WIND PROTECTION - a low level viewpoint at

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Old May 22nd, 2008, 12:31 AM   #1
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WIND PROTECTION - a low level viewpoint

I'll once again start by saying I am not a pro, FAR (far far) from it. But I have had enough experience that my lowly amateur perspective might mirror that of others on here, and serve to help them make informed choices early on I made kind of hit and miss.

To start with my advice on windy days? Go fly a kite, don't shoot exterior sound. Ok, ok... sometimes or another it IS gonna happen, then what?

What I have learned, first off, is that nearly everyone that makes some form or another of wind protection overhypes it.

If you start with a naked (can I say that on this forum?) mic, the slightest bit of wind currents will make themselves evident.... so SOME form of wind protection is more or less a constant given. Enter the foam "windscreen".

Actually it is pretty good at doing what it is supposed to do. For a low sensitivity mic (S/N 70 or under - and yes I know this is not a "sensitivity" measurement per se but works pretty well as one) it might be impressive in its performance. For more sensitive mics, it gives up the ghost pretty quickly, especially in gusty conditions.

Next up is the addition of a furry covering over the foam - a so called "dead-cat" , "fuzzie", "windjammer" etc. Their effectiveness is related to the length of the fur and the way it stands up (bring a hairbrush! - seriously). They definitely increase the effectiveness of the foam windscreen/combo when added over one. Do they eliminate wind noise in everything but a hurricane? Sadly no.

(A sidenote... I had a chance to use a homemade fuzzie my daughter sewed for me from fur fabric, one made by a lady in Great Falls Montana and sold by her commercially, and a Rycote. I really did not see a significant difference, but then I have amateur ears, but was listening in pro equip.)

Next up in order is a blimp. These can run you the better part of a grand if you buy a name brand, or under $200 on E-Bay from a guy in India. I have an East Indian blimp and think for the money you can't beat it. (I should add I have never used a $900 Sennheiser equivalent... so I am not making a comparison here.)

The blimp is a magnitude order upwards in wind protection. The microphone is suspended in a chamber protected from wind by a screened enclosure and/or a deadcat over that, so the chance for wind noise is seriously lessened. Hurricane? nope. Strong gusty conditions? Probably not perfect, but about as good as it gets.

You can add a deadcat on the mic within the blimp... but all this comes at a cost. High frequencies. Oh and, if you plan to turn the blimp, or any mic, at right angles to the wind to boom it, instead of parallel to the windflow, you might as well be making the tornado scene in the Wizard of Oz... you need to keep the mic in line with the wind to have ANY chance.

My advice? Wind protection is a must, if you MUST shoot in the wind. Find protected locations when you can and use the shotgun in line with the windflow. Windbreaks are a messy business because typically unless you have a teardrop shaped windbreak that smoothly redirects the wind current, the wind spills and curls around a flat or non-aerodynamic surface and becomes even more turbulent on the backside. Not good.

If you know someone who can sew you can save a bundle...if not the lady in Great Falls Montana sells a good product at a decent price. The super duper high end Rycote is a good product not duplicated elsewhere but in my opinion of marginal additional efficacy.

As for blimps.. The East Indian one suits my lowly needs just fine. I'll use the money I save for a pro mic.

(I should mention, all this assumes you have some form of low cutout/high pass/rumble filter with something around 80-150 HZ and have it in use.)

[ps. It helps to have a shotgun with a lower sensitivity in the kit bag for those especially windy days.... a hot mic can kill you on those occasions (eg AT 4071, 4073 and the like with S/N's 80 and higher)]

Last edited by Chris Swanberg; May 22nd, 2008 at 01:23 AM.
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Old May 22nd, 2008, 05:17 AM   #2
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Nice post. Got a link for the lady in MT?
Anyone know a source for long-hair dead cat material? I can only find the short fur.

Paul Cascio
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Old May 22nd, 2008, 09:25 AM   #3
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The lady in Great Falls is Rebeccah, and the site is

(I am assuming it is ok to post this link, if not I hope the mod will remove and let me know.)
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Old May 22nd, 2008, 10:51 AM   #4
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If you where in Bristol UK like me then yes. There's a guy at St. Nicks Market who sells the Gorilla Suit fur in a number of colours at 8 per yard. I think he does it by the meter actually but I'll call it yards for those in the U.S. and us English.Aint changing my spelling of colour for you though.

He does it in brown, camouflage and red too. I've tried it on a 815t and it works same as the Rycote stuff. Not knocking them though, they're up the road from here too.
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