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Old July 21st, 2003, 05:59 PM   #1
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Wireless -vs- Shotgun for outdoors Interviews

Any pros and cons on this? I did a shoot last week using the Samson UHF One setup and noticed a few things:
-Levels were really low. I had to crank the levels on the reciever AND the camera to get it somewhere near useable.
-The mic picked up quite a bit of wind noise

I did not use the Balanced output of the mic as I have yet to get the adaptor for this camera. So, I used the unbalanced output off the reciever into the camera.

How would a Sen ME66 fair in these conditions? I would like the ease of setup with the ME66 but, the are in which these interviews take place tend to have a lot of noisy things happening about. Does the ME66 have wind filtering?

What's your take?

GL
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Old July 21st, 2003, 09:01 PM   #2
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The ME66 does not come with a wind screen, and one IS required if you're shooting in any wind at all since it's a very sensitive mic. If the work you're doing keeps the distance between you (with mic on cam) and the subject to less than 6 ft, I would suggest the 66. As I mentioned, it's very sensitive on axis and does a good job at rejecting off axis noise. On the other hand, a wireless lav (with a wind screen) provides increased distance between you and subject but at the cost of being a omni directional mic that will pick up all the sound(noise).
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Old July 21st, 2003, 09:35 PM   #3
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That was one of the frustrations was that the lav did have the foam screen on it but, it seemed to help very little.

I am leaning towards sticking with the wireless just because it would be more flexible. My concern is the terrible levels I was getting. Do the Beachtek boxes actually boost the signal?

GL
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Old July 22nd, 2003, 06:55 AM   #4
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I don't think you can get good results in windy weather with ME66, unless you are using a good zeppellin with Ricote. Simple foam windscreen does not give you much protection.
Well, it depends on your criteria too, how much of wind noise is acceptable to you personally.
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Old July 22nd, 2003, 09:25 AM   #5
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I would have thought that a samll breeze would be no problem, I'm not talking about gusts here. Is there any thing other than the standard foam that comes on a lav to prevent this?

I am also still wondering about the levels. Is there a difference in output from the balanced to unbalanced? In terms of volume?

GL
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Old July 22nd, 2003, 10:33 AM   #6
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When I have to use a lav outdoors and the tiny windscreen doesn't
cut the wind noise, I will take a "regular" windscreen (for a mike like a SM58)
and put the lav with it's screen inside of that. Use a rubber band or black
hair tie so that the mic doesn't fall out. Kinda big looking, but it usually
does the trick.

The windscreen for the ME66 or ME67 doesn't help much except for
breezy conditions of say under 10 MPH. The next level is the blimp and
"dead cat", though even that doesn't cut it in wind much above 20 MPH.
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Old July 22nd, 2003, 10:45 AM   #7
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How do you keep the windscreen out of the camera's view?

GL
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Old July 22nd, 2003, 11:44 AM   #8
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Well, you don't always, but if I'd rather have good audio
when shooting an interview & a puff ball in the shot
than audio plagued with wind noise and mic fracks.

They do make smaller windsocks that won't be as large
as one for an SM58, yet big enough for the lav and its
sock to fit inside. They don't look that bad, especially when
you see the talent's hair blowing around, but still have clean audio.

I would put the lav about three buttons down and frame the
shot so it is just out of the picture. The talent may lean
back and expose it time to time . . . oh well.

The best way is to get a shotgun rig like a Sennheiser 416,
full Rycote system (~$1500-$2K) and boom op. Even that
won't do it in extreme conditions.

Like most good solutions, it depends on what you can afford to spend.
I usually go with both. One mic in each channel.
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Old July 24th, 2003, 08:14 PM   #9
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I generally try to hide the mics under the shirt. Some shirts provide a great deal of wind protection. Others don't. I wonder if Rycote makes shirts? :-)

Also, some shirts are loose and flap around in the wind so that's yet another consideration.

However, if it's just a gentle breeze then you can easily conceal the mic by taping it under the person's shirt. One place is in the line of buttons. Be aware that you might lose some of the highs. Some lav mics can be set up to compensate for the loss.

This weekend I had the chance to hide the mic in the bill of the person's baseball cap. Worked pretty good. Fortunately the mic was small enough to do that.

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Old July 24th, 2003, 08:33 PM   #10
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This is what is uprising about this mic. It has a huge foam on it but, still suffers in the wind. I am not sure how comfortable it would be for someone on the inside of their shirt.

I had a Countryman B6...<gnashes teeth> Why did I EVER sell that beauty! Smallest, cleanest mic I have ever beheld.

GL
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Old July 24th, 2003, 09:46 PM   #11
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George...

" I had a Countryman B6...<gnashes teeth> Why did I EVER sell that beauty! Smallest, cleanest mic I have ever beheld."

I'm using a pair of Countryman B3's. Would have sprung for the B6 but I had a budget constraint.

Still, the B3 sounds nice and it's quite small. A heck of a lot smaller than the Lectrosonics 119 or the Shure lavs I have. And sounds a lot better, too.

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Old July 26th, 2003, 12:09 PM   #12
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Rycote makes a hairball especially for lavaliere microphones. $50 for two from B&H. White or black.

A $150 Light Wave minicover will cut wind noise for the shotgun up to the point where the XLR microphone wire starts singing.
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Old July 26th, 2003, 04:10 PM   #13
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trew Audio sells a great windscreen called a micro-cat:

http://www.trewaudio.com/microcat.htm

I've used these on a in a boat on a lake in raw fall wind with good results. You can't hide them, but so what. Good audio is more important...
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Old July 26th, 2003, 04:59 PM   #14
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The micro cat also comes in at least four colors: black, grey, white and tan. It helps to camoflage them in certain circumstances.
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Old July 27th, 2003, 01:01 PM   #15
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Levels

You mentioned cranking the levels on the reciever and camera. What about the transmiter? I have not used the Samson but almost all UHF body packs have a level control on them, sometimes tiny and obscure but its there. Rule number one for any audio recording is UNITY. If any audio setting in a loop needs to be cranked it is a red flag to me. 9 times out of 10 you can find something out of wack (mic/line switches, menue settings, level control dials ect.) that is causing you to crank a level control and degrade your recording. I would double check your set up from source to tape.

Steve
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