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Old April 2nd, 2009, 12:45 PM   #1
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Considering Audio Technica AT897 shotgun

I've been on the film scene for a number of years. I'm only 19, but I've been writing screenplays for a good number of years. I sold my first screenplay approximately one year ago, and it's going into production this summer. But, my real aspirations are for directing.

Since October I've been planning the shoot of a script I wrote. Those sorts of details aren't a concern so much to me. The script is solid, I don't have any qualms about that. I think having been a screenwriter for so many years and having a lot of experience in that form allows me to have a more solid command on the filmmaking process.

My main question revolves around equipment. I've been researching this for many months, and finally it is getting nearer to the shooting date (end of May). I'm trying to nail down an exact, specific list of equipment and pricing.

Most notably is that I'll be shooting with a Canon XH-A1, which I do know how to operate after having been on a few sets.

I'm wondering about the mics. First of all, I'm considering the Audio Technica AT897 shotgun. I also need a boom pole and a boom stand. This is where I need some assistance. What booms are affordable and compatible with the AT897, and what stands would be good for that? Plus, what other little miscellaneous items would I need?

Any other advice on the audio side would be great. I know how to operate cameras and know a lot about video, but haven't been around audio a lot.

Thanks a million for any help you can offer!
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Old April 2nd, 2009, 12:58 PM   #2
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Good for you! I admire your ambition and determination, especially at such a young age.

Usually it is best to rent rather than buy the equipment you are talking about. I don't know what sort of resources you have in your area, but if you can find a good rental house they can advise you on the most cost-effective solution for your project. By all accounts the AT is a fine mic but there are plenty of others, and any stand and boom pole would work. But you would use different mics for different purposes. Are you producing on your own or do you have an experienced line producer working with you to schedule your set-ups most efficiently? Some days you might be outdoors, needing one type of equipment, while others you may be in different types of spaces, necessitating different types of equipment. You can rent the right equipment for each day's shoot without having to invest in an arsenal of gear that you will use once. And this would apply to all equipment, not just audio.
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Old April 2nd, 2009, 03:59 PM   #3
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I am renting a lot of the equipment.

I live in Dayton, OH, so any rental places in that area would be good.

Cincinnati might have quite a few since it's a larger city. I'll have to look into that.
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Old April 2nd, 2009, 04:45 PM   #4
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Please avoid ambiguous thread titles -- thread title changed from "Question from a New Filmmaker" to "Considering Audio Technica AT897 shotgun." Moved from Open DV to All Things Audio.
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Old April 2nd, 2009, 05:07 PM   #5
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Alright.

Although that isn't actually what I'm considering. But okay.
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Old April 2nd, 2009, 07:11 PM   #6
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Please read the sticky thread at the top of the forum labeled Audio Forum Frequently Asked Questions. There's tons of information in there about mics, accessories and booms.

Your question is unanswerable by us. "What booms are affordable?" Only you know what you can afford. There are many boom poles made from several different materials. You could make one for free from a broomstick if you wanted. I'm not trying to be confrontational but we need to know your budget and intended use. Will you be working inside or out? It matters for mic selection. Any boom pole will be compatible with the mic you mention. Try reading the FAQ threads and then refine your question.

Having said all that, I have the AT 897 and it is a fine mic for the money. Is it as good as a $1600 mic?: no. But depending on your budget, experience and intended use it could serve you well.

If you're new to audio, I'd invest in some reading material (or DVD) such as Location Audio Simplified (add dot com for the website) or an instructional DVD on location audio.
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Old April 2nd, 2009, 07:40 PM   #7
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You say you need a boom stand, I say you need a boom op. Stands are useless unless your actors are not moving at all. just my 2 pennies.
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Old April 2nd, 2009, 09:18 PM   #8
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Sacha's right. The most critical aspect with sound is the person holding the pole. The mic itself is secondary (a distant second) to getting good placement. This seems to be the hardest thing for people to accept when they get started, but it's true.
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Old April 3rd, 2009, 07:13 AM   #9
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I want you to pick your favorite script from your favorite screenwriter.

Now imagine what that wonderful movie would look like, if it had been shot without a talented knowledgeable crew.

You may have written a masterpiece, but your movie will only be as good as the crew you surround yourself with.

You asking about boom poles and microphones tells me you have not surrounded yourself with talented knowledgeable people, and your movie will only be as good as your limited knowledge of movie making.

A little advice from someone who has, as you put it... "been on the film scene" for longer than you have been alive.

Good Luck with your project!
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Old April 5th, 2009, 06:17 AM   #10
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In terms of Audio Technica in general, I would recommend their products as best quality for the money almost across the board. The AT897 is no exception.

John
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Old April 5th, 2009, 01:14 PM   #11
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I'm a big fan of the Audio Technica 4053a, if you're shooting indoors. If you have it in your budget to move up to the Audio Technica 4073a for an outdoor shotgun, that'd be good too.
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Old April 16th, 2009, 06:53 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karl Tippledoson View Post
I know how to operate cameras and know a lot about video, but haven't been around audio a lot.

Thanks a million for any help you can offer!
If you want to direct then, in my opinion, the best thing you could do is concentrate on directing the performances and get knowledgeable crew to operate the kit. A good director knows what is possible, but not always how it is possible.
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Old April 16th, 2009, 11:16 AM   #13
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The AT897 is a fine mic in the under $300 price range. Though, as others have suggested, you might just want to pass the audio responsibility to someone that has their own kit and knows how to acquire great sound.

If you have the time, and if you really, really, want to do it, I'd say to start with reading or watching a few tutorials.

Some places to consider:

Amazon.com: Sound for Film and Television: Barry Green, David Jimerson, Matt Gettemeier: Movies & TV
Trew Audio: Location Audio Simplified
How-to books about Sound for Digital Filmmakers
AudioBootcamp.html
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