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Old June 9th, 2008, 12:09 PM   #1
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Recommended shotgun Microphone?!

I currently mainly use a wireless G2 lapel microphone (or on broad microphone when required) but see the need to buy a new microphone. The projects I film vary widely, from training videos, corperate videos, events, or anything inbetween. I currently film on mini DV with a Canon XL2, but intend to upgrade to HDV shortly, with a JVC GY-HD111E.

As you can tell, I'm no audio expert (and im probebly going to get flamed for this post). I need a good all-rounder shotgun mic that i can either mount on the camera or place on a stand. I'm usually shooting on my own, so don't have a dedicated sound person. Generally the audio will be from individual people, or a small group. My budget is reasonablly restricted, so maybe a recommendation for 150 or under and 300 or under would be good?

Im shortly placing an order with B&H for a Diva-lite so looking at getting something from them at the same time. (Don't you just love the dollar to pound exchange rate?!). Hope you can advise? Sorry if this is going over old ground. : )
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Old June 9th, 2008, 12:34 PM   #2
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Matthew,

For that money - Rode NTG-1 (phantom powered) or NTG-2 (phantom or AA battery powered). Hard to beat that in the 150 range. Easy to get from UK dealers.

Videogear (UK sponsor of this site) will do an NTG-1 for around 130 when you add VAT, around 140 incl. postage.
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Old June 9th, 2008, 12:59 PM   #3
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Don't worry about getting flamed, you ask a perfectly legit question. IMHO, you'd be better off holding off just a little on the shotgun mic and first get a good hypercardioid instead. The AKB Blueline series SE300B/CK93 combo is a good one in the same general budget ballpark you're considering. The reason is that shotguns are a bit tricky. Firstly, their directivity means it's very easy for normal movements by the talent to take them off mic so someone has to be constantly reaiming them during the shot. Secondly, the interference tube design that gives the shotgun its name is quirky in a normally reflective interior such as a home or typical office setting. The physics by which it operates means that it is highly directive at some frquencies but less so at others. The resulting mix of direct sound from your talent and the reflected sound from the walls and ceilings can make it sound "hollow," like you're recording in a tunnel. The hyper uses a different principle so it's not as likely to sound unnatural. I tend to think of shotguns as being somewhat special purpose mics most useful for wide shots out of doors while the hyper is more the goto mic in a sit down interview or event situation.

In any case get the mic off of the camera unless you just have no other choice. Shotgun mics ARE NOT like telephoto lenses - they don't reach out and bring sounds closer. All they do is isolate the sound from where they're aimied from other unwanted noises in the surroundings. The rule of thumb is that the subject should be able to easily reach out and touch the mic if he wanted to. Shotguns mics let you get away with backing off a little more because of their increased isolation but we're talking like being able to put it 3 feet from the subject instead of 2, not about pulling back to 10 feet from the subject. At that range there's no mic that's very effective.
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Old June 9th, 2008, 05:40 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Stokes View Post
I currently mainly use a wireless G2 lapel microphone (or on broad microphone when required) but see the need to buy a new microphone. The projects I film vary widely, from training videos, corperate videos, events, or anything inbetween. I currently film on mini DV with a Canon XL2, but intend to upgrade to HDV shortly, with a JVC GY-HD111E.

As you can tell, I'm no audio expert (and im probebly going to get flamed for this post). I need a good all-rounder shotgun mic that i can either mount on the camera or place on a stand. I'm usually shooting on my own, so don't have a dedicated sound person. Generally the audio will be from individual people, or a small group. My budget is reasonablly restricted, so maybe a recommendation for 150 or under and 300 or under would be good?

Im shortly placing an order with B&H for a Diva-lite so looking at getting something from them at the same time. (Don't you just love the dollar to pound exchange rate?!). Hope you can advise? Sorry if this is going over old ground. : )
Hi Matthew:

Might find this helpful http://www.kenstone.net/fcp_homepage..._brockett.html

Dan
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Old June 10th, 2008, 02:17 AM   #5
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2 Years ago I found an AT 4073a for $399.00 and have really enjoyed it for what it is. I've been recently upgrading everything and finally found a Sennheiser MKH 416P for $700 and it is a superb mic for the $$$. I'd like to echo an earlier statement, if you'll be indoors, a decent budget hyper like the Blueline or even an Oktava would be a good move. Get a BBG, though.

Last edited by Sean McCormick; June 10th, 2008 at 02:19 AM. Reason: Look at the time, man...
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Old June 10th, 2008, 05:40 AM   #6
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I'm sure they're of little interest to the drama crowd, certainly, but do, say, ENG people ever make use of parabolics? I think sports use them for capturing on-field sound, and if you're in a I-don't-care-how-aesthetically-bad-the-sound-is-can-I-make-out-the-words-at-all situation, well...
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Old June 10th, 2008, 06:33 AM   #7
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Parabolic mics are only for nature/sports/spy stuff. They have one serious flaw: there is no low end. The reflector must be almost as large as the lowest frequency wavelength (or about half of it to get something). For decent 50 Hz bass it would mean a 3meter/11 foot+ reflector...
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Old June 10th, 2008, 06:45 AM   #8
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Guys! Thanks so much for your input!

Bearing in mind my very basic understanding, what are the 2 different items and what part does each one play? Do i need both, irrespective of the equiepment that I use? Sorry for my ignorance!

The SE300B/CK93 combo sounds like a pretty good bet. Any lower budget alternatives that anyone would suggest? I may have available a good deal on a CK92, would this be a good alternative to the CK93? So, I buy these 2, a cable, and a stand...is there a specific clip/mounting i should get? Anything else I should consider?

Thanks again for your time and effort on my sinple post! : )
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Old June 10th, 2008, 09:35 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Matthew Stokes View Post
Guys! Thanks so much for your input!

Bearing in mind my very basic understanding, what are the 2 different items and what part does each one play? Do i need both, irrespective of the equiepment that I use? Sorry for my ignorance!

The SE300B/CK93 combo sounds like a pretty good bet. Any lower budget alternatives that anyone would suggest? I may have available a good deal on a CK92, would this be a good alternative to the CK93? So, I buy these 2, a cable, and a stand...is there a specific clip/mounting i should get? Anything else I should consider?

Thanks again for your time and effort on my sinple post! : )
No, the 92 and 93 are not the same thing. The 92 is an omnidirectional mic - it picks up equally well from all directions. The 93 is a hypercardioid - it picks up best from a relatively narrow cone in front and and somewhat from directly to the rear but supresses sounds from the sides.

Another well respected budget hyper is the Oktava as someone else mentioned.

Both will require some sort of shock mount to damp out handling noises - I recently got one of these - http://www.rycote.com/products/invision - and it works like a champ with my Schoeps hyper
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Old June 10th, 2008, 10:39 AM   #10
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Thats great, thanks. I think I may go for the NG-2. How does that fare? I can't see any mention of any Oktava products here, am I being dumb? What product should I look at?

Once again, I bow to your superior knowledge oh wise ones!
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Old June 10th, 2008, 11:47 AM   #11
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They are referring to the Oktava MK-012 with a hyper capsule on it. You can buy it new for around $300 US. They appear on E-Bay from time to time but there was a brief period where there were chinese made imposters, and you need to know what you are buying to make sure you get the real thing. There are a couple folks modifying these mics to improve their sound quality. I have one and I like it. I also second the Rode NTG-2 as a decent entry level shotgun. I have used the Audio Technica 4073, and it is a very sensitive and good sounding microphone, but at twice the price of the Rode.
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Old June 10th, 2008, 03:39 PM   #12
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steve,

any recommendation just on a camcorder mounted shotgun?
looking for something, mono or stereo for sony pmw-ex1

thanks
paul



Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve House View Post
No, the 92 and 93 are not the same thing. The 92 is an omnidirectional mic - it picks up equally well from all directions. The 93 is a hypercardioid - it picks up best from a relatively narrow cone in front and and somewhat from directly to the rear but supresses sounds from the sides.

Another well respected budget hyper is the Oktava as someone else mentioned.

Both will require some sort of shock mount to damp out handling noises - I recently got one of these - http://www.rycote.com/products/invision - and it works like a champ with my Schoeps hyper
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Old June 10th, 2008, 04:49 PM   #13
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steve,

any recommendation just on a camcorder mounted shotgun?
looking for something, mono or stereo for sony pmw-ex1

thanks
paul
What are you shooting where? What's your budget? There is a wide range of 'guns on the market from the Rode at a few hundred dollars up to the Schoeps CMIT class for several thousand and they all will work as an on-camera mic. For that matter, I see on the web that Sony markets their ECM673 shotgun as a companion mic to that camera. I don't know anything specifically about it but it won't break the bank to give it a try.

Really, camera mounted mics are best relegated to the role of recording general ambience only and I have my personal doubts as to whether a stereo mic is worth it. About the only use for stereo is music and some ambience/fx. But capturing a true stereo recording requires more than merely recording two channels. It requires very careful attention to mic placement with respect to the performance and it is so unlikely that your camera position will be located in the proper point. Couple that with the fact that the angular position of an instrument on the stage with respect to the axis of the lens will continually change as you pan the camera from one shot to another and you have a recipe for disaster, a recording that sounds like the musicians were wandering around the stage at random. So I'd suggest a mono mic.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not opposed to having a shotgun on the camera, just suggest not thinking of it as your primary microphone, especially for recording people.
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Old June 10th, 2008, 08:12 PM   #14
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wow!

steve,

i am glad i asked you as that part of panning to a group of musicians is generally what i intended the shotgun to do, so stereo really does make little to no sense.

as such, the sony cheap ecm673 or something like it makes more sense.
no reason to spend $2000+ for a CMIT5 or Samken.
i don't mind on the budget part if i can really get difference in the results.

speaking of mono shotguns, any real difference from one mike stating inherent noise levels in the teens over one in the low 20's?

what are usable specs to get for a camcorder mounted shotgun?

thanks

paul




Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve House View Post
What are you shooting where? What's your budget? There is a wide range of 'guns on the market from the Rode at a few hundred dollars up to the Schoeps CMIT class for several thousand and they all will work as an on-camera mic. For that matter, I see on the web that Sony markets their ECM673 shotgun as a companion mic to that camera. I don't know anything specifically about it but it won't break the bank to give it a try.

Really, camera mounted mics are best relegated to the role of recording general ambience only and I have my personal doubts as to whether a stereo mic is worth it. About the only use for stereo is music and some ambience/fx. But capturing a true stereo recording requires more than merely recording two channels. It requires very careful attention to mic placement with respect to the performance and it is so unlikely that your camera position will be located in the proper point. Couple that with the fact that the angular position of an instrument on the stage with respect to the axis of the lens will continually change as you pan the camera from one shot to another and you have a recipe for disaster, a recording that sounds like the musicians were wandering around the stage at random. So I'd suggest a mono mic.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not opposed to having a shotgun on the camera, just suggest not thinking of it as your primary microphone, especially for recording people.
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Old June 11th, 2008, 03:57 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Chiu View Post
wow!

steve,

i am glad i asked you as that part of panning to a group of musicians is generally what i intended the shotgun to do, so stereo really does make little to no sense.

as such, the sony cheap ecm673 or something like it makes more sense.
no reason to spend $2000+ for a CMIT5 or Samken.
i don't mind on the budget part if i can really get difference in the results.

speaking of mono shotguns, any real difference from one mike stating inherent noise levels in the teens over one in the low 20's?

what are usable specs to get for a camcorder mounted shotgun?

thanks

paul
The lower the inherent noise level, the less the mic itself will contribute to the general background hiss that is a part of all recordings. That's the sound you hear when you turn up the volume all the way while not having any program material running. But practically speaking a few dB one way or the other won't make much difference with the current generation of pro and prosumer mics. But if the manufacturer doesn't even bother to list it in the specs, OTOH, it is cause for concern. Specs to compare would include noise level, S/N ratio, sensitivity, and maximum soud pressure level (mnore is good).

BTW, was just glancing over the specs for the new Rode NTG-3 shotgun and it looks verry interesting.
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