I'm starting to dislike shotguns. What's up with them? at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > All Things Audio

All Things Audio
Everything Audio, from acquisition to postproduction.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old January 3rd, 2004, 10:58 AM   #1
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
Posts: 936
I'm starting to dislike shotguns. What's up with them?

I have a buddy on dvinfo that started a mental revolution for my perception of mics. One month ago I finally decided to chance replacing my me66/k6 with a supposedly much better short shotgun, an at4073a...

I wasn't satisfied with the me66 for it's dry and unflattering sound. Very cold and technical. Well, I received the at4073a and I'm trying to convince myself to keep it, but it's getting harder. My biggest problem is finding a situation where it CLEARLY outperforms a small cardioid or super cardioid... such as an Oktava mc012...

The at4073a is MUCH more flattering to the voice then the me66 was... but still a fair bit LESS flattering then the Oktava... which was about ONE TENTH the price.

About the only area that I see shotguns as the clear winners is in sensitivity? If you have a decent mic pre or mixer you can gain that up though... also I haven't found the cardioids and super cardioids to be that much worse at attenuating off axis sounds... so what's up? Am I missing something?

All this has turned my 3 years of shooting on it's ear... Does an mkh416 or mkh60 sound A LOT warmer and more flattering to voice? If so then why is that never mentioned? Sure people say how well a mic like that CAPTURES the sound in an environment, but what of that sound's CHARACTER? I hear people say how much better a particular mic is and then they follow it up with, "but the differences are negligible with DV"... Jay Rose does this all the time by implying that with mini-DV we won't appreciate the difference between an AT4073a and an mkh416...

If an mkh416 sounds like a cardioid as far as vocal character, then *NO!*, it is NOT negligible... I feel like I've been told not to worry because my mics are representing the violin clearly, and I can hear all the strings... meanwhile it's a CELLO we've been recording and a different mic will bear that fact out.

What am I missing? Why do I even need a SHORT shotgun instead of JUST the cardioid?

I'm hoping one of the pros on this board will clear this up for me. If you're reading this and you're an established pro then why would you use a mic such as an at4073a instead of a cardioid/super cardioid with much more pleasing character?
Matt Gettemeier is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 3rd, 2004, 01:21 PM   #2
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Barcelona
Posts: 312
Iīm certainly not a pro... nor an expert but here it goes for what itīs worth:

I had a teacher back in Film School.. who is some kind of weird Old Timer Guru, and itīs suppossed to be one of the best in his field.... (acoustic engineer or something like that), Worked with Pink Floyd, and Orchestras.. etc...

Anyway.. he usually said that human voice over Shotguns are not the best combo, that just because of their physical shape they tend to give that "cold-tubed" sound... He also explained other stuff but I donīt remember it. But we did a few tests with expensive shotguns versus not-so-expensive mics... and the difference was very noticeable.
You can get further away with the shotgun... but you also loose "warmth" in the voice.

He allways told us to avoid Shotguns where possible... (controled envoriments), and leave the Shotguns for uncontrolled ourdoors. Where possible, use more "voice-friendly" mics.

I guess that most people use Shotguns because they can be more versatile than specifically voice mics, and probably have a better "price-return-value" relation...

In my Cheap case.. (I use the Azden SGM-2X) I do like very much more the sound of voice when using itīs Omni barrel, than itīs Hypercardiod barrel.
__________________
Messenger Boy : The Thessalonian you're fighting, he's the biggest man I've ever seen. I wouldn't want to fight him.
Achilles : That is why no one will remember your name.
Federico Dib is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 3rd, 2004, 02:24 PM   #3
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: israel
Posts: 296
look if you shot with one lense ,what lense you will pick- midium long ,one that you can be wery specific on the subject and if you dont have enouth angle you are going back, if you are reech enougth , you buy another one , and another one and another one . the mikes are the same , if you want qualaty for your work you pick up the right mike for each situation -thats in perfect world . in real world you are going to the shop and heare that full mike setup will cost you at least as your camera and you are doing a compromise ,you are buing the" long lense".
for normal documentary work i use shotguns outside and hiper cardioids inside, its almost 90% of boom work, but in spesial okations you need the other 10 %.
Oleg Kaizerman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 3rd, 2004, 03:58 PM   #4
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
Posts: 936
I appreciate the responses... but I would like to re-iterate for anyone else that would like to add something.

My question is regarding SHORT shotguns vs. cardioid mics... I guess I'm mainly discussing indoor situations. I understand the value of LONG guns outdoors.

Jay Rose really shut me up on this issue on dv.com

I LOVED his answer because it makes a lot of sense. Now to put the proof in the pudding I'll have to see if this bears fruit.

In house, on quiet location, utilizing controlled circumstances. THAT'S what I had in mind when I asked this. And that is why I'm still wanting some additional input. Jay instantly mentioned the Schoeps MK41 (hyper-cardioid) as the STANDARD for real film-making. I'm sure he was referring to situations where there is a controlled set. Why didn't he mention the mkh416 or mkh60 or Neumann kmr81i...?

I guess I can see the need for a short shotgun in a noisy environment where you need short range capture. I imagine that a CS1 or AT4073a would be good on-camera in an area full of people, especially when you need to mainly hear ONE or TWO individuals and you don't have a newsmic... so is that it?

Boy I don't know? I'm still struggling with the purpose of a short shotgun... I wish I wasn't... because I really anticipated the AT4073a and I really want to like it... but my kit is mainly comprised of stuff that I feel I really need... like a well thought out tool box w/o many "luxury" items.

I hate to fluff it with an expensive mic that's just a tad better at special situations.

If it's not REALLY better I'd rather get a good boom pole or else exchange it for the AT4071a... l o n g shot.

I should add that I have 8 mics total already... half of them lavs, so it's not like I haven't had experience with mics, and I'm not asking for a "one size fits all" solution... I just want to know why I should choose a SHORT SHOTGUN over a good cardioid or super cardioid mic.
Matt Gettemeier is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 3rd, 2004, 06:30 PM   #5
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 173
You should read Schoeps answer to this question, obviously this is their party line. It is still a well reasoned argument.

http://www.schoeps.de/E/overview-mic-types.html#shotgun

I think the mk41 is used outside more often than you might guess.
Martin Garrison is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 3rd, 2004, 07:17 PM   #6
Trustee
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Barrie, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 1,922
Everyone has basically said the same thing. In an ideal world a really good cardoid or hypercardoid is best. As the ambient noise level increases we get to the point that the off axis colouration of the short shotgun is better than a sharp stick in the eye.

Many of us have started into DV and instantly loathed the on board mic. We settle for what we are told is the best compromise, and for the most part is is the best for all around applications, a lot of people aren't interested in a stable of mics. (gaggle, herd, brace ?????)

Now we start to spend more money on mics and audio gear than we did on the camera and everything changes. Spome people say "that enuff of this horse poop" and settle for the one shotgun, a lav and maybe a dynamic. Then Nutbars like myself, Dave, Matt and countless others take the hook just like Charlie Tuna.

I think that a short shotgun is a necessity some of the time but not as often as we might think.

It's all in what we will accept. At a recent function I was there with my gear taking great care to the very best audio and video that I could. There was another fellow covering event and I admire his technique. He had a drink in one hand and his Hi-8 in the other. He was actually drinking at the same time he was shooting. maybe I've got it all wrong.
Bryan Beasleigh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 4th, 2004, 01:02 AM   #7
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 173
I think the nature of the product is also an important consideration. If your shooting for news, or a once in a lifetime event, or a rare interview for a documentary and you can neither choose or treat your location. It's probably a good time for a shotgun. What you get may not sound warm and inticing, the off-axis coloration of the mic may be totally obvious, but hey you can understand everything your subject says even though your forty yards from a busy highway. The increased attentuation of off-axis sounds as they go above 1KHz is definetly going to seperate voice from background sound.

On the otherhand, if your working on a narrative film, or a staged tv production, then these trade offs probably don't make much sense. Your better off using a mic with even off-axis attentuation and treating the room, or picking locations where the dialogue is going to sound right. In this case the viewer is going to know there s a highway behind you and wonder why it sounds like it is under water.
Martin Garrison is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 4th, 2004, 04:15 AM   #8
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: israel
Posts: 296
<<<-- Originally posted by Martin Garrison : You should read Schoeps answer to this question, obviously this is their party line. It is still a well reasoned argument.

http://www.schoeps.de/E/overview-mic-types.html#shotgun

I think the mk41 is used outside more often than you might guess. -->>>


all the mikes are complitly omny in lows ,but some of them have bettr side regection in the midle section that consist alot of anplesent sound on the street, there is nosuch a thing as plesent voice recording mike that make your voice wormer ,thats a mike that colorate your sound .
i work with mikes that have as minimum coloration and the post is changing the color for the best for them
i prefer sanken cs-3e that much flattish to" worm " sound of the 416 .
for hard extirial shots the 41 or 4 complitly not use friendly,
of corse if you shooting close ups only is a good choice.
check ones tha gang bang around some politision that coming from cort house after his trail , hoW many hipers there and how much shotguns:-)
Oleg Kaizerman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 4th, 2004, 08:44 AM   #9
Trustee
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Posts: 1,137
What mic type?

Matt,

This is really a very tricky question, as there are many factors involved.

Perhaps Jay Rose comment, which I did not read and I am just quoting as you remember it, was a bit unfair. I do think you may hear the difference between a 4073 and a 416 in DV if you listen to it on a "proper" audio setup. The machines are certainly capable to pick the difference, some more than others.

There is a lot in the audio chain until you get to listen to the mic sound, and they may get things complicated.

First of all the camera preamp, which on Panasonic's new cameras seems to be good as well as on the new Sony PD170 and VX2100. It was quite poor on other DV cameras.

Then comes how you will process that audio in your NLE and if the mix will be properly done. And how will you screen it all? What speakers will be used to view the final video?

So first of all tell me where are you saying your dislike for shotguns applies? Direct on the camera? What headphone are you using? Are you using a mixer or preamp to go in?

After that comes the quality of the sound you prefer. Shorter hypercardioids, like some Oktava, Schoeps and Sanken types, are picking more ambience sound and the audio may sound "warmer". Some places are better suited for such mics, particularly less ressonant places.

Pro location audio engineers tend to use different mics for each situation, and for that they pick a 416 on some places, a Neumann on others and a Schoeps on another. Usually they are reinforced with lapel/wireless mics that are mixed to get the sound they want. Intelligibility is the primary concern and then audio quality.

So maybe you should try to think of your audio as a chain and see which tool will get you the sound you want at the end. But those characteristics I mentioned, intelligibility and audio quality, in that order, should be the parameters for you to pay attention to. If a dialogue is too warm it may make understanding it more difficult, or maybe you can perfectly understand what is said but sounds dry and lifeless.

Headphones do not help much in judging audio quality on location, and only large electrostatic headphones might help there. So sometimes it's better to cut some reverberation and record everything flat, with little or no equalization. Leave that for the editing.

What does really help and may be the key to a successful location audio is good miking, and for that you will need an audio person. I might say this is more important than whether you record with a Sennheiser, an Oktava, a Schoeps or a Neumann.

Let's hope you can follow this thinking approach of mine.


Carlos E. Martinez
Carlos E. Martinez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 4th, 2004, 01:03 PM   #10
Trustee
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Barrie, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 1,922
If it's a reasonable "chain" as you put it and a direct comparison, if you don't like the tonal qualities of the mic then that's game over.

I listen to mics on my marantz pmd670 as well as my 302 mixer. The traits that i either dislike or like follow the mic. I would hardly call the procedures that some of the supposed golden ears use scientific.

Keeping it at it's most basic component, "If I don't like the sound then I don't want the mic". That's very simple and to the point.

I've listened to the examples that Matt and Dave have recorded and their recordings follow my findings . Their voicers and example are different, which is good but the results are the same.

Lets not make this some magical science.

By the way, i listen to the clips on Sony 7506 phones and yorkville monitors. Even when i use my AKG 271's the sound may be slightly different but it doesn't change my judgement.
Bryan Beasleigh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 4th, 2004, 02:25 PM   #11
Trustee
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Posts: 1,727
Hey guys. Are these clips somewhere where we can all get to them. It sounds like they'd be helpful to many people.

Cheers
Aaron
__________________
My Website
Meat Free Media
Aaron Koolen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 4th, 2004, 06:43 PM   #12
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
Posts: 936
Just to define where I'm coming from:

I do NOT have a mixer OR mic pre... All my judgements have been done by capturing audio directly into a DVX. The DVX has very good inputs/pre for a camcorder, but I'm sure they're inferior to the Marantz digital and others... I monitor that sound on a pair of 7506's and then I edit on a PC with Audigy II Platinum sound card... (wish I'd have gotten a Terratec, but this 'aint bad)... I don't use high-end studio monitors to play back my videos when I edit. I have Cambridge 5:1 but use it as a quad system w/ sub. On my system, Canopus RT, I have realtime output to a Toshiba 14" flatscreen stereo monitor with the standard 3" speakers... I chose that intentionally because when I started doing videos seriously a few years ago I found that my videos never sounded that good on "regular systems"...

I think that about sums it up. Clearly I'm not a "pro", but I've also graduated from being an amature years ago.

I guess I'm mainly just using my ears as Beas and Dave are saying. If you get over to dv.com you can see how Jay Rose pretty effectively defined the point of shotguns. Like I said, he shut me up... except that I still question the value of SHORT SHOTGUNS... also I need to add that Jay NEVER said we can't hear the difference between mics such as the mkh416 and an at4073a... He IMPLYS that with mini-dv that we won't APPRECIATE the differences. I don't want to slander the guy.

If you'd told me any of this a month ago I'd have told you to take your crazy ass away from me... but listening sure tells you a lot... and the more I listen, the more I don't get it... as far as short shotguns go.

I've spent 2 days of marathon testing an Oktava that I got from Guitar Center up against an At4073a that I got from B&H... The 4073 was TEN TIMES the price... I guess the shotgun would be far better suited to outdoor use, but then why wouldn't I just use an At4071a?
Matt Gettemeier is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 4th, 2004, 08:24 PM   #13
Trustee
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Posts: 1,727
Matt, been looking at your posts on dv.com also and are you only worried about why one would choose a short shotgun over a long shotgun?

Now I'm far from a pro, but the obvious things would be (apart from that fact you might like the sound of one brand over another)

Price - Shorties seem cheaper

Directionality - longs are more directional (at the cost of colouration of course)

Length - If you need the qualities of a shotgun but need to camera mount, then a long one's gonna be a pain in the arse.

Wind - Long shotguns are more sensitive to noise.

Maybe I misunderstood what you're getting at.

Aaron
__________________
My Website
Meat Free Media
Aaron Koolen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 4th, 2004, 08:49 PM   #14
Outer Circle
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Hope, BC
Posts: 7,527
Matt, I know where you're coming from. I'm looking for a good shotgun type non-zoom stereo mic (since I was told that there isn't any good stereo zoom mics) which is somewhere in-between cardioid and supercardioid but more so cardioid which ain't gonna break the bank, so I would assume it would be shaped like a stubby shotgun. We aren't all broadcast engineers here, just simple shooters who are trying to make a wise choice in way of bettering existing in-camera audio, such as myself. :-))
Frank Granovski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 4th, 2004, 08:54 PM   #15
Trustee
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Barrie, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 1,922
The point of it is, we are enjoying ourselves and expanding our outlook. I tried to explain how things started with me in a previous post.
I wasn't happy with the onboard mic.
i bought an AT 835 and didn't like that
returned it and got a Senneheiser ME66
Didn;t like the sennheiser in confined areas.
Bought a ECM44 Lav
needed a hand held dynamic for interview purpose in loud ambients bought an AKG D230

I felt restricted without phantom and mic pre's- bought a 302 mixer.

Aaron it's an evolutionary thing. I wanted to mice several people indoors and didn't want to use lavs. i also wanted to learn and grow. i bought a set of Oktava's with all of the capsules.

I really don't care if anyone else can hear the difference. i can and so can Matt , Dave and a whole bunch of others. A fisherman doesn't always use the same rod , reel or lure all the time.

Like the man said "Sound is 70% of the picture"

Some people p!ss there money away at the bar or on fishing trips, i do DV and I enjoy it.


All i can say is when i kick the bucket and wind up in that big toolbox, my wife will have one hell of a garage sale.
Bryan Beasleigh is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > All Things Audio

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:07 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network