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Old March 29th, 2004, 09:21 AM   #1
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Best Boom Microphone

I am going to be shooting my first "short" film and was planning on using a shotgun microphone on a boom pole, but lately I have started to think this might not be the best mic for this application.

I have not purchased a mic for this yet, what would be the best type of microphone for this? Keep in mind that this whole project has a next to nothing budget.

Thanks for your help
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Old March 29th, 2004, 11:48 AM   #2
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Here's some excellent reading
http://www.schoeps.de/E/select-guideline.html

Tell us more about your plans and what camera you'll be using.

There is some usable info on several current threads. Give them all a read.
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Old March 29th, 2004, 12:26 PM   #3
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You original thinking is right on, Jeff: for best all around use, you can't beat a shotgun mic on a boom pole for recording dialogue. The motion picture industry favorite is the Sennheiser 416, but that will set you back a thousand bucks just for the mic. However, that same mic will only cost $80 to rent for a week, which is what I would suggest. Add in some cable, a boom pole, softie, and you are good to go for about $200.00 for the week. You should also include a decent headset if you don't already own one.

Here are a couple of rental companies that you could contact to discuss out of town rentals on the Left Coast:
www.equipmentemporium.com (with some great online info)
www.locationsound.com

Rentals are always a great way to go to learn about different gear so you can make an intelligent purchase decision in the future, while saving a couple of bucks.
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Old March 29th, 2004, 12:39 PM   #4
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Thanks guys. It's too bad their isn't really a rental shop in my city. I did call a video rental place and all they had was a ME66. Is this an OK mic for this purpose?
The only other place in my city is a guitar/music shop and I am not sure they could help me out much.

I will be using a Sony DCR-TRV38 with a Beachtek XLR adapter.
PS, 80% of the short will be shot outside on battery power.

Here is what I currently have:
1 Sennheiser Evolution 112 Wireless lav
1 Sony WSC-990 Wireless Lav
2 Sony MS-908C microphones
1 Shure BG-1 Handheld Dynamic Mic.

I don't really think anything I have right now will cut it.
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Old March 29th, 2004, 12:57 PM   #5
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That ME66 will be OK (not great), but I would forget the rest of your gear, except for emergency situations. The idea with using a boom for the vast majority of your sound recording is to give a uniform sound quality to your piece, so you don't end up trying to EQ dialogue in post to make it all sound the same. But sometimes you simply cannot use a boom. For instance, you want to record two people walking and talking from a distance with a long lens. Perfect opportunity to use a couple of wireless mics. But they should sound the same, and you won't have a problem since the entire scene is done with the same mics. But throw a boom mic into the scene, and you have an entirely different quality to the sound.

Don't be afraid to contact an out of town company about renting gear. Your credit card carries a lot of clout, and they want business.
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Old March 30th, 2004, 08:01 AM   #6
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For some really good research on what the audio pros use google two of the usergroups. rec . arts . movies . production . sound and rec . audio . production. On these threads you'll find Jay Rose, John Garret, Jeff Wexler, Ty Ford, Scott Dorsey , Glen Trew and even our new member Marty Atias These people are all professionals and cover the range from Mixer, Boom operator to Audio supplier. it's a phenominal resource.

Most of these gentlemen only use a shotgun as a last resort

There's a portal to RAMPS on http://www.trewaudio.com/frames/ramps.htm
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Old March 30th, 2004, 08:12 PM   #7
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Whoa! Mea culpa, Bryan. I mistakenly refered to the 416 as a "shotgun" mic, which it is not. However, it is a directional mic, and the mic most used in production in Hollywood. I double checked my advice today with a few audio people on the lot at Warner Bros., and they all agreed with what I suggested to Jeff: the 416 on a boom is the best way to record dialogue, in most cases.

And since Bryan brought up Jay Rose, I have a bone to pick with him. His book, "Producing Great Sound for Digital Video," in my opinion, is a poor choice for someone looking for information on recording sound on location. My major complaint is that it appears Mr. Rose's area of expertise in audio is post-production, rather than field recording. Hence, out of three hundred, fifty pages, about twenty are actually devoted to real world production techniques for novices. Yeah, yeah, I know, they sold a truckload of this book. Unfortunately, it is pretty easy to make a quick buck today if you write a book and include "digital video" in the title. Just a heads-up to anyone looking for a beginner's guide to audio. BTW, you can find a lot of great FREE information on audio at the equipment emporium site I mentioned earlier. And I am sure you can find lots of good information on the sites Bryan mentioned as well.

Wayne
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Old March 30th, 2004, 08:31 PM   #8
 
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While the 416 isn't a boom, it's an extremely common mic, no doubt, on the Hollywood lots. Does that mean it's "best?" I don't think so.
I also have to caution you on your comments about Jay Rose. Jay has forgotten more about audio than most folks know. He might not be everything in every situation, but he does know sound. Regardless of the source of the recording, I assure you, Jay has worked with it at some point or other.
It may be that Jay chose to focus on post-pro rather than field, because as an author of several books myself, trust me when I say that writers aren't given carte blanche with regards to page count.
You are certainly welcome to your opinion, but realize that your opinion may not be totally founded on complete information. Jay is a legend and icon in the industry not because he wrote a book that says "DV" in it, but because he was producing great sound before "Digital" and "Video" were words in combination.
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Old March 30th, 2004, 09:23 PM   #9
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I don't think I even agree that the book focuses mostly on post production. He covers a lot of ground, from the nature of sound waves and how they react to reflective surfaces to the characteristics of digital and analog waveforms, and basic lessons on electronics. Sure he doesn't tell you to put a mic here in situations A, B, and C, but I think his overall goal is to give people a broad overview of sound so they can experiment and find their way themselves. I'm sorry to continue leading this post off-topic, but it would really be a shame if someone passed over this book because of Wayne's comments. Not trying to start any fights Wayne. You've been very helpful to a lot of people in here, including me, but that's how I feel.

Back on topic, I too would like to know what mics people use most of the time. Shotguns are supposed to have a real problem with echos in interior settings, but nobody ever seems to suggest a good alternative. What should you use, provided the neighbor isn't mowing his lawn, an omni? Lavs are a real hassle.
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Old March 30th, 2004, 11:40 PM   #10
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The people I refrenced all have professional status in audio engineering. They get nothing back except the good feelings from helping others. The links I included portray the current trend towards hypercardoid rather than short shotgun.

Without people like Douglas , Jay Rose, Jeff Wexler and orthers we'd be sadly lacking. These people giveof themselves freely with no real recompense other than the good feeling they get from helping others. We can't abuse their trust .

Douglas is a busy man yet makes time for the Forum. This is a labor of love I can assure you.
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Old March 31st, 2004, 09:35 AM   #11
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Microphones mounted on a boom pole are favored over lavaliere mics mainly because
1. they eliminate the wireless link which is a weak link, and
2. because lav's have a higher noise factor and are usually omnidirectional.

The mic you choose to use on your pole depends on the particular situation. Medium length shotgun mics like the MKH416 (yes, it is) and others are a good choise for exteriors. For inside work, a cardioid, hypercardiid or short shotgun mic will pick up less ambiance and room reflections.

The ME66 is a low-end but often used self powered medium shotgun mic. It does not require phantom power.

The 416 is an older standard mic but requires a good low-cut filter. I like the Sanken CS3e personally. I would also recommend the Audio Techica 4071a.

Short shotgun mics to consider would be the Audio Technica 4073a, and the Sanken CS-1.

You will also need a good shock mount for the mic and a good windscreen. Foam is only good indoors. Outdoors, you'll need fur.

You should be able to find these available for rent at Trew Audio in Nashville, Coffey Sound or Location Sound in L.A., or Film Video Equipment Services in Denver - just to name a few.
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Old March 31st, 2004, 05:37 PM   #12
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There has been alot written about the use of cardoid and hypercardoids as boom mics. The ongoing saga of the Oktava MC012 with the Hypercardoid or cardoid capsule is allover this forum. other mics include the Rode NT3, NT5. AT 4053a and the creme de la creme the Sennheiser MKH50 or Schoeps MK41.

There are some links and some audio clips of the various mics at http://www.dvfreelancer.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=12&sid=5c061c4056e0b3f47473447790200095
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Old April 1st, 2004, 01:09 PM   #13
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Excuse me, but do you folks remember the original question? Jeff wants to know what is the best way to record sound for his first short film. I still stick with my advice that a good quality mic, such as the 416 on a fishpole. is his best choice for most situations.

To Douglas, thanks for taking time out of your "busy" schedule to chide me. Too bad you didn't make the time to respond to Jeff's original question, which you still haven't done. And if the 416 isn't the "best" mic for this situation, then what is? And would that be the absolute truth, or just your opinion? BTW, I stand by my opinion of Jay Rose's book. As you note, it is my opinion, and I am entitiled to it.

To Marco, it would also be a shame if someone spent their hard-earned forty dollars thinking they were buying a book that would answer their many questions about recording sound for their first short film, only to find a mere twenty pages dealing with actual dialogue recording techniques. There are plenty of reviews lauding this book. I just happen to have a contrary opinion, and feel its worth noting. No offense taken, Marco.

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Old April 1st, 2004, 02:07 PM   #14
 
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Well Wayne, since I'm not there, on that location, and don't know what all Jeff has, I can't say what is "best" any more than anyone else can. However, I'd prefer to use a short shotgun if it's a bouncy/reflective room, I'd use a lav if I've got talent that can manage it, I'd use even an 845 in some situations. I'm also now playing quite a lot with one of AT's handhelds designed for stage, but finding it great for this too. Or I'd throw in my BK 4011 which is great for this sort of work. Since Jeff doesn't mention the specific shooting space(s) it's not possible to definitively answer his question. Or, he could go buy a John Hardy pre, a great lav, and any number of high end mics, and end up with cruddy sound for not knowing how to use it.

Certainly didn't mean a chide in there, but rather wanting to point out that authors don't totally control what ends up in paper. Jay knows his stuff. Those two things are not really open to debate. The rest is certainly opinion and that's what the community is here for.
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Old April 1st, 2004, 07:45 PM   #15
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"The rest is certainly opinion and that's what the community is here for."

Amen to that, Douglas. I am certainly no expert on audio, but I have worked professionally as a camera operator for many years, and I have observed the way many people in the different departments do things, and if I feel I can pass along some of what I have observed for the benefit of the members of this community (and others) I am happy to do so. But I never pretend that what I have to say should be taken as the final word.

You don't work for twenty years alongside people of the caliber of an Ed Greene and not learn anything about what they do. And if you don't know who Ed Greene is, you don't know audio.

Best wishes.


Wayne Orr
(who has never written a book, but has read quite a few)
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