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Old January 29th, 2004, 05:00 PM   #1
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Scenario: outdoor "room" of people

As I try to anticipate what my needs will be on location, I'm curious how people would recommend getting the following:

Upstairs all wood deck/room with no walls (in the mnts.) with people seated on cheap metal chairs, in lecture style rows, listening to a speaker. The bravest among them will then be asking questions of the speaker when he/she finishes.

I've gone around in circles with budget constraints, and what to do if it's just me, or two of us, etc. Think at this point I'll have the speaker on a wireless lav, and if I have someone to handle a boom, they can move in on the audience as needed with my ME66. But w/o anyone else to help me, I think maybe I should have them pass around a handheld wireless when they want to speak. But is there any point to putting my ME66 on a boom as well (if so, how high?) in the center of the audience to try and pick up the comments that seem to rumble through those not offically asking/commenting? I've considered getting the ME64 for interviewing people in the dinner line as I've been told it's better at getting more than one person at one time. Would it pick up a wider swath of the voices seated in the above scenario as well if it were overhead instead? Other mic suggestions? I was just thinking ME64 since I have the power module (for the 66) already.

Any and all comments most appreciated.
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Old January 29th, 2004, 07:29 PM   #2
 
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Given the gear you've got, you should be alright. Question on the boom op is if they know what they are doing. Wearing headphones is pretty critical for them to do the job right, hearing what's being picked up.
The 64 is great, but bigger problem is...people talking before the mic is in the right place, handling noise, and dynamics. They could easily blow you out of the water, or be so quiet that you only hear the hum of the lights.
Try to find a boom op for optimum scenario.
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Old January 31st, 2004, 11:10 AM   #3
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So the 64 would indeed be better for this job than the ME66? And if I don't have a boom operator, how high above the center of the room should I perch the mic on the boom (or will attempting to pick stuff up that way be a wash)?

You're gonna get tired of hearing from me, Douglas. ;-)
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Old January 31st, 2004, 11:22 AM   #4
 
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No, I think the 66 would be better, with an operator. Without an operator on the boom, neither mic would be recommended (by me anyway)
I'd find a cheap, high sensitivity omni mic and put it in the middle of the room if you don't have an operator. The 64 won't do much good at distance, and the 66 will reject most everthing that's not fairly direct in it's path. Since people will apparently be speaking from all over the room, your choices are that people go to a central point to ask questions, or you try to cover the room with one mic. The only way to cover a room with one mic is to use a sensitive omni.
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Old January 31st, 2004, 12:10 PM   #5
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An omni likt the ATM10A,

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=NavBar&A=getItemDetail&Q=&sku=68217&is=REG&si=feat#goto_itemInfo

or the ME62? Out of curiousity, when would you use the 64? Or would you even? Someone told me that I should pick that one up for my office type interviews, as the 66 is distorted by walls and rooms with little in the way of carpet or curtains. But if I can only afford one more mic to compliment the ME66 at this time (I'm also shelling out for a Samson wireless lav setup), would you skip the 64 altogether and go with an Omni like the 62 or the above AT?
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Old January 31st, 2004, 12:26 PM   #6
 
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I've got experience with the ATM10a, but none with the Sennheiser 62, so can't accurately comment there. I'm not a fan of the lower end Sennheiser, I don't feel they are as good for the $$ as other mics in the same category. And I have to admit I'm very partial to AT mics. I've done very, very well with their products. (no, I don't work for, nor am I an endorsee of Audio Technica)
I like the ATM10, I've got one. For the price, it's a darn hard mic to beat. There's one on Ebay as a new mic now.
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3700736153&category=15198
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Old January 31st, 2004, 12:57 PM   #7
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Because I'm still audio illiterate, what is the difference between these types of microphones? How would they differ in usage?

ATM10a -- Omni-Directional Condenser

Shure M58 -- Cardoid Dynamic
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Old January 31st, 2004, 03:13 PM   #8
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Best to read this tutorial over, at least the discusion of patterns and microphone types.

http://www.kenstone.net/fcp_homepage/location_sound.html#link%20two
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Old January 31st, 2004, 05:37 PM   #9
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Oh yes, I now recall that online reference--just what I'm looking for--thanks.
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Old January 31st, 2004, 08:01 PM   #10
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They do it so much better than I could.
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Old January 31st, 2004, 08:04 PM   #11
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As usual, there's no perfect solution, there will be a trade off somewhere. If I were setting this up, I would try the ME64 at the front of the "room" on a tall stand pointing slightly downward at the middle of the people. Will this be distant? Yes. Is this less than ideal? Yes. Is it better than having an omni in the middle of the room? In my opinion yes. I'd always rather have a directional mic on-axis in front of people rather than an omni that will be behind some of the people. Since you should have good acoustics in this setting, except perhaps for the wind, I think you'll be able to use a very sensitive mic like the ME64 and make adjustments in post that will be satisfactory.
I like the ATM-10 too, I have one, but I think the greater sensitivity and lower noise of the ME62 or the cardioid ME64 will be better for this situation if there is no boom op for your ME66.
Other choices that might work are the AT3031 or a single Rode NT5.
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Old January 31st, 2004, 08:07 PM   #12
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I favor a Shure Beta58 (it's what I've got, no wonder there) with a plug-on transmitter for handing around. They cannot break it if they drop it and they cannot overload it with loud voices and it wonderfully ignores the room buzz. Put a foam cube (TV Flag) up under the head and a sign that says, 'talk to me.'

I have a Sennheiser integrated wireless microphone and it works too but it is a bit more sensitive to handling noise and is quite large for small hands to grasp.

But I can use two hand-held microphones with the plug-on and the integrated. That way an assistant can 'chose' the next person in the audience and give them the microphone so they are ready when the present Q&A is complete.
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Old February 1st, 2004, 10:26 AM   #13
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Okay guys, obviously I know very little about audio (I apologize for my ignorance and beg for patience), so here's a couple questions about what you've brought up:

Jay, neither the AT3031 nor the Rode NT5 are wireless, correct? Do you get a stronger/more reliable signal when they're hard wired in? The Rode NT5 lists for $699, but at B & H you can get a kit with two of them for $299. I'm thinking that these mounted on one stand, at the front of the room, each angled off in a slightly diff direction, might be a solid way to go. Presumeably they'd provide greater coverage than a single ME62/62/66. I just hate having cords around for people to potentially trip over, but I can tape 'em to the floor. Do they need a lot of current to power? Current up there is in short supply.

Mike, since I've never worked with a setup like you describe, can you paint a picture for me as to what a "foam cube (TV Flag) up under the head and a sign that says, 'talk to me' looks like"? I get the "sign" part, ;-) just not the "where" as in where to put it, or what a foam cube is. Also, reading this B & H link...

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=NavBar&A=getItemDetail&Q=&sku=247246&is=REG&si=feat#goto_itemInfo

I get the idea that this is a complete package (like the ME66/K6), but what wireless transmitter/brand do you use and where does it "plug-on?" I assume it's onto the bottom, but do you have a picture/link? I had been considering the Samson wireless Airline kit with the handheld mic option, but this looks like a much higher quality mic. Just want to know what all the "parts" are that I need.

Thanks again guys. You really have been great at helping out.
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Old February 1st, 2004, 11:06 AM   #14
 
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Wired is ALWAYS better than wireless. For signal integrity, for reliability, for ease of setup and use. But it also means you've got potential for spaghetti.
The foam cubes are actually called "flags" and an excellent resource is http://www.mikeflags.com/
You can buy a blank one and label it yourself.
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Old February 1st, 2004, 03:27 PM   #15
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The 3031 and the NT5 are both normally wired mics and they require phantom power, but that isn't too hard to supply from the proper camera, or a mixer or a battery phantom supply.
If you don't have phantom power, then the ME64 would probably be your best bet in a wired mic for this situation since your K6 can run on a single AA battery.
As DSE said, wired is your best bet unless you decide to have a mic to pass around the crowd. In that case you'd really have to go wireless. A "plug-on" transmitter fits onto the XLR connector in the base of the mic. You've probably seen these black rectangular boxes on the bottom of mics on news reports from field reporters.
Back to the NT5, it's normally sold only in a stereo pair, but for this situation I'd use just one of them. The cardioid pattern should give plenty of coverage across the front.
Remind me again whether you have phantom power or not?
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