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Old May 3rd, 2004, 09:33 AM   #1
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Choice for 3rd mic to round out options

Okay guys, am coming down to the wire here. Just got back from the woods where I was checking out my primary location and going over the scenarios I can anticipate there (while obsessing over those I can't), and I was just curious about people's top 2 or three suggestions for what mic you'd add, if you were me.

Have: ME66 and 64
Am waiting for it to come in: Senn. Evo 100/G2 ENG package
Am considering: getting an omni directional mic as well, or a longer shotgun. Can't afford both.

I guess the main thing I'm wondering about is whether another mic will afford me anything I can't already do. I'm way past "out of money," or will be after the B&H order I'm about to place. ;-) The main things I'm wondering about though, are:

a) distance... how far I can be away from subject's with the 66/64 and get anything of quality... in other words, if I have to be within a foot at all times, maybe I need a longer shotgun (for ex. when they're hamming it up on the small outdoor stage... it'll either be on a boom or suspended from the 12' high pipe/canopy holder, but either way, I can't be a foot away without being way too obtrusive);

b) and with regard to picking up general kids/parents responding (in the audiences, but not specific answers) I should pick up an omni. But I'm thinking I should be able to get that moving the 64 over them on a boom, yes/no?

Thanks once again.
Marcia
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Old May 3rd, 2004, 10:08 AM   #2
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YOu haven't posted much information about what you are doing. I infer you are taping some sort of stage play in the woods?


1. Your shotgun will give you problems if the stage is at all large because the talent will walk away from its zone of coverage. It is no mistake that bandmembers and actors either use wireless lavs or handheld wired or wireless microphones. Nothing else really works very well. Consider renting a wireless lav for each main member of the cast.

Shotguns work fairly well at distances up to 5 feet. Mostly depends on the sound environment and the directionality of the microphone. I try to stay within about 3 feet with a boom or hand-held microphone.

2. To get 'room' tone, an on-camera microphone works fairly well. If you shoot from the rear of the 'auditorium,' you will get all the audience and ambience you need for most cases.
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Old May 3rd, 2004, 11:02 AM   #3
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Sorry, Mike. It's all in my head, but that doesn't help much, does it? ;-)

Quick background on the project... I'm shooting a doc in the woods, at a medical camp for kids and their families. There will be standard interior interviews (down the mnt.) that I have covered, man-on-the-street, etc. But in the woods, the two scenarios I alluded to, include:

1) an outdoor stage area (20' x 12') and an audience area (30' x 30', seated on logs). There is no cast. It's a family "talent night." Kids, parents, whoever, on stage doing whatever they've come up with. Handheld won't work in some cases, though I could put it in the hands of a kid reading a poem, or singing. And maybe if someone is playing the guitar I could stick the handheld on a boom to look like a standard stage mic setup, and not have it look too odd. But kids dash up and do skits, read poems, etc. So nothing suspended from above (hung by the overhead pole of on a boom) will more unobtrusively cover a stage that size? I was hoping, cuz they're gonna hate my interuptions, to hand them things. (I'm trying to be a "bug on the wall" as much as possible, and just observe.) But I'll do it, and they'll deal, if that's the only way to get anything of quality... which matters if this is going to have a chance to be what I envision (which isn't some in-house home movie, but a doc to send out to be seen). There's also a campfire w/ stage in another location, but what works for one should work for the other.


2) and "room tone" in nearly every scenario (apart from the dining hall) is all outdoors.

Is there a mic you can think of that I could add that would work better, w/o breaking the (already broke) bank?
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Old May 3rd, 2004, 01:45 PM   #4
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<<<-- Originally posted by Marcia Janine Galles : Sorry, Mike. It's all in my head, but that doesn't help much, does it? ;-)

Quick background on the project... I'm shooting a doc in the woods, at a medical camp for kids and their families. There will be standard interior interviews (down the mnt.) that I have covered, man-on-the-street, etc. But in the woods, the two scenarios I alluded to, include:

1) an outdoor stage area (20' x 12') and an audience area (30' x 30', seated on logs). There is no cast. It's a family "talent night." Kids, parents, whoever, on stage doing whatever they've come up with. Handheld won't work in some cases, though I could put it in the hands of a kid reading a poem, or singing.
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That works. I've shot talent shows using wired and wireless micorphones. A Shure SM58 works very well ($99) for this application. Put it on a microphone stand ($29) and let them take it off if they want to hand-hold it. If you purchased the Sennheiser system with the plug-on microphone, you can plug that into the Shure.

Set the plug-in to one channel, the lav to another channel in the same group. Then you can switch channels back and forth at the Receiver fairly quickly. (You cannot run two transmitters simultaneously into one receiver hence the need for two channels (or switch the transmitters off when you don't need one)).
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And maybe if someone is playing the guitar I could stick the handheld on a boom to look like a standard stage mic setup, and not have it look too odd.
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Get the guitar cable for the Sennheiser (assuming it is an electric guitar) or put the lav on the collar of the player. You may need 2 microphones if the guitar player also sings. Put the 58 and the shotgun on a stands and aim the shotgun (64) at the soundhole from about 5 feet to prevent overload and put the 58 up at the guitarist's chin below mouth level.

But kids dash up and do skits, read poems, etc. So nothing suspended from above (hung by the overhead pole of on a boom) will more unobtrusively cover a stage that size?

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Make them come to the microphone on a stand. Several people can gather around a single microphone with no problem. You see it all the time on television where the 'front' band members sing. Sure, many times they have multiple microphones but just as often, they gather around a single microphone.

Nobody will think it strange.
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I was hoping, cuz they're gonna hate my interuptions, to hand them things. (I'm trying to be a "bug on the wall" as much as possible, and just observe.)

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Enlist an assistant to handle the sound end. They don't have to be too experienced if all they are doing is arranging a microphone or two or helping the 'talent' to use the microphone correctly. You know, talk/sing across the top of a SM58, not into it.
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But I'll do it, and they'll deal, if that's the only way to get anything of quality... which matters if this is going to have a chance to be what I envision (which isn't some in-house home movie, but a doc to send out to be seen). There's also a campfire w/ stage in another location, but what works for one should work for the other.


2) and "room tone" in nearly every scenario (apart from the dining hall) is all outdoors.
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On-camera will do OK for that.
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Is there a mic you can think of that I could add that would work better, w/o breaking the (already broke) bank? -->>>

Get a couple of microphone stands with booms (or one with and one without) and a Shure SM58 for $99 at a Guitar store (or Beta58 if you like that one better for aobut $160 at a Guitar store.
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Old May 3rd, 2004, 02:16 PM   #5
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Wow, thanks Mike. Unbelieveably helpful. Really, really appreciate it!

Off to plot, plan, and shop...
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Old May 3rd, 2004, 03:28 PM   #6
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I'll suggest an alternative that I think gives better acoustic performance than the SM58. I prefer the Sennheiser e835 which at worst will be equal in cost to the Shure but can usually be found for less.

If in the end you feel a more general approach to recording the entire scene will work better for you than a mic on the stage, your ME64 on a boom stand at the front of the stage will do a very good job of picking up everything. It will take some post work like every approach, but may be less prone to problems if something goes wrong with the handling of a stage mic.
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Old May 3rd, 2004, 03:48 PM   #7
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Given that the 64 is a Cardiod, centering that microphone could mean a lot of work if the talent walks back and forth on the stage. A lot of work. Maybe an impossible task.

I've cross-mic'd a stage with two cardiods (not dynamics) at the corners and pointed in on the stage diagonal but even then it wasn't great.

Presumably the e835 wired microphone has a better shock mount than the same capsule in the wireless microphone I bought from Sennheiser. The Sennheiser wireless micorphone has a terrible handling noise problem compared to the Shure. To the point that I prefer the Shure with the uglier plug-on transmitter to the more svelte integrated Sennheiser microphone.

If it doesn't have a much better suspension, then the e835 is NOT the microphone to use with untrained talent.
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Old May 3rd, 2004, 05:43 PM   #8
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What about the EV RE50 instead of either the SM58 or the e835? I've considered that for my man-on-the-street stuff as someone (around here) said the SM58 did not work well in noisy places like San Francisco. It may not be as durable though, if kids were to drop it.

And Mike, btw, what mic stand for $29? The only one I've found so far is around $50.
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Old May 3rd, 2004, 06:10 PM   #9
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I should have been more clear when I said "at the front of the stage". I meant about 3 to 4 feet from the front, far enough away that any effect of the talent moving across the sound field would be reduced. I disagree that this approach would be impossible to work with in post. I feel it would by far give the easiest and most consistent recording to work with. Any approach used in un-controlled conditions will require post-production, but a fairly wide and sensitive cardioid like the ME64 placed at an appropriate distance will be most consistent in total. This is especially true since there isn't any PA and less likelyhood of room reverb like a traditional space.
I haven't used the integrated e835 wireless, only the wired version and I've never had a problem with handling noise. The e835 is more sensitive in total than the SM58 and the Beta58 too and needs to be controlled accordingly.
The RE50 is plenty durable, but not as good acoustically as the 58 or 835. Its more open omni pattern might help with untrained talent, but it's also less sensitive in general.
I haven't used this stand personally, but it is $29.95
http://www.zzounds.com/item--MUP7701B
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Old May 3rd, 2004, 06:34 PM   #10
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Jay, so for your money you'd use the e835 over the SM58 for the above stage scenario (if I went handheld, over the ME64... would be nice to have both options available) and you'd also pick it over the EV RE50 for on the street interviews, correct?

You wouldn't happen to know if the same FatCat furry fits it? If I go that route, the streets of San Francisco are rarely without a stiff breeze.

Decisions, decisions...
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Old May 3rd, 2004, 06:45 PM   #11
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<<<-- Originally posted by Marcia Janine Galles : What about the EV RE50 instead of either the SM58 or the e835? I've considered that for my man-on-the-street stuff as someone (around here) said the SM58 did not work well in noisy places like San Francisco. It may not be as durable though, if kids were to drop it.
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Given that the RE50 is an 0mni, I do not believe it will perform as well as the SM58 or the e835 on the streets of San Francisco. I've shot video on Market street and I'd never want to do that with an Omni.
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And Mike, btw, what mic stand for $29? The only one I've found so far is around $50. -->>>
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Go to the nearest Guitar Center. They have really inexpensive (harder to work with than the well-built stuff) that will work. Sometimes, when you buy the SM58, you will get the stand, a cable and the microphone for $99.

As to whether the 64 will work, the best way to make certain it will work is to test it. Not hard to do. You don't need to get out into the woods to do it. Just mark out the dimensions in a park or your back yard and run some tests.

If the stage is 12' wide and 20' deep, a strange aspect ratio for a stage, then a centered cardiod microphone might work OK. If it is 20' wide and 12 foot deep and you will have members of a large group talking/singing at different times then I'm dubious that a single cardiod will do it. Small groups centered on stage should be no problem.

But testing is the only way to make certain your plans and equipment will work before the event. Since you have a limited amount of equipment, if what you plan doesn't work, you may be in difficulties.

Another option would be to rent a few microphones, stands and a mixer for the event. Sound equipment is fairly inexpensive to rent. For that matter, you might be able to hire someone to provide the gear and run it for the price of another microphone.

---------------------------------------------
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Old May 3rd, 2004, 09:59 PM   #12
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I'm not a big fan of the RE50 either, although it is certainly used hundreds of times a day for news interviews. I think it would be too limiting in other scenarios to be a good value for you.
I think the FatCat will fit the e835, but of the 3 mics we're talking about, it's the one least likely to be fully covered. I'll have to try it tomorrow. I'd say from memory that it would make it but you'd have no room for error.
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