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Old May 13th, 2008, 02:27 PM   #16
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I USE THE Rode Videomic indoors all the time and it seems to work fine. The only thing I usually need to do is run it through a high pass filter at about 500-600Hz cutoff. For some reason this always makes it sound so much better.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 04:54 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Seun Osewa View Post
I USE THE Rode Videomic indoors all the time and it seems to work fine. The only thing I usually need to do is run it through a high pass filter at about 500-600Hz cutoff. For some reason this always makes it sound so much better.
Most camera mics (including the excellent Rode Videomic) are really just cardioids, even if people call them shotguns.

Some high end short shotguns like the industry standard Sennheiser 416 sound quite good indoors in spite of their directionality. A lot of engineering goes into making a directional mic sound good indoors.
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Old May 13th, 2008, 08:13 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Pietro Impagliazzo View Post
I was checking Dan's mega review again and I was comparing Oktava's Hyper and Cardioid.
I REALLY disliked the HYPER capsule, Dan's voice sounded so compressed.
Well if you compare the Octava hyper to the Schoeps hyper, you'll hear exactly why the mics cost what they do.

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Old May 14th, 2008, 12:07 AM   #19
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Well if you compare the Octava hyper to the Schoeps hyper, you'll hear exactly why the mics cost what they do.

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Ty Ford
What's your mic of choice for indoors Ty? And why?

Just wondering...
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Old May 14th, 2008, 08:57 AM   #20
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Ciao Pietro,

The answer to that question depends on the acoustical environment, the ambient noise and how close I can get the mic to the voice.

Sometimes lavs win over boom mics.

If a boom mic is indicated, I use a Schoeps cmc641. As I mentioned, there's a big difference among hypers. They are not created equal. There are many good reasons why the cmc641 is the mic of choice for dialog (and, yes, you can use it outside as well).

It has a tight pattern, it sounds great off-axis and on-axis, the sound from it sounds like the source you are recording (not many mics do that).

I'm not on some windmill tilting crusade here. Go to any movie set and see for yourself, go to any solid corporate/industrial shoot or good documentary. That's what's on the boom. That's why I tried one. I knew immediately (really ) that this mic was different. The experience was both sublime and profound. My thought was, "Oh, i get it. Everything I know is wrong. Wow, who'd a thunk it." Once I discovered the professional "secret" of the cmc641, i put that to work for me.

I began talking local production companies for whom I worked into using the cmc641 instead of my lavs. They were skeptical. I knew I was on the right track when I got a call from one of the shooter/editors. It was the next day after a shoot. He was reviewing the footage. "Just had to call you and let you know the dialog sounds great. You were right!"

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Old May 14th, 2008, 10:16 AM   #21
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I'm not on some windmill tilting crusade here. Go to any movie set and see for yourself, go to any solid corporate/industrial shoot or good documentary. That's what's on the boom.
The Schoeps cmc641 is the gold standard. Every mic manufacturer who is trying to get their mic in front of the camera wants their mic to sound like the cmc641. I think (and I know Ty will argue this point) that Sennheiser has come close with the 8000 series. Probably closer than any other company has to date. But that being said, it's still not the standard (at least not yet).

But, here is the real deal and this I know Ty will agree with. Regardless of equipment, you have to know how to use it. I could give all my equipment to somebody who doesn't know how to use it, and I could go straight to camera with the Oktava mic and probably end up with results that sound better. Yes, it's about the gear, but more importantly it's about learning how to use it. One of the biggest issues in the on-location audio field is unless you have a mentor, it's a long haul up the mountain. The few film schools that have audio as part of their coursework, tend to roll it all into a single day. That's not nearly enough time to really learn and understand on-location audio.

So, buy your gear wisely, but more importantly understand how to use it.

Wayne
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Old May 14th, 2008, 11:11 AM   #22
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[QUOTE=Wayne Brissette;877061]The Schoeps cmc641 is the gold standard. Every mic manufacturer who is trying to get their mic in front of the camera wants their mic to sound like the cmc641. I think (and I know Ty will argue this point) that Sennheiser has come close with the 8000 series. Probably closer than any other company has to date. But that being said, it's still not the standard (at least not yet).

>>>>>>>>>>>>>> I think the Audix SCX-1 HC may be closer at the moment. I do like the 8000 for its diminutive size, but the smiley-face EQ is problematic if you are out to capture human voice.

But, here is the real deal and this I know Ty will agree with. Regardless of equipment, you have to know how to use it. I could give all my equipment to somebody who doesn't know how to use it, and I could go straight to camera with the Oktava mic and probably end up with results that sound better. Yes, it's about the gear, but more importantly it's about learning how to use it. One of the biggest issues in the on-location audio field is unless you have a mentor, it's a long haul up the mountain. The few film schools that have audio as part of their coursework, tend to roll it all into a single day. That's not nearly enough time to really learn and understand on-location audio.

>>>>>>>>>>>Pretty much. There's a professor at a university here in the US who pays usage rights for three chapters of a book I wrote in the mid 1990s. The first two chapters are about listening, hearing and how we make sense out of what we hear. The last chapter is about how to run a session and is a wonderful Q&A with two long-standing studio engineer/producers. These three chapters were my favorites.

>>>>>>>>>>>As it has been noted before; take an Oktava and a Schoeps hypercardioid (although Schoeps calls the cmc641 a supercardioid), pull them back far enough and you really can't hear as much difference. That's misuse. Put them in the right place and, provided you know what to listen for, there's a world of difference.

>>>>>>>>>>>That begs the question of whether we know what to listen for. Because we all can hear, many assume that we all know what things should sound like. It's really about critical listening; how I analyze what I hear. That's totally different than simple hearing. Critical listening doesn't happen over night. It's the result of cumulative experience. Some will learn, others will not.

>>>>>>>>>>>Someone recently shared this parallel thought with me. We all know what a pencil is and know how to use one. That doesn't make us writers.

So, buy your gear wisely, but more importantly understand how to use it.

>>>>>>>>>> Yup. and if you can't, (meaning you try, but can't seem to get your sound to sound like the big guys) then hire a good sound person. I'm pretty handy around the house, but if there's a water problem, I call the plumber. Been there, tried it, don't like it.

Regards,

Ty Ford

.......................................
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Old May 14th, 2008, 08:40 PM   #23
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I wonder whether it would be useful if the forum adopted some kind of profile tag along the lines of "I do this for profit" versus "This is an idle hobby" versus "This is a hobby I take seriously".

That way we'd cut out the number of times someone says "I'm on a budget, will the Oktava do?" and gets the reply back "Stop insulting me by thinking my job as a sound man is easy. Either get an expensive mic or don't bother making your film".

I completely understand where that attitude could come from. Someone, I forget who, brought up a personal anecdote about a teacher and a nurse that encapsulated the basis for it. If we think we have a skill, we tend to be offended if this skill is seemingly undervalued by someone else. But I really don't think any of the new people to this area mean it that way.

Though one possibly implication of something that was brought up a few posts up is the idea that, if you're not skilled, you might as well use a cheaper mic, since a good one is "wasted" on a beginner. After all, if you're starting out, I firmly believe that lots of practice (preferably in an apprenticeship arrangement, but not sure how easy it is to find those) has got to be so valuable, that getting started soon is better than holding off while you scrimp together the pennies. Given that the different kinds of mic perform in very different ways, it could also be argued that getting, say, *just* the Schoeps might result in worse audio than getting a cheaper HC mic plus a lav, or whatever. If you were really confident your production had the potential to make money, then hiring a sound guy who was willing to impart the tricks of the trade (if they're mostly like you chaps, they'll be willing to chat at length about technique) might be one way to get a crash course.

Oh, and Ty- I see that Audix SCX-1 HC going for about half the total cost of the Schoeps CMC641, so that, erm, sounds like a bargain. Unless you make films for a living, in which case, that difference in price isn't really a factor. Until and unless I make any money, I have to consider everything I buy as an indulgent present to myself, and that puts a cap on what I can spend.

Apologies if this sounds petulant. I had some hot chocolate, but looks like that wasn't enough. Time for a cup of tea (having the tea first then thinking better of posting this was an option...foolish Philip).
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Old May 14th, 2008, 10:38 PM   #24
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Phil,

Nice amiable rant. :)

I admit I do get tired of seeing posts that basically say, "I want to sound (or look) like the real thing but I don't have any money." Or, "What's really good for really cheap?"

If you have a $4K+ camera, I don't think that precludes you from having really good mics. Most people agree that sound is a very important part of what they do.

On the issue of choosing to get by with cheap mics at the beginning. Well lets open it up to all gear. If you're a hobbyist and not a pro, it cold be argued the cheap stuff is fine for you -- because it really doesn't matter.

What's weird is, making that statement really raises the hackles of some hobbyists.

So it does matter...to them.

This is a log-standing discussion that isn't going away any time soon.

Phil, how much do you have invested in gear?

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old May 14th, 2008, 11:10 PM   #25
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Well I am in the "I can't spend too much money but still want good quality" camp.

What I find is that in the moderate priced gear, a cardiod works better indoors than a more directional mic. My indoor mic of choice is a Sennheiser ME64. It costs a couple of hundred dollars, has a hemisphere pattern, has a little emphasis in the vocal frequencies that helps clarity, and sounds completely natural indoors. Yes there are some more directional mics that sound good indoors but they cost quite a bit more.

Among the budget mics, the Sennheiser ME66 or the Rode short shotguns sound way too boxy for me indoors although I think they're fine outside.

Yeah I know the audio purists might laugh at my choice of mics, but I get sound that is about as good as what I hear on TV and DVDs... sometimes better!
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Old May 14th, 2008, 11:41 PM   #26
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"a cardiod works better indoors than a more directional mic."

Laurence, your comment may be misleading. A hyper or super cardioid mic is the pattern of choice for most indoor dialog. A cardioid mic can be too wide.

A shotgun mic with an interference tube is not a good choice for interiors, not because it is more directional, but because it is very non-directional at mid and low frequencies.

Actually a shotgun in exteriors when there's a lot of ambient noise is also a poor choice. I just had a countryman B6 omni lav beat out a 416 on an exterior shoot two weeks ago because the ambient noise was just too loud.

You said: "Yeah I know the audio purists might laugh at my choice of mics, but I get sound that is about as good as what I hear on TV and DVDs... sometimes better."

I'm not laughing and I'm not a purist, whatever that is. Well "broadcast quality" used to mean very good quality. Sadly, it doesn't anymore and hasn't for years. It doesn't take much to beat what's on TV.

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Old May 15th, 2008, 01:04 AM   #27
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Ty,

You say, "A hyper or super cardioid mic is the pattern of choice for most indoor dialog. A cardioid mic can be too wide."

Under what circumstances would a cardioid be too wide? In my shots, only the people who should be talking are talking, so I don't need isolate someone in a group of people or from a crowded area where there is a lot of background noise.

My main setup is a sitdown interview in the subject's living room with a duvetyne backdrop. The kids are outside, the dog is at the neighbors, the A/C is turned off, the fish are breathing unfiltered water. But sometimes the living rooms are small and/or highly reflective.

A lot of times the boom is fixed on a stand, so I'm tempted to go with a cardioid b/c it will help when the interviewee turns their head off axis. But I don't know if room reflections will be more problematic with a cardioid as opposed to a hyper cardioid.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 05:54 AM   #28
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Cardioids are much wider than some people think. They don't just point forwards but often include everything at 90 degrees off axus too which is pretty much all 4 side wall reflections in a hard walled space.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 06:37 AM   #29
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Hello Peter.

"Under what circumstances would a cardioid be too wide?"

Pretty much most. The cmc641 is a super cardioid. In my studio when I compared the cmc64 cardioid to a 641, my choice was the more narrow 641. I'm not alone in that by a long shot. I do know that in some situations where two or three people are in a scene, all talking, and in the right environment, that a cardioid has to be used, but normally you get better direct dialog with the hyper or super.

"My main setup is a sitdown interview in the subject's living room with a duvetyne backdrop. The kids are outside, the dog is at the neighbors, the A/C is turned off, the fish are breathing unfiltered water. But sometimes the living rooms are small and/or highly reflective."

Sounds like some of my setups.

"A lot of times the boom is fixed on a stand, so I'm tempted to go with a cardioid b/c it will help when the interviewee turns their head."

I understand the problem of severe head turns and with some overly animated folks, I have experienced that. The majority of the time, after the person settles down, it's fine, but you don't want to EVER use a swivel chair. That's asking for trouble.

The cmc641 is not like most supercardidoids. When the sound source goes off axis, the sound remains very smooth. You don't hear the edge of the pattern because there just isn't one. It's just as if the sound is turned down some. The Schoeps mics are not just like any other mic. I suggest that people rent one for a few days where you have some time to get to know it. Once I actually heard them, I understood the justification for price.

I have "learned" to recognize the sound of a Schoeps cmc641. A few months ago I bought a download of the most recent Pirates Of The Carribean movie from iTunes. After the hour download, I put on my headphones and began to watch the movie on my laptop. My ears perked up on the interior dialog scenes. I was thinking, "That sounds like a cmc641!" I reached out through my network and found that, indeed, it was. So if you want to hear what one sounds like, rent the DVD and pay attention to the interior dialog.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old May 15th, 2008, 09:00 AM   #30
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Last December, I did audio for a very demanding shoot.

We were recording dialog to accompany a language book. The book's purpose is to teach English language medical professionals effective communication in Spanish.

We shot indoors, in a hospital environment.

Every word had to be precisely spoken, with the proper accents, with all the nuances clearly heard. Of course we had professional actors performing the roles.



I used a Schoeps CMC-641.

The author of the book was present.

His comments: "Your audio sounds better than it does in person".

In fact, it did. That is the beauty of the Schoeps. This one shoot justified the full cost of the mic.

I was able to capture the voices with clear and natural sound and reject the sounds that I did not want, such as a ticking clock that we could not shut off.
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