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-   -   Mic suggestions for film making (http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/all-things-audio/45106-mic-suggestions-film-making.html)

Guest May 24th, 2005 03:40 AM

Mic suggestions for film making
Hi all,

After recently receiving my XL2, i'm now in the market for buying a decent mic and boom (costs just keep mounting dont they).
Will be used in a short film being made in a couple of months, with the mic's main use being the recording of dialogue.
I dont have a huge budget, say around 100 - 200 max. Any suggestions guys would be much appreciated.

Jay Massengill May 24th, 2005 09:29 AM

Will the majority of this work be indoors or outdoors? Is your stated budget for the mic AND the boom?

Guest May 24th, 2005 11:28 AM

See I knew i'd miss some information out ;-)
The majority of recording will be indoors, the budget im hoping would include the boom, though am willing to stretch the budget a little

Declan Smith May 24th, 2005 04:58 PM

I got the Audio Technica AT835b, initially for the XM-2 as that didn't have phantom power. This mic can either provide it;s own phantom from an on board battery or from the cam (as in XL2).

It's a very sharp, clear, directional microphone, and a damn site cheaper than seinheiser! (which I would have got if the budget stretched that far). I think from memory it was 160. I got a second hand pole for 25, but looking around on the net you can get them for around 40 new.

Used it on both XM-2 and XL2 with excellant results. If you are going to put it on a pole you ought to make sure that it is mechanically decoupled (either with a pistol grip or full suspension mount, to ensure that you don't get any handling noise. Check http://www.rycote.com, they do a whole range to match practically any microphone (that's the second time tonight I have plugged them!!)

Glenn Chan May 24th, 2005 05:30 PM

I believe I rented the 835b before (that or the 815b, which is a longer shotgun) and it doesn't sound that great indoors.

You'd probably be better off with a hypercardioid mic... Rode NT3, Oktava MC-012 (sound-room.com) or MK-012 (needs phantom), or Audio Technica 4053a. These are the popular recommendations for hypers short of a Schoeps MK41, which is way out of your price range. Unfortunately there aren't comparisons between those particular mics, although all of them are probably excellent.

Aletha Jones May 26th, 2005 01:28 PM

I know the AT835b is not the best mic I can use, but on a limited budget I am forced to make use of what I have. I have provided for adding at least two wireless mics. Will I be able to massage quality sound (I know it won't be the highest quality) out of this mic on a boom pole and backup it with the lavs? And what lavs will give me quality and still interface with this mic. I don't want to downgrade the lavs just to match the sound quality of the AT835b that I have. I probably will spend around $599 each lav. I am going to record sound separately from camera into a dat or hard disc recorder. I have an XL1 camera. Thanks for all time and effort in providing this information.


Glenn Chan May 26th, 2005 02:02 PM

another possible solution for you is to record the boom on its own track, and the two lavs onto another track into the XL1. This way, you don't have to bother with the hassle of double system sound.

To do this, I would probably get the Sound Devices 302 field mixer (3 inputs, return feed for checking the camcorder's headphone out, quality preamps, limiters, bunch of other nice things about it) and a case/strap for it. I think this would be barely manageable by a sound person who knows his/her stuff. Although if you can get someone like that, they probably have their own gear.

The best solution depends on what you want to do though. Are you doing short films?
It may also make sense to rent if you don't do that many films, or you do lots of shoots with only a few days shooting schedule.

Ty Ford May 26th, 2005 03:34 PM


Shotguns are much more omni at mid and low frequencies. They pick up way too much room.

The cheap fix is an Octava MC012 with hyper capsule
Then comes the AT 4053
Then the Schoeps cmc641


Ty Ford

Marco Leavitt May 26th, 2005 05:59 PM

I'm going to throw in the AKG CK93. It would rank between the Octava and Schoeps on Ty's list. Awfully nice mic for 400 clams. The system has a shotgun capsule too.

What's with the wireless rigs by the way? You sure you need those? If it were me, I'd rent for the couple of scenes I needed them and use the rest of the money to buy a better mic.

Christopher Cummins May 26th, 2005 07:37 PM

Well, I will resist the urge to begin a new thread asking this same question which, I've noticed, has been asked many times before. This thread seems to be developing nicely so I'll just jump on here-- the problem is, I'm a sound neophyte and I've read so much information from this and other threads that I'm having trouble drawing any conclusions.

I own a Sony HDR-FX1 high-def camcorder so one thing I'm certain I will be purchasing is a Beachtek DXA-6 which will supply me with 2 XLR inputs and phantom power. That'll set me back $250 or so.

On top of that, I'm willing to spend about $1000 on whatever else I may need; this should encompass mic(s), boom, support gear. An eBay auction I've been eyeing is:


This is basically a Sennheiser ME66 with a bunch of other stuff for $1000. For $580 from the same dealer I can just get the extras minus the mic (internally wired boom pole, shock mount, windscreen, etc.) and get some other mic from elsewhere.

My situation is this. Previously I've been shooting music videos where sound is no issue whatsoever (just dub in the track in post.) Now a friend wants my help doing a film of sorts; the screenplay is written and there are interior and exterior scenes. I have read here that there is not a universal solution for indoor and outdoor, but I have to ask based on budget concerns. I'm not looking for the greatest sound in the world, just something that will get the job done and not sound like crap. I'd like to keep the mic boomed most of the time but may be forced to camera mount it via a shock-support system in certain situations.

Any help would be appreciated, my head is scrambled with new information which I've been trying to digest for weeks.
Should I stick with the ME66? AT897? 4073a? Neumann (what model)? Add an Azden dual lav setup and belt mixer? The aforementioned solutions? I've listened to the comparisons on other sites and am still indecisive. Can someone with an authoritative tone just tell me what to do? I'm lost!

Marco Leavitt May 26th, 2005 08:48 PM

I couldn't open that eBay link, so I don't know what they're offering. But you definitely want two mics, probably a shotgun and a hypercardiod.

I personally like the Sennheiser ME series (and I'm in the minority around here), but the ME66 does not do well indoors unless you heavily treat the room. The ME64 is a better, but not as good as the hypercardiods that Ty mentioned. The ME series does have a hypercardiod, the ME65, but nobody seems to use it. I don't know why.

If you've got phantom power, there are better options.

I've already mentioned the CK93, but I don't think it's going to have enough output for you without a mixer. Maybe the AT4053 does. Perhaps someone else could help with that?

The AKG has short shot cap, the CK98, which I think is like $400, but again, maybe not hot enough for you.

You could try the AT897 for about $285. It's not as hot as the ME66, but it's a real nice sounding mic. The AT4073 is supposed to be great, and I believe has a real hot output. It sounds like the mic for you if you can afford it.

For support gear, we've been using the tried and true AT8415 shockmount ($55) for years and haven't seen the need to upgrade. We also have a Gitzo G557 aluminum boompole ($120) that's perfectly serviceable. A Rycote softie for whatever shotgun you get is going to be about $120.

So add all that up, and I think you're looking at $1,100 to $1,250. Even when you upgrade, all of this gear should continue to be useful in some capacity for a good long while too.

Jay Massengill May 26th, 2005 09:17 PM

I'll add one more to consider, the Sanken CS-1.

Ty Ford May 26th, 2005 11:52 PM


Originally Posted by Christopher Cummins
I have read here that there is not a universal solution for indoor and outdoor, but I have to ask based on budget concerns. I'm not looking for the greatest sound in the world, just something that will get the job done and not sound like crap.

One person's crap is another person's Manwich. You're up against the wall of science here my friend. If you use the wrong tools, or cheap tools, your product will be crappy. As good sound people will tell you, you can even misuse the best tools and get crap. What you decide you can afford is not our concern because we aren't invested in your decision. Only you are.


Ty Ford

Aletha Jones May 31st, 2005 10:57 PM

Glenn, Ty, Marco, Jay ( and everyone)

Thanks for the advice. I have gone so long trying to sort out the issues and nail down the particulars on my own that I am gushing with gratitude that I found this helpful community.

Glenn, to answer you question, I am attempting to shoot a full-length feature with more to follow. Production days will be spread over a period of 3-4 months.

Marco, I am not sure what I need! I am trying to learn the process by whatever I can glean. I thought I would need the lavs for back-up. I have volunteers who will be completely new to film (dv or otherwise), so correct booming may be hit or miss. I also may have 3 to 4 actors in one scene so I thought the boom person(s) could handle the two and take the pressure off of them for the other two. In what instance would I use wireless lavs?

Ty, ( and all who would answer) what should I use the shotgun for? And can I get any use out of the AT835b that I have? I will choose a better boom ( as you all suggested) for the interiors.

God is exceedlingly good! He brought me here and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Always thanks


Marco Leavitt June 1st, 2005 07:22 AM

Booming that many actors is tough. I would try two booms first before going to wireless though. But if you have someone deep in the background who does a lot of moving, that may be your only choice.

As far as using lavs as backup (and they could also be wired in many instances) keep in mind that if you have more than two mics your going to need a mixer. Training somebody to actively mix down to two tracks is going to be way harder than training them to boom properly. You're right to be worried about it though. Finding a good boom op is tough. I never understand why this position doesn't get more repect. I would argue that they are the single most important person on the set.

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