ie the mall).

We are hoping to find one mic that we can use on the cameras when we are moving around outside the studio as well as being able to mount it on a light stand to keep the mic off the camera when we are in the studio.

I need to hear the subject but would also like to be able to hear the camera operator who interacts with our subject on occasion. Currently the built in mics give us really loud audio from the camera operator and the subject is hard to hear.

From my reading here I also have come to understand that I need a converter to make this all work with the cameras.

Oh yea . . . wireless would be best since I hate to have a wire trailing around behind me.

I know I am asking for a tough answer, but if you can make any recommendations we will be forever indebted :-)

Thanks!

Bill & Denise
Hi Bill:

Great recommendation from everyone on this thread as usual. It sounds as if you might also be able to use some audio education as well as equipment recommendations. I wrote this article quite a while ago but it is still very relevant to learning about how location sound works and will point you in the direction you need to go in to increase your sound quality
http://www.kenstone.net/fcp_homepage...ion_sound.html

All my best,

Dan
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Old February 26th, 2008, 12:34 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the replies guys,

This gives me a lot more to go on now. Unfortunately the wireless mic on the subject does not work as she is nude in a lot of situations but we may be able to hide a mic near her as a possible solution.

Thanks!

Bill
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Old February 26th, 2008, 12:59 PM   #9
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Unfortunately the wireless mic on the subject does not work as she is nude in a lot of situations.......Bill
Now that's an audio situation I'd love to have to deal with!!! :=)
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Old February 26th, 2008, 01:52 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by William Wilson View Post
...
This gives me a lot more to go on now. Unfortunately the wireless mic on the subject does not work as she is nude in a lot of situations but we may be able to hide a mic near her as a possible solution.
...
Bill
Actually you can hide mics in the hair, etc and fasten the transmitter on the opposite side of the body from the camera to hide it. You need careful staging but it can be done. Or boom the mic just out of shot.
Take a look at the Countryman B6 for a mic that can be easily hidden in hair, etc. http://www.countryman.com/store/prod...?id=5&catid=10
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Last edited by Steve House; February 26th, 2008 at 02:33 PM.
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Old February 26th, 2008, 03:12 PM   #11
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and fasten the transmitter on the opposite side of the body from the camera to hide it. [/url]
And we still have to do this when they have all their clothes on. If I could afford it, I would sell my 411 systems and buy nothing but TRX900 systems, the size difference of the transmitters is amazing (but both are top notch wireless rigs).

Wayne
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Old February 26th, 2008, 03:42 PM   #12
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Unfortunately the wireless mic on the subject does not work as she is nude in a lot of situations...
Well then, if you insist, for no charge I'll work the boom mic.
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Old February 26th, 2008, 06:45 PM   #13
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Thanks for all the replies guys,

This gives me a lot more to go on now. Unfortunately the wireless mic on the subject does not work as she is nude in a lot of situations but we may be able to hide a mic near her as a possible solution.

Thanks!

Bill
Bill,

I just tested basically almost every wired lav on the market for an article I am writing. You may not be aware that many of the lavs are available in various flesh tones, could be helpful for your needs. DPA, Countryman come to mind as units that do.

Dan
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Old February 26th, 2008, 10:29 PM   #14
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Does the host have longish hair? It wouldnt be out of the question to get one of the new tiny lectrosonic transmitters and modify a choker necklace or one of those neck things that looks like a garter, to where the transmitter is the clasp in back. It wouldnt be too uncomfortable to wear, and you could run a mic from the back up into the hair and hide a countryman b6 in the scalpline or elsewhere. If you really want the cameraman recorded as well, get him a cheaper (sennheiser?) wireless, or a second microphone to feed into the second channel on the camera.

If the host is running around... and naked, it seems like wireless would solve a bunch of problems.
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Old February 27th, 2008, 08:18 PM   #15
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Andrew,
I wonder with the option 2 using Rode Videomic and extend the length of cable from the mic and connect to HC7, will it generates noise when you start recording?
--JT
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