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Old February 15th, 2005, 02:55 AM   #1
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Camera Mounted Microphone Evaluations...

When contributors compare different microphones, do the evaluations center on whether a microphone is camera mounted versus being boomed?

Is it possible that what makes a better microphone in a booming situation may not necessarily mean that that microphone is better for camera mounted situations?
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Old February 15th, 2005, 05:53 AM   #2
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I think criteria are immediately different.

A camera mounted mic can't hope to get the sound a well placed boom or lav can because it's just too far away.

Mics mounted on the camera are great for spray and pray, run and gun, where no sound person is used and mobility is imperative.

Booms and lavs require another operator or more -- boom op and mixer -- and more time to set. The payoff is that the quality of the sound is a lot better.

That's part of why the popcorn costs so much at the movies.

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Old February 15th, 2005, 09:15 AM   #3
 
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Amen.
Microphones are like hand grenades; the closer they are, the better they do their job. There is a bunch of math that explains the exponentially increasing benefit of shorter distance, removing room impact, etc, but it's just as effective to explain that there is a reason for that 1200.00 stick with the expensive thingamajiggie on the end that looks like a furball and space station.
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Old February 15th, 2005, 10:27 AM   #4
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I think Alessandro was getting at a different point. Not whether the same mic performs better when boom mounted versus camera mounted, but whether the characteristics that make a mic good for one might be less adventageous for the other.
Generally the characteristics for the two activities are very close, but depend heavily on what you want to cover from each spot. I think it's more situation-dependent rather than just a question of how the mic is attached and used. In other words, your goal might be different even at the same event, depending on what combination of mics you were using and where they are mounted. It's more a case of what do I want to pickup or exclude from this particular spot for this particular situation, rather than just how it's mounted.
Desirable characteristics for any mic in these situations are: low handling noise, low self-noise, adequate wind protection, light weight, moderate physical length, and be a good sensitivity match for the situation and the preamp/recorder.
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Old February 16th, 2005, 02:28 AM   #5
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Good points by all.

I was thinking of past debates between Sennheiser ME-66 vs the AT497???.

If I were to do a test that proves that one mike has better frequency response than the other, does that actually mean it will be a better mike if I am forced to keep that mike on the camera OR if I have to place the mike in a remote location and than I cannot move it during a show?
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Old February 16th, 2005, 05:25 AM   #6
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I don't think the main issue is frequency response with those particular mics. Tightness of pattern, reach of pattern and sloppiness in off-axis response are three more important factors.

I'm not sure what you mean by not being able to move it during a show. If the mic is on your camera and you're shooting, you're not moving the mic either are you?

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Old February 16th, 2005, 08:46 AM   #7
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Among the mics we talk about here frequently, the ME64 is the only one that comes to mind where frequency response is noticeably unusual.
It is most often the pattern, the off-axis response and the sensitivity that influences my choices.
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Old February 16th, 2005, 01:06 PM   #8
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When I shoot Opera I put two mikes on stage. I do not have access to them once the event starts.

If there is no one to reposition the mikes during the show, it seems to me the standard testing methodology for determining which microphone is better might not be as valid as when one is using a microphone in a controlled setting with a boom operator or when one has mounted the microphone directly on a person.

Here's a for instance. I double miked the test commercials I did yesterday. I used a Sennheiser lav wireless and an ME-66 mounted on the camera.

Even though the actor ended up less than 4 feet from my lens, the sound on the wireless lav was better than the sennheiser ME-66 because the sound was isolated better and as a result the fidelity seemed to be better as well.

However, if it wasn't just about the actor and their message, I might not want that much intimacy as it related to the microphone.
I liked the fact that the ME-66 did slightly pick up the surrounding environment, it felt more natural on an ambience level but not appropriate for our purposes, especially because we had something else to compare it to, otherwise it would have been acceptabe as well.
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Old February 17th, 2005, 09:25 AM   #9
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I've played with a lot of mics in all different situations and based on that experience I'd have to say that the best mic on the end of a stick has always been the best mic on camera... with the exception of polar pattern. Meaning that the "half-bubble" of sound a cardioid captures... when on the end of a stick and set to the desired levels... is smaller then that same mic's bubble on a cam and set to the desired levels. A CAM-mounted cardioid, with levels set where you want 'em... is going to have a pretty big bubble of pick-up... and you may not want that. So in that case a long shotgun, mounted along side the cam... should get the best results. (I say "along side" because there's no cam where an 816 or CK-69 Long, won't stick into the picture.)

I've also found that ANY mic loses low-end as the mic is farther and farther from the sound source. Even a 416, which is considered to be a generally warm mic... can sound much colder at distance.

For your use I'd be surprised if a couple cardioids wouldn't knock your socks off. They won't give you the isolation that a lav does... but a cardioid is the only mic I know of that really doesn't have a tail... a couple of those, spaced across the middle third/fourth of the stage... will hear mostly what's happening on stage... with the only audience sound coming from reflections within the theatre.

Okay now that said, I did find that the 416 has VERY little tail when compared to other mics... the 4073a is also pretty decent in the "tail-less" race. And of course the winner in the challenge for no-tail on a shotgun is the Sanken CS-3e. The only problem in your use is the unwanted sensitivity in those mics... Remember the audience sounds via reflection that I mentioned? Well the 416 and CS-3e will give you more isolation then the 4073a because of their reduced sensitivity (in comparison).

I still say you should borrow a couple cardioids (perhaps some Oktavas or something else affordable) and space 'em. If the area that the singer(s) will be in covers 18' or so... then I'd space the mics about 6-9' apart... across the center of the stage... set low and pointed up... or better still (if you can do this) hanging down and pointed at the singers from a 45 degree angle ahead of them. (The ONLY reason I said "set low" is if the mics can't be in front of the audience... otherwise have 'em on stands 'cause if one of the singers has heavy feet you'll hear it.)
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Old February 18th, 2005, 04:12 AM   #10
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The Piano is loud!

I think the ME-66 partially isolates the singers (as long as their not too far off axis) and keeps the piano at a tolerable level.
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