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Old February 12th, 2004, 11:46 AM   #1
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Help with weird mic situation

Okay, this is a weird question, but Iím hoping someone can answer it. I need to record an audio track that reproduces the stereo image that people normally hear. In other words, from the viewpoint of the camera, it should sound exactly as if they are in the room hearing things for themselves. I wonít go into why this is so important, but itís critical for this project. Iím not looking for a fancy surround sound setup or anything, Iím thinking maybe a couple of mics can be attached to either side of an actorís head as he goes through the scene. It doesnít matter if the mics are visible, but they shouldnít encumber movement. My first thought was to tape a couple of lavs to either side of his head, with the tip of the microphone just over the ear canal. The mics would plug into a minidisc recorder so he could walk around freely holding the camera. Does this sound like it would work? What lavs would be best for this? Unlike most situations where you use a lav, I need to pick up audio from across the room as well from the actor wearing the mics. Would it be better to use a couple of omnis taped to the shoulders or something? Boundary mics? A single stereo mic on his chest? Any suggestions on how to accomplish this admittedly peculiar problem would be appreciated. As I said before, it canít just be stereo, it needs to sound as real as possible.
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Old February 12th, 2004, 11:50 AM   #2
 
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There are any number of Binaural mics/Dummy heads available, this is the only 'real' way to do this, but it's expensive no matter what you do.
You could indeed set a pair of lavs in the actors ears, that would be approximate, but not exactly the same.
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Old February 12th, 2004, 12:15 PM   #3
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Yeah, I've seen those dummy heads. I believe Neuman makes one. The problem is, the sound needs to be recorded from the actor's perspective as he moves around in a number of outdoor and indoor situations. I wouldn't be able to just place the head on a table in the middle of a room or anything. He also needs to interact with other people, so he couldn't just carry the head around either. Would Countryman lavs work well if I taped them to the sides of his head, or are there other, cheaper lavs that would better? As I said, it doesn't matter if they are visible, and I need to pick up conversations that will sometimes be on the other side of the room.
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Old February 12th, 2004, 12:24 PM   #4
 
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In the one time I did this for a videogame company, we used Mini-Mag flashlight headsets to hold AT 831's to the actor's head. It worked pretty well. We used an MD recorder, and it was all good.
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Old February 12th, 2004, 12:45 PM   #5
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Excellent! Thanks, that's just the type of advice I was looking for. Is this the microphone you're referring to? I find a bunch listed at B&H with different letters after the 831. Are they all the same except for the connectors?

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=NavBar&A=getItemDetail&Q=&sku=77089&is=REG&si=spec#goto_itemInfo
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Old February 12th, 2004, 01:06 PM   #6
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You may also want to look at www.soundprofessionals.com for stereo headworn gear like you're describing. I can't comment on their quality (I haven't used it), but they probably have something ready-made that would do what you're asking.
I think it will be a stretch to pick up good quality conversation from more than 6 to 8 feet though. After that distance, ambient sound and any room reverb will intrude noticeably.
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Old February 12th, 2004, 03:13 PM   #7
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What system are you going to be playing it back on? Putting microphones in your ear or close to it will work well if the audience is listening on headphones, but for speakers it may not work so well. The stereo image will be different, and the speakers probably won't have the dynamic range of headphones, and there's noise is the room which will hide quiet sounds.

You might also want to consider layering/creating the sound in post. Paradoxically, this can sound more real to your audience. For example, Hollywood gunshots sound a lot more than real gunshots. Same thing with car crashes.

Here's some info I've seen regarding binaural recordings:

Quote:
{46} What microphones are available to do binaural recordings?

Both Core Sound and Sonic Studios offer a range of miniature microphones
that mount near your ears and are suitable for binaural recordings.

For binaural recording purists, Core Sound offer a set of in-ear
microphones that mount in your ear canals using custom made ear molds.
[lm]

================

{47} I've heard that binaural recording are supposed to be listened
to over headphones. How do they sound over speakers?

They sound good but different. Because binaural microphones have nominally
omnidirectional pickup patterns, you get roughly the same effect as a
spaced-omni microphone setup. But because the microphone spacing is a bit
narrow (7 to 9 inches instead of the more typical 24 to 36 inches) the
stereo image may sound a bit compressed.

Some binaural microphones can be conveniently used with wider spacings.
These provide the usual spaced-omni performance. [lm]
http://www.harmony-central.com/Other/mic-faq.txt
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