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Old February 13th, 2009, 03:27 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: NJ
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Equip for Documentary

At the end of the month I'm going to be shooting an event (indoors and most likely somewhat loud) on a hpx170. After this event, more shooting will be done for a documentary length feature mostly taking place indoors with a decent amount of interview work. Now, like many of us I'm on a budget so lets say you had $2000 to spend on some audio equip (shotgun/lav) what would you buy? I have been looking around on the forums for awhile now and everyone has their different opinions so it throws me around everywhere just confused. Just looking to get some input from people who have maybe had experience with lower-end equipment. Let me know your thoughts guys and if 2000 can get decent audio equip. Thanks!

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Matt Luckey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 13th, 2009, 05:45 PM   #2
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Los Angeles, California
Posts: 1,804

You should consider changing your thinking. You don't have $2,000.00 to buy a couple of mics, you have $2,000.00 to assemble an effective sound package. Big difference. Some reading and listening would be in order. You may not find what exactly what you are looking for, but if you read and understand the Location Sound article, you will at least have a clue as how to spend your money for the best result. You will need a lot more than a couple of mics.

Location Sound: The Basics and Beyond
As I Hear It - Choosing the Right Microphone
Audio In Close Up - Which Lavalier Should I Use?"

Good luck,

Dan Brockett is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 15th, 2009, 09:10 AM   #3
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Location: Albany, NY 12210
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For a documentary (especially if you are working solo), I think you should blow the entire wad on wireless. I'd get the AT1800 system with one body pack transmitter (upgraded to AT899cw) and one plug-on transmitter. With the upgraded lav that should be about $1,450. Add MZR-7506 headphones for $100. That leaves $450 for an additional mic. I wouldn't bother with a shotgun. You want a cardiod that will handle the wonky voltage output of the AT plug-on transmitter. The Sennheiser ME64 works well, but there are lots of options. Basically put the bodypack transmitter on the most important subject and carry the mic with the plug-on transmitter around with you. You can even camera mount it. Then, as often as practical, you place the mic with the plug-on transmitter within the scene to get it as close as possible to your subjects.

Your camera records four channels of audio. I'm assuming that means that the two channels from the internal stereo mic are always recorded as backup? The HVX does that, at least. If so, that's pretty good redundancy. At some point you'll want to add a second body pack transmitter for two person interviews.

Another option would be to forego the plug-on transmitter and get a second body pack transmitter along with another AT899cw and a boundary mic made for the system. I guess you could use the money you save to get a budget shotgun like the AT897 with a shockmount. Personally, I'd go with the plug-on transmitter. It's a more elegant solution, especially if you camera mount it.
Marco Leavitt is offline   Reply

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