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Old January 31st, 2009, 01:29 PM   #1
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Camera Mounted shotgun: set me straight

I'm counting on the good people of this forum for a reality check! I just received a new camera, an EX-1, and have been contemplating my choices for a camera-mounted shotgun for those on-the-move situations (dare I say "run and gun") where it's just me and the camera. I was leaning toward a Rode NTG 1 with the goal of maintaining a low profile set up.

Then I found a post by Steve House counseling that on-camera shotguns are really intended to gather nat. sound, that the best sound gathering method is to get the mic off the camera and near the talent. I understand completely.

It got me wondering whether my perspective is all wrong and I should skip the camera mounted approach altogether, use the built in camera mic for nat sound and safety net and focus on quality shotgun and /or hypercard for those occasions where I can set up a boom etc and do it right.

I guess I can't understand the point of a mic, shock mount etc all rigged to my camera if the camera is still going to be moving around the subject or 10 feet away.

I'd appreciate your thoughts...on camera shotgun or skip it?
Bob
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Old January 31st, 2009, 02:12 PM   #2
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When using an on-camera mic for acquiring ambient sound, the quality of the audio is improved by replacing the built-in mic with a quality shotgun mounted on a shockmount.
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Old January 31st, 2009, 02:17 PM   #3
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Hi Bob:

Personally I agree with the sound pros, on-camera mics, in general, are a complete waste because the sound that they record is at a narrower angle than the stereo built-in mics on cameras like the EX1. Ambient sound generally sounds more natural if it is recorded with a fairly wide sound stage. On camera mics are generally made so that ENG camera operators can fool themselves into believing that they are recording acceptable audio.

There are a few exceptions. I shot red carpet at a movie premier a few weeks ago. I was alone and had no sound mixer. So I installed my Audio Technica AT875r on the camera. Since it was a typical red carpet, I was very close to the actors on the red carpet and shot some interviews with just the on-camera mic. The mic was about a foot away from the actors mouth and even though the angle was not ideal, the audio ended up being acceptable for the studio. Keep in mind that subjectively, the picture looked bad, the framing was lame since few people look their best a foot away from the camera lens, but on a red carpet lineup, this is how it is done.

In a normal production situation, I would never shot an interview with the camera about a foot away from the talent, which is the only place that an on-camera mic will sound acceptable.

OTOH, the Audio Technica AT875r is made as an on-camera mic but I also use it as a boom mic in regular situations. It sounds superb for the money and it is very inexpensive.

So to answer your question, if you have a decent budget, I would not even worry about what mic to buy for on-camera use, I would buy whichever mic sounds best to your ears for your situation. As I Hear It - Choosing the Right Microphone

Dan
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Old January 31st, 2009, 02:35 PM   #4
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Absolutely.............

Quote:
Originally Posted by Colin McDonald View Post
The quality of the audio is improved by replacing the built-in mic with a quality shotgun mounted on a shockmount.
spot on.

Bob, imagine if you can (better still, plug a set of cans into your camera and do the test) - the on - board stereo mic's are picking up sound from all over the place, over your shoulder(s), off to the far right & left, in front and even above.

The camera lens is concentrating in just one place, directly ahead at the object of interest.

That's where (in most instances) you want the majority of your sound to be picked up.

Everything else (unless germain to the story line) is unwanted distraction and totally out of context.

Your ears and brain combine to effectively filter that noise out in a real life environment using all sorts of wild and wonderfull processing tricks.

Recording the same environment as a stereo pair removes all the markers required to process those sounds out, which is why they're so intrusive when played back through either cans or speakers.

Using a good long shotgun stops many of them being picked up in the first place.

Reinforce that signal source with another "off cam" mic closer to the action and your eyes have the visual clues to be able to more appropriately process that sound information.

Don't get me wrong, a cam shotgun/ off cam other isn't a magic "get out of jail card" but it's a heck of a lot better than those on-board stereo's.


CS
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Old January 31st, 2009, 02:43 PM   #5
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Unless the camera is physically noisy which will be picked up by said microphone.

Unless the new mic is too far away from the talent in which case the sound will be compromised.

The best mic on the planet will not improve your audio if it's too far away.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old February 1st, 2009, 02:45 PM   #6
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Sometimes due to circumstances, I can't hang a lav mic on someone. And there's no room (or budget) for a soundman with a boom.

Although I don't like doing it, I've managed to squeeze by with an Audio Technica 4051a on my EX1. It's got very neutral audio qualities and handles off-axis sources nicely. Also has very good rejection from the rear.

Here's a sample. The guys would occasionally jump off the boat which would have put my wireless transmitters at risk. And the main guy didn't have a shirt that would allow me to hide a transmitter. So I went with Plan B. The boat was small enough so they'd always be within a few feet. And I had my back to the outboard motor much of the time which helped avoid too much noise.

http://hawaiigoesfishing.com/videos/4051a_sample.mov
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Old February 1st, 2009, 04:55 PM   #7
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4053a would be a better choice in a lot of cases.

Ty Ford
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Old February 2nd, 2009, 01:23 AM   #8
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BTW: The 4053 is very similar to the 4051 except that it has a tighter pickup pattern. In fact, they use the same body. It's a matter of swapping the capsules. So it's possible to "taylor" the mic to suit particular circumstances.

Also, I'm using the 4051 with a Lightwave 101 wind fur. With the bass rolloff turned "on" I've actually managed to get decent audio with winds in excess of 20 kts.
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