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Old December 27th, 2004, 12:50 AM   #1
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Location: British Columbia
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Renting Audio Equipment

Hey guys,
I'm beginning shoot for an independant film next month. The movie is quite dialouge driven, and I was wondering what type of microphone I can rent for it and if anybody knows places where I can rent some microphones for a cheap price in Vancouver, BC. I was thinking bout using a microphone which can be used as a Boom mic and a shotgun mic right off the camera. Although I want really good audio, I don't know if I want to record the sound to a differnt device, I was wondering if I could do it straight onto the DV tape as it makes everything easier that way. My price range is about 100 dollars for use of the mic for 4-5 days. Anyways, thank you for your time and hope to hear back from you guys soon!

Glen Chua
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Old December 27th, 2004, 07:42 PM   #2
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by the way I use a GL2
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Old December 28th, 2004, 10:48 AM   #3
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1- Places you can try (I don't live in Vancouver):

Long and McQuade
Not sure if their Vancouver locations rent stuff.

Cinequip / White's
You might be able to get discounts from them or free rentals if you explain to them you're students (or it's an indie shoot). I know in some cases they will rent you stuff cheaply or for free if you're just starting out to build relationships with people so you'll come to them in the future.

Another thing you can try is to make a posting on for a sound mixer/recordist. They might have their own gear and hopefully be good at sound recording. You might need a boom op too.

There might also be independent film organizations in your city.
Scroll down to Pacific Canada.

2- You probably want to record sound to your GL2 just so you don't run into the hassles of double system sound. Jay Rose has some good articles over at that relates to this:
Some info on getting the best S/N ratio out of your camera. In particular read the very end.

3- Recording outdoors:
You'll need a boom pole, boom op, apple boxes / crates / a step ladder to stand on, shotgun mic, shockmount on the boom, and a windscreen/zepplin/softie for reducing wind noise (these are somewhat expensive and better than the foam windscreens).

A headphone feed for the boom op would be wonderful.

Ideally you'd have a hypercardioid (or even cardioid) mic indoors as they don't sound weird indoors like shotguns do. Hypercardioid mics are less directional than shotguns so they'll pick up more b/g noise and echo/reverb, but they have significantly less off-axis coloration so they don't color echoes and make the overall sound weird. Cardioid mics are less directional and have slightly less off-axis coloration than hypercardioid mics.

High-end shotgun mics like the Sennheiser 416 sound better than cheaper shotguns indoors (less off-axis coloration, less weird/artifical/hollow sounding indoors).

Sound blankets (i.e. moving blankets) would be helpful too, as hanging thme up can cut down on room reverb.

4- You need to scout your location for sound. Consider the time of day of your shoot too, as there may be people milling about indoors or traffic.

5- Jay Rose's book Great Sound for Digital Video has some pretty good information on all of this.
see on how to buy it for $30.

6- If you're overwhelmed by all the above, just focus on the most important things:
A- Getting the mic close to the actors. This means using a boom mic. You can also use lavs, although using wireless lavs is likely out of your budget while wired lavs you have to have the cable out of the shot (i.e. out of the actor's pant leg, out of the shot). Boom mics sound a little better than lavs.

With the boom mic, get it as close as possible while keeping it out of frame. Get stuff for the boom op to stand on. Have the boom pole parallel to the ground (to help keep it out of frame) with the mic pointed at the actor's mouths. If they are far apart, you'll have to get the boom op to position the mic in place before the actors start their lines. Otherwise the voices will sound weird and not very loud.

A shotgun mic on the camera will usually pick up too much background noise to be useful.

B- Scouting the location and reducing background noise at the shoot (i.e. turning stuff off).

C- Monitoring audio. Someone should be monitoring audio off the camera and they should know what to listen for.
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Old January 1st, 2005, 07:21 AM   #4
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Mr. Chan speaks truth in chapter and verse, except for his comment that hypercardioids are less directional than shotguns. They are, in fact, more directional, but have less reach. A minor point in your miasma, but worth mentioning.

While cardioids are less directional than hypercardioids, the point about less off-axis coloration is made moot if you use a Schoeps cmc641 hypercardioid. You want your movie to sound like a movie? Use the Schoeps AND a mixer with a good limiter. Sound Devices makes them.

I'm in full acordance with the rest of Mr. Chan's helpful post. In addition, you might try reading "The Letter", a document co-written by a number of experienced sound people. It's on my site on the Location Audio page.

Raise your sights. Increase your audio budget. Don't think sound is worth the investment? Watch any movie with the sound off.

Not trying to be unduly harsh here. You have just encountered one of the the first walls to the fort. You can not penetrate it by throwing pebbles at it. You can not dig under it for it will crush you. You can not go around it for it is too wide. Move toward it with caution grasshopper, it sees you as lunch.


Ty Ford
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Old January 1st, 2005, 09:18 AM   #5
Fred Retread
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Ty, I find your derivative humor charming. Hopefully Glen's memory too goes back far enough to remember the show you're deriving from. As a high school teacher, I've learned from the weird looks I sometimes get that we make that assumption at our own risk. ;>]
"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence..." - Calvin Coolidge
"My brain is wired to want to know how other things are wired." - Me
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Old January 1st, 2005, 10:31 AM   #6
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I have no idea what you two are talking about... but at least I learned a new word today.

They are, in fact, more directional, but have less reach.
How DOES that work?
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Old January 1st, 2005, 10:48 AM   #7
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Location: Vancouver, BC
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Here are some places in Vancouver that I've either bought or rented audio gear from.

ProVision Video Sales and Rentals (near West 2nd Avenue and Columbia, behind the Citytv studios)

Location Sound (on Keefer Street just on the outskirts of Chinatown)

Lorne Lapham (near 1st Avenue and Boundary Road on the Burnaby side)

Long & McQuade and Tom Lee Music both have rental department s but it's more for the musician. I'd be surprised if either of them rent shotgun mics but they both sell them though. You really should rent from one of the above three.

There are two or three other places in town that also rent but the above three I've personally dealt with.
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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

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(512) 251-7778
Austin, TX

(973) 335-4460
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(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

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Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

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