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Old August 21st, 2003, 11:42 AM   #1
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DVX100 + ME66 + ? = Great Sound!!

Greetings everyone! It's a pleasure to meet you all. I'm a newbie in video production and I need some advice on acquiring great sound with my equipment (DVX100, Sennheiser ME66). It will be my first serious venture into video production. I have completed one "just-okay, could-be-INFINITELY-LOTS-better" 7-minute dv class project. But aside from that, no other experience. I didn't have to deal with dialogue with my last project, so I am pretty much new to sound design.

The project I will be working on will be shot 90% indoors, inside an apartment and apartment hallways. I'm working with a dialogue driven script, with voices ranging from whisper to strong yelling. So I'm hoping to learn as much as I can so I can get the best quality sound I can afford.

I would like to keep as tight a bugdet as possible but in the end I am willing to shell out the extra bucks for quality sound acquisition. So here's my query list:

1) Should I use an MD? Judging from the other posts it seems like a favorable option among experienced users. Please explain why or why not, and list any product suggestions for all the questions. :]

2) Should I use a mixer or preamp device? What exactly do they bring to the sound quality? Why or why shouldn't I use one?

3) Should I make a boom pole or is the expense of a manufactured one really worth it?

4) Any suggestions on how to set up my audio, products to buy, other concerns I should consider, etc., will be EXTREMELY helpful.

P.S. I am absolutely greatful for any assistence anyone has to offer. I'm sure glad you guys are here to help!!

--Randy Reyes-- :]
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Old August 25th, 2003, 12:15 PM   #2
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I have an md but haven't used it since the dvx100. I normally shoot one of two ways if quality is a concern without going to too much trouble; "Internal Left" on, "Ex. Input Right" feeding xlr mic... balance levels on camera display/headphones and choose one or both sources in post. Another option is using two different external mics and balancing in camera and mixing in post.

An Me66 indoors NEEDS a boom... stick or pro, just get it over the talent and pointing at a steep angle or the room reflections will kill you.

I've been mostly happy with lavs indoors, unless I have a boom guy at my disposal...

Pro mixers and preamps give the best sound if you have the money and ability to run everything... via crew or personal talent.
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Old August 26th, 2003, 01:47 PM   #3
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I agree with Matt. To expand a little--

1. With the DVX, I'd only employ double-system sound recording if there was a very specific physical need to use it. This might include steadicam type shots, or wide shots that were impossible to boom and you were using hidden lavs or plant mics but not with wireless transmitters.

2. A mixer or preamp like the SoundDevices MixPre or MM-1 make a big difference in your ability to control and monitor the sound you are recording. Slightly better technical quality is a less important benefit, but every little bit helps. Generally the DVX can be okay without a mixer, but the ergonomics of control and monitoring wont be as good.
The key is that the boom operator has a good headphone feed and the signal to the camera can be easily adjusted if the situation demands it. A mixer allows for this more easily than using the camera alone.

3. Boompoles like the Gitzo 556 and 557 are fairly inexpensive. The problem with most substitute poles is their inability to collapse to small lengths. This will be very important in interior shooting.

4. Other components that are important not to scrimp on are the shockmount for the boom mic. The AudioTechnica 8415 is available for about $50 and there are others as well.
Good headphones like Sony 7506's range from $70 to $100 depending on sale prices.
A headphone booster like the Boosteroo is available for about $25 and helps alot with the DVX's weak headphone output.
Good XLR cables are about $25 each. Wind protection for outdoor use runs from $25 to $450 depending on quality.
You'll need at least a minimal foam screen for indoor boom swinging.

Lastly, I think you'll need to add an additional mic to your setup since this project will be all interiors. The ME-66 has a fair amount of off-axis coloration that is most noticeable during interior dialog. Almost all short shotguns are very prone to this and usually a high-quality hypercardioid mic is employeed for interior dialog booming.
This could range from an AT873r at about $180 to an AT4053a at about $600 to a Sennheiser MKH-50 at about $1300. You could also add an ME-64 capsule to your K6, but since that's a cardioid it might be a little too wide. The ME-65 is designed to be a handheld vocal hypercardioid and wouldnt work as well for booming than those other 4 choices I listed. Depending on your location you could always try renting first and then decide.
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Old September 15th, 2003, 05:17 AM   #4
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a mic I can wholeheartedly recommend because I own it is the Oktava MC012 multi capsule. It comes with three different screw on capsules for three different pickup patterns. You get a hypercardiod for interiors, omni directional for room tone, ambiences etc and a cardiod for well I don't know what people use cardoid for.

To my ears the mic sounds great especially the hypercardiod inside. It will cost you $299 at the Sound Room or www.oktava.com. I wouldn't buy it anywhere but here because these mics are from Russia and have some quality control problems. The Sound Room enigeneers only sell the absolute best mics that pass their strict testing/standards. You can get the mc012 at other places for cheaper but these mics haven't gone through the rigourous testing but you might get lucky. I guess the mics picked out by hand the by the Sound Room techs compare favorably to other mic costing much more.

The reason I went w/the Oktava is that its multi purpose. Ambient recordings are very important for video production in my opinion so an omni mic is what you want. You can record in mono then split to stereo in post...well at least thats what I do and it works so far.

Keep in mind I haven'et heard any of the other mics mentioned but you should really consider this mic. I even find it accetable outdoors in good conditions.
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Old September 15th, 2003, 05:26 AM   #5
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Here's a tip that works for me if your going to have whispers and strong yelling in the same scene with the DVX100.

Plug the mic into input 2, and have both channels recording from input 2. Set channel 1 lower so the yelling won't distort, then channel 2 higher so you still can get the quiet parts up high enough. What you get in post is two seperate tracks and then you just find the places where whichever track sounds best and use it.

Just so you know a little bit into the red of the audio meters is ok.
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Old September 15th, 2003, 09:46 PM   #6
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THAT is a freakin' awesome tip Jake... I never would have considered doing it that way... so does that actually work as stated? I'm assuming you've done this...

That's the answer I was looking for in another thread... I have an me66 and I haven't been happy with how easily it overloads or misses whispers and there you have it. My answer! Thanks.
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Old September 16th, 2003, 05:45 AM   #7
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yeah it works just fine for me. The only downside is that your headphones tend to distort more because one input is louder. Just keep your eyes on the level meter for both channels and as long as one of them isn't filling up the red you should be ok.

And I think that one of the inputs can't be switched to the other one so checking the levels by ear is kind of a pain because you are always hearing both channels. I think I can isolate one of them but not the other one. This isn't altogether necessary though because you have those meters on their for you. Just try to record everything at -12 which is the white mark with the line through it. A few peaks into the red are ok as long as they dont' distort. I know I keep saying that but my first few recordings were way to quiet and I had to bump them up to much so the tracks got noisy.

I heard somewhere that most professional actors can make it sound like they are yelling or whispering without raising or lowering the volume of their voice. I always thought that was cool.
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Old September 16th, 2003, 05:47 AM   #8
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On a side question what do people use cardiods (not Hyper) for?
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Old September 17th, 2003, 09:49 AM   #9
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There are two parts to selecting a microphone pattern, what you want to capture and what you want to attenuate.
The hypercardioid has a narrower pickup angle at the front but it also has some pickup directly to the rear and areas of attenuation on both sides of this rear lobe.
The cardioid has a wider front angle and a single area of deep attenuation directly behind the mic.
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