Two Shotgun mics or just one? at DVinfo.net

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Old October 27th, 2009, 08:28 AM   #1
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Two Shotgun mics or just one?

Recording in an outdoor environment - football field halftime show focusing on presentations and band playing...



Is it better to use two shotgun mics one to each channel, or use one shotgun mic inputing to both channels?
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Old October 27th, 2009, 08:45 AM   #2
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How far away from the presentations will you be positioned? Unless you're down there on the field right at the ceremony, a shotgun is not likely to do you much good - they are NOT "telescopes for sound."

For the band, 'guns will probably have too narrow a pattern. A stereo pair of cardioids in an ORTF arrangment on the sidelines at the 50-yard line on a stand fairly high in the air would be my first thought. An A/B arrangment about 10 feet apart might also work.
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Old October 27th, 2009, 09:49 AM   #3
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I will be positioned on the bottom level of bleachers on the "rail" at or around the 50 yard line I should be about 20 yards or less from them...

"A stereo pair of cardioids in an ORTF arrangment"

Ok now you lost me :) I was going to mount the mics to a Video Camera, I do have a 5 foot mic stand that I could mount them too instead but not sure what an ORTF arrangement is?

There is a possibility of inclement weather as well so I may have to be stationed under an umbrella.
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Old October 27th, 2009, 11:49 AM   #4
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20 yards away from the ceremony is about 19 yards too far away for a shotgun mic to pick up their voices well. Contrary to popular belief, shotguns DO NOT magnify distant sounds. What they do is supress sounds arriving from the sides and rear, thus isolating the sounds coming from the direction in they're aimed from the surroundings. But they're no more sensitive to sound than is any other mic. From your camera position the sound you'll be hearing will be coming from the PA system, not directly from the ceremony. The PA speakers are likely to be off to your side somewhere, not somewhere along your camera's line of sight, and a mic that supresses those side-arriving sounds is the last thing you'll want. If you're there in an official capacity, perhaps you can tie in to the PA. If not, concentrate on getting the sound from the PA speakers clearly.

ORTF is one of several different mic arrangements for stereo recording, one that is well-suited for large spread out groups like a marching band. It consists of two cardioid-pickup pattern mics arranged about 18 inches apart and aimed away from each other in a V making about a 120 degree angle between them. See this link http://schoeps.de/PDFs/stereo-record...chniques-e.pdf for an illustration. A/B is another arrangement, also illustrated on that page, where two either cardioid or omni mics are mounted anywhere from 1 metre to several metres apart. In the case of your stadium, I think omnis would pick up a lot of the crowd and so I'd probably go with cardioids in order to favour the band. In any case, once again a shotgun or shotguns is not likely to be a viable solution.

If possible go observe the band rehearsing and experiment with different mic arrangements.
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Old October 27th, 2009, 11:51 AM   #5
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Thomas, the answer to your question is zero. If you want to mic it professionally, do what Steve said. Otherwise, you might as well just use the camera mic which is probably omni stereo. Given what you said, your sound will be coming from the sound system for the presentation speakers (20 yards is really far) and acoustically from the marching band. A shotgun serves neither of those applications. Do a test during some other similar event in that venue and compare your camera built-in versus your two shotguns.
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Old October 27th, 2009, 01:03 PM   #6
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Thanks for the answers, I'm not there in an "official capacity" so won't be able to tap into the PA system. I am there however trying to do the best job I can for some potential work later so I do want to get the best sound possible.

I won't have time unfortuanetly to test ahead as I got this job last week and have to do it this Friday...

If I have to use the onboard mic as this sounds like it might be the best soulution should I put a dead cat on it at least?

I don't have a problem renting mic's as this could lead to some potential work down the road.

For more information the camera I'm using is a AG-HMC150
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Old October 27th, 2009, 02:22 PM   #7
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And would something like this work better then the onboard mic?

RØDE Microphones - StereoVideoMic
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Old October 27th, 2009, 04:30 PM   #8
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The pattern is better but you'll have a problem connecting it to your camera. The Videomic uses a stereo miniplug with the left channel on the tip and the right channel on the ring. Your camera's external mic connectors are two XLR, normally a good thing because that's what pro mics are. But the VXLR adapter plug Rode sells is for mono, not stereo. While the Stereo Videomic's miniplug will fit into it, the channels will get combined to one mono track AND the right channel will be flipped out-of-phase with the left - not good. So you'd need two adapters, plus a stereo to dual mono Y cable. Then if you put it on a stand off the camera, you've got a longish unbalanced line from the mic to the camera. All in all, not conducive to to a trouble free setup.

This ... Audio-Technica - Microphones, headphones, wireless microphone systems, noise-cancelling headphones & more : AT8022 X/Y Stereo Microphone

or this ... Audio-Technica - Microphones, headphones, wireless microphone systems, noise-cancelling headphones & more : BP4025 X/Y Stereo Field Recording Microphone

would be much better bets. See also detailed specs http://www.audio-technica.com/cms/re...o_mics_lit.pdf

In the Rode line, consider this ... http://usa.rodemic.com/microphone.php?product=NT4

And rather than mounting on the camera, still consider placing the mic on a stand up 8 or 10 feet in the air to get better coverage of the band.
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Old October 27th, 2009, 05:48 PM   #9
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I think you have a good idea of the message... given the constraints you are working under, your sound capture will be a compromised effort - at best. That said, I guess the question then is - given my constraints is there any way I can possibly "improve" what sound capture I will be able to effect?

You said you had the capability to rent. Assuming you cannot have someone closer to the field holding a boomed mic on long XLR cables (that would be a HUGE improvement), and hence the mic placement is static - that is to say with you in the bleachers, then I would suggest you consider renting a mic with high sensitivity and output - a so called "hot" mic. Others may have other ideas, but in the shotgun category I'd consider renting an Audio Technica AT-4073.

Get a blimp for it and have someone either hold it off camera, or find a mounting for it.

Don't risk the wind noise issue. Blimp it, period.

Even if you can get it closer on cables (you can run LONG XLR cables without problems) stay with that blimped setup.

Good luck.

Chris
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Old October 27th, 2009, 06:09 PM   #10
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Thanks again I stopped by my local music store who rents gear. They recommended a AKG414 with a 7 foot boom pole. Thought is to run it to both channels so I have both although mono.

I'm wondering your thoughts on this setup and should I use the Wide cartoid settings or the normal. In post can I invert one of the tracks to get a
more stereo sound?
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Old October 27th, 2009, 07:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Swanberg View Post
Get a blimp for it and have someone either hold it off camera, or find a mounting for it.

Don't risk the wind noise issue. Blimp it, period.



Good luck.

Chris

yea, thanks definetly understand this is going to be a challenge :) but if it was easy and controlled environment what would be the fun in that?

When you say "blimp" just want to make sure we are talking the same thing, I am assuming you mean a dead cat cover?
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Old October 27th, 2009, 07:30 PM   #12
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First things first. You made an improvement so far. Did you get a blimp for it too? If not, and the day turns off windy, you will not get recordable sound due to wind noise. Trust me on this. You may luck out and get a windless day... but that's a big risk.

Next, will you be able to safely run a cable down to the sidelines? If so, and you can either static mount the mic or have someone on the boom pole following the action (?) I think you may be pleasantly surprised at what you might be able to get. (warning, long cable runs almost need someone just to monitor the cabling against pedestrians and curiosity seekers). That would be the ideal, but if not, go with whatcha got in the bleachers. Me, I'd do anything I culd to run a cable to a sidelines boom. The boom could be kept low and unobtrusive on the sidelines.

I'd worry more about capture at this point and less about pseudo stereo effect. Switching phase won't do that, and will work against you. Let's focus on getting clean decent sound first...

Chris

ps. If it is real windy, (even with a blimp) a little trick that can help is to bring some electrical tape and tape over the low cut off switch on the mic barrel and also tape around where the XLR connects to the mic barrel as well.

pps. By blimp I do not mean just a foam windscreen.
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Old October 27th, 2009, 07:50 PM   #13
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Blimp - let's start in order. You have the naked mic. Next up is the naked mic and a foam cover (ok in VERY light wind up to a couple mph), the naked mic, a foam cover AND a fuzzie or deadcat - same thing, (good up to maybe 5-7 mph depending) and then the enclosure the mic goes inside - the "blimp", looks like a minature Hindenburg, and these almost always have a deadcat placed on them (good up to several times the wind of the best foam cover and deadcat combo. You can even put the foam cover on the mic and place it in a blimp, and if you tape the mic barrel as described, ought to be fine in pretty stiff winds... depending on blimp orientation vis a vis the passing wind).

Blimps often come with an attachable handholding stub... that a person can hang on to and aim the blimp with, sans boom pole. (Still thinking sideline help here).
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Old October 27th, 2009, 08:01 PM   #14
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OK, yea did some looking and see what a "blimp" is I will have to ask the store if they can provide this as well.

A dead cat was part of my order btw...

Thanks for all your help, once I have the audio I'll have to ask for tips on cleaning it up if needed :)

My wife is looking forward to being a boom operator lol...

I'm hoping against hope that I can get down on the field during this (I'm going to ask maybe when I show them a prosumer camera they'll be aw'ed into letting me) but if not then I'm still in the stands with boom pole :(

I really appreciate all the insight so far!

pps. I have Sony Vegas 9.0b, if you have any insight into working with the audio once I get it :)
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Old October 27th, 2009, 08:20 PM   #15
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"I'm hoping against hope that I can get down on the field during this (I'm going to ask maybe when I show them a prosumer camera they'll be aw'ed into letting me) but if not then I'm still in the stands with boom pole :("

You may have much better luck getting an inobtrusive sound person on the sidelines rather than a tripod and camera. Remember camera and microphone are not ONE unit. Get 150-200 feet or so of XLR cable and see if your lovely wife cannot charm her way onto the sideline or closeby... she can squat down holding the blimp and aim it at the action. The cabling will carry the signal back to you, up in the "cheap seats".

Good sound is 90% about microphone placement close to the source. (ok I made the 90% up - did you know that 88% of all statistics are made up on the spot?)
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