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Old November 19th, 2008, 11:05 AM   #1
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Best all around mic for interviews?

I conduct interviews on camera, some indoors, some outdoors, and I am already stuffed to the gills with equipment in my airline checked bags.

Indoors, the background hum noise is overwhelming, and I can only filter out so much before the voice starts to sound electronic.

Sounds guys, a second guy with a boom mike, $5000 mics are all out of the question.

I am thinking of some Sennheiser type wireless mics, and wanted to ask the opinions of you far more learned types on the viability of this.
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Old November 19th, 2008, 11:23 AM   #2
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try this thread
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/all-thing...ansmitter.html
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Old November 19th, 2008, 11:34 AM   #3
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Do you work with an on-camera interviewer or are you strictly a one-man operation, asking questions of the subject while you operate the camera?

What is the source of the "background hum"? Is it electrical hum being picked up by your current mic? What is your present setup and where are you shooting? I ask because if your existing camera and audio arrangement is picking up AC hum from the room electrical, going to a wireless could actually be worse. And putting a lav mic on the subject doesn't necessarily mean wireless. Hardwired cable to the camera a far better way to go when it's logistically possible.
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Old November 19th, 2008, 11:39 AM   #4
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The accepted standard for entry level professional wireless is the Sennheiser G2.

They will work on both XLR and 1/8 inch input cameras.

The other option is a handheld dynamic mic, either with a plug-on transmitter or wired to the camera.
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Old November 19th, 2008, 11:50 AM   #5
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I absolutely love my Sennheiser G2. I have the EW112 kit, with a single omni lav mic. It's a huge step up from cheap VHF systems. They come with both XLR and 1/8" cables for your camera, and run for hours and hours on two AA batteries in each unit. The sound is so much better than a boom mic - the proximity of the mic to the subject's mouth makes a tremendous difference in reduction of background noise (inverse square law is your friend).
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Old November 19th, 2008, 12:29 PM   #6
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Steve, typically I am the guy behind the camera. I suppose with a dual wireless set up I could either be on camera with the interviewee or interview 2 people on cam.
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Old November 19th, 2008, 01:47 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Dave Allen View Post
Steve, typically I am the guy behind the camera. I suppose with a dual wireless set up I could either be on camera with the interviewee or interview 2 people on cam.
When you say "background hum" are you talking about 60 cycle AC hum from the power mains or are you talking about, say, the "hum" of background conversation like you'd find in a bar?
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Old November 19th, 2008, 04:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Angus Findlay View Post
I absolutely love my Sennheiser G2. I have the EW112 kit...(snip)... The sound is so much better than a boom mic ...
I will be surprised if that statement goes unchallenged, although I understand the point you are making. In certain circumstances, it may appear to be that simple, but the first time you have unusable audio due to RF interference, reality and Murphy's law will have sunk their teeth into your posterior. :-)

I am a great fan of the Senny G2s by the way, and often use them (in repeatable situations) when it's a bit risky.
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Old November 19th, 2008, 04:59 PM   #9
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The Sennheiser MD 42 (or 46) plus the SKP 100 G2 (or SKP 500 G2) is a good interview mic.

You can get the SKP 100 G2 plug-on as part of the ew 100 ENG G2 kit (you get the pocket transmitter and camera receiver in the kit as well).

I hope this helps.
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Old November 20th, 2008, 12:54 AM   #10
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background noise as in 100 people talking all at once, or in the case of the last interview, the damn escalator 50 feet away, lol.
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Old November 21st, 2008, 11:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Allen View Post
background noise as in 100 people talking all at once, or in the case of the last interview, the damn escalator 50 feet away, lol.
Dave,

Physics is your friend. Search the phrase "inverse square principle" - the ONLY efficient way to isolate one sound out of a bunch of other sounds is to place a microphone MUCH closer to the sound you want than it is to the sounds you don't want.

A common stick mic like a Electrovoice 635 or RE-50 or a Beyer M58 on a shielded XLR cable into a balanced mic input when held an inch or so from the mouth of a person speaking will get you an eminently listenable interview track even if the room is full of talking people. Move that mic to 12 inches and you get MUCH worse results. (that inverse square thing in action)

In ALL audio recording, the way to get the sounds you want and supress the sounds you don't is to position your mic as close as possible to what you wish to record - and as far as possible from what you don't.

That simple reality of physics is MUCH more important than the brand, cost, or type of the mic you use - or how you get the signal from the mic to the recording device.

Hope that helps.
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Old November 22nd, 2008, 07:07 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Dave Allen View Post
background noise as in 100 people talking all at once, or in the case of the last interview, the damn escalator 50 feet away, lol.

LOL - gotta be careful with semantics. The term "background hum" you used in your first message would typically mean to an audio person that 60 or 50 Hz electrical hum is intruding into your audio. That sort of thing can sometimes be fixed in post and prevented by revamping your wiring. But the buzz of conversation around you and environmental sounds like the escalator hitting the mic with close to the same intensity as the desired voice, not much you can do except prevent it in the first place. Their frequency spectrum is virtually the same as that of the desired sound so anything you do to remove them is going to damage the sound you want as well. There are times and circumstances where you simply have no choice except to team up with someone. Just like you'd never consider diving without a buddy, there are times and situations where the only way to videograph properly is also with a buddy <grin>.

Bill's comments are right on target. Your problem is with Mother Nature, not the mic, and there's no mic available at any price that will prevent the problem you're facing unless you have some way to get it closer to the speaker. If you have no choice but to work by yourself, that most likely will mean a handheld mic with a cable running to the camera or a handheld wireless. Handheld dynamics are not expensive, BTW - I needed one on short notice for a presentation last week and picked up an Audio Technica AT804 for only $90, that's not that much more that the cost of gas and tolls ran to drive to the presentation location from my home! EV 635's are about $125 and broadcast favorites like the EV RE50 or Sennheiser MD46 are only about $200. Rigging a wireless lav on the subject in the middle of a crowd doesn't seem too practical for interviews you're grabbing on the fly and there's always the chance they'll forget and walk away with your mic and transmitter when the interview is done. For more structured interviews, setting up in a quiet location with a boom mic on a stand would be a possible solution but that means bringing the subject to the interview rather than grabbing them on the run - don't know if you want to do that or not.
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Old November 22nd, 2008, 09:30 PM   #13
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Right now the onboard left/right mic pickups on my Sony FX1 require I d a lot of filtering. it is usable for an interview, but I am trying to eliminate the unnatural setting of holding a mic. Sometimes the person getting interviewed uses both hands to operate/demonstrate something. I am hoping the Sennheiser wireless mics will represent a big improvement.
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Old November 23rd, 2008, 02:31 AM   #14
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An omni lavalier (wireless or wired) placed as close as possible to the source (on the collar or high on the shirt) will be a huge improvement, I believe.

A few days ago I did a test with an actor in an open air shopping mall full of tourists, with a military band playing 75 yards away, street noise, etc. The noise was so loud that it was hard to carry on a conversation at the outdoor table of the coffee stand we sat at.

I put a Tram on the actor about midway between the chin and belt (actually too low for the situation). While the background sounds are heard, the actor's voice is upfront and clear.

In a normal situation, there would be almost none of the background noise.

I remember hearing radio broadcasts in restaurants. There was the continual clatter of dishes and chatter in the background. But it was clear where the conversations were taking place and the broadcasts were eminently listenable.

The minimal background that comes through the lavalier will add some realism, and this can be augmented with some cutaways or angles that show a bit of the location.

Leaf blowers and incessant drones, however, should be avoided altogether.
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Old November 23rd, 2008, 07:20 AM   #15
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No question that a lav on the subject would impove the audio - I just question the practicality of rapdily putting a wireless lav on a busy subject caught on the run in the middle of a crowd at, say, a trade-show exhibit hall. If you're going to prevent clothing and cable noises, etc, you can't just clip it to the short plaquet and let the cord dangle - there's a bit of rigging to do. I can just see "Do you have a moment, please? ...now cliip this here. .. and that there ... and pull this wire through here ... okay, tell us about ... Thanks for your comments ... wait! wait! come back, my microphone! come back!!!!!" ROFL Swinging a boom in the middle of a crowd isn't the best option either. I think the best solution is a hand-held reporter's stick mic with a wireless plugon and working with an on-camera interviwer holding the mic talking to the subject.
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