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Old November 2nd, 2009, 07:44 AM   #1
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interviewing choice

which gives the best audio quality for a static interviewee:

Lapel mic or a shotgun mic pointed at the person from the front?
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Old November 2nd, 2009, 08:04 AM   #2
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Neither one. If your interview is in a normal reflective indoor space such as a living room or an office, the best bet is to boom a hypercardioid above and to the front of the subject, positioned so the mic is shooting down at about a 45 degree angle just out of frame about 20 inches from the subject's mouth. Most shotguns indoors from the front, expecially from the camera position, will sound like the subject is in a culvert. If you can't boom a hyper, second choice would be a hard-wired lav on the subject - no need for wireless unless it's a walk-and-talk. "Whenever you are able, always use a cable!"
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Old November 4th, 2009, 06:24 AM   #3
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thanks for the advice. I guess I'll look for an inexpensive hypercardioid mic!
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Old November 4th, 2009, 09:44 AM   #4
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Actually, it's a little more complicated than that. Yes many hypercardiods will sound the best, but you have to factor in your shooting environment. In some cases (I'm betting yours), the lav will be best. For sit down interviews, you want as much isolation as possible because any type of background noise is a problem. The lav will almost always win there. Also, a cheap hypercardiod is still about $400. For that, you could get a Sanken COS-11D terminated in an XLR, which will give you absolutely top-end sound. I don't mean to contradict Steve, as he is giving you sound advice. It's just that outside of a studio setting I've found that a lav is usually the best choice. It also much easier to place. Getting a boom mic in position (with a boom stand or other device) can be quite difficult if you are working solo, and your subject will not be able to move at all.

Last edited by Marco Leavitt; November 4th, 2009 at 12:36 PM.
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Old November 4th, 2009, 09:59 AM   #5
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No contradiction at all, Marco, nor any disagreement. I think the point we're both making is getting good sound requires considering a number of options and being prepared to handle a variety of scenarios. While a boomed hyper properly placed will often sound richer that a lav, other factors such as background noise, the freedom to place the mic, etc, will also enter into the equation and there are certainly a number of situations where a quality lav would outshine the boom.
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Old November 4th, 2009, 11:21 AM   #6
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I have a lav which I have been using - but it just seemed to me that a mic located on person's chest is so far off axis from their mouth that a lot of high ends would be lost.

also, I don't like to see the lav, so I get a wider shot before they're miked, and then stick to the closeup.

and attaching a mic to a woman in a solid blouse is impossible to hide.

I have seen some people run the mic up under the shirt and attach it to the collar, but that seems to be even more hidden from the mouth.

so I thought a mic on a boom pointed at the speakers mouth would have to be better...but it sounds like it isn't necessarily.

We'll, if I don't really need to buy a new mic, I certainly won't!

Guess now I'll investigate some more...thanks for your replies...
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Old November 4th, 2009, 12:29 PM   #7
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Generally clients demand that I mic an interview subject with both a lav and an overhead boom, and they either pick whichever one sounds better (usually the lav) or use a mix of the two. In order for a lav to sound good, it does need proper placement. The collar usually isn't a very good place, because it is off axis as you say, and you get a lot of sound from the throat. Women are usually easier to mic than men though, because you can almost always put it between their breasts somewhere. I usually put it as high as the neck line will allow, although you don't want to go all the way up to the throat. You want it at the top of the sternum, a couple of inches below the throat. Putting it under the blouse itself can work very well or sound muffled, depending on the material. You also need to watch for clothing noise. What lav are you using? There is a lot of difference in quality. Generally you need to spend $150 to $450. As Steve notes, there is no one solution for every situation.
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Old November 4th, 2009, 12:39 PM   #8
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My lav is an Audio-Technica. I just looked at it and it doesn't have any model number. It's a black box "power module" that the mic is permanently attached to. it's about 8 years old.

It's sounds okay - I'm not unhappy with it - and I've used it for many programs and commercials. I just thought maybe I was "missing out" on great sound by not using something else...

But maybe not!
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Old November 4th, 2009, 12:48 PM   #9
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I would urge you to compare it to top end mics by Sanken, Countryman, and Tram. You may indeed be (and probably are) missing out on great sound. Also, if you do much shooting, you really owe it to yourself and clients to have a decent hypercardiod around as Steve suggests.
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Old November 5th, 2009, 01:19 AM   #10
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Why a hypercardioid and not a cardioid?
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Old November 5th, 2009, 05:11 AM   #11
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Quote:
Why a hypercardioid and not a cardioid?
You want a highly directional mic in order to isolate the interview subject from any surrounding ambient noises and hypers have a narrower pattern. Shotguns would be even better except that most interviews are in spaces where the ratio of direct and reflected sound is pretty high and 'guns don't work well in that environment.
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Old November 6th, 2009, 10:26 AM   #12
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I'm in the same boat. So what brand/model of hyper would you guys recommend, if that is indeed the way to go for a sit down interview indoors.

Thanks.

Jonathan
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Old November 6th, 2009, 07:40 PM   #13
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I perfer a quality wired omni lav. The main reason over a boomed hyper cardioid is that its easier to setup, isolates the sound better, and you can shoot solo without a boom operator. In my opinion interview in fixed position = lav, walk n' talk = mic on a boom.
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Old November 6th, 2009, 08:08 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Cofrancesco View Post
I perfer a quality wired omni lav. The main reason over a boomed hyper cardioid is that its easier to setup, isolates the sound better, and you can shoot solo without a boom operator. In my opinion interview in fixed position = lav, walk n' talk = mic on a boom.
Putting a boom on a mic stand isn't that tough..

For me, boom all the way unless a lav is needed.
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Old November 6th, 2009, 09:58 PM   #15
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Shoot wide. Get close. Hold the mic in one hand. Reach it as close to the subject as you can.

Then all you need to do is chew bubblegum, pat your head, rub your stomach, frame the shot, keep focus, and aim the mic properly without tripping. :)
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