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Old December 24th, 2009, 11:39 AM   #1
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USB microphone advice

We're putting together a series of short informational videos using a variety of footage from a series of recordings made last month. What I want to do is to send a script to the CEO of this company and have her record audio segments which we can use for voice over on the final video.

I see this Rode Podcaster at places like B&H which might work ok (Rode | Podcaster USB Broadcast Microphone | PODCASTER | B&H) but as don't need their free service, perhaps there's another option which would work just as well for a bit less $$?

Cost isn't that big a factor but just looking to get the most bang/buck. Any advice most appreciated.

Tim
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Old December 24th, 2009, 11:50 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Ribich View Post

Cost isn't that big a factor but just looking to get the most bang/buck. Any advice most appreciated.

Tim
If cost isn't that big a factor, than instead of sending a microphone and asking the CEO of a company to record themselves at their reflective desk, why not have the CEO recorded professionally in an appropriate environment.

That's my advice!
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Old December 24th, 2009, 03:39 PM   #3
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If cost isn't that big a factor, than instead of sending a microphone and asking the CEO of a company to record themselves at their reflective desk, why not have the CEO recorded professionally in an appropriate environment.

That's my advice!

Fair enough, and thanks for the input. Not an option we're considering in this case however.
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Old December 24th, 2009, 04:13 PM   #4
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Tim, if she's not recording tech savvy, you'll have to have someone attend the sessions or get her to use something like a minidisc recorder.

To get some quiet time and avoid any embarrassment she might record at home, they're easy to use and almost fail safe.

Cheers.
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Old December 24th, 2009, 11:51 PM   #5
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IMO with that you would just be asking for them to use it in what could be a very bad situation. next to a computer fan, in a noisey office, and worse it has to be hooked to a computer, how is that easy?

If i couldnt Be there, nor afford to get somone there , i would want to use a Machine with a wire to a mic, or a silent machine with mic stuff, like a primo digital recorder.
then provide a few minutes of operating instructions, and instructions on Where to use it, and how far to be from that mic, and then also say you need 2 recordings of it (for editing purposes :-)
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Old December 26th, 2009, 07:39 AM   #6
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Make sure you get a pop filter too. This will save you from devastating plosives. As most USB mics are condensers, they are particularly susceptible to this. Also make sure they are right on the mic, no more than 6" away, that will help reduce ambient noise. If you're going for quality also make sure the USB mic can record 24-bit 48khz audio. Most can't.
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Old December 26th, 2009, 10:31 AM   #7
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Tim, if she's not recording tech savvy, you'll have to have someone attend the sessions or get her to use something like a minidisc recorder.

To get some quiet time and avoid any embarrassment she might record at home, they're easy to use and almost fail safe.

Cheers.
Hi Allan,

And thanks for the input from all.

Rather than writing "this company" I should have made it clear that in this case it's "our company". The CEO is my partner. However I live and work at my home which is about 3 hrs. away. I'm in the process of putting together some videos on Sorenson 360 which highlight and promote the training workshops we conduct.

Given that we're a distance apart, we'd like to able to put together short segments using the archive of video we're starting to build, along w/ audio of her narrating a given topic as a voice-over. New topics come up regularly so the more we can do remotely the more flexibility we'd have.

I do have my Zoom H2 recorder I could send down, but how would that compare to a stand-alone USB mic? If the Zoom would be a solution, would it be better w/ a ext. mic? I do have a NTG-3 we could use-- I assume there's an XLR/mini plug adapter of some kind?

We do have a quiet location to use so I don't think ambient noise would be that much of an issue.

So many questions... [g]
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Old December 26th, 2009, 04:20 PM   #8
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Hi Tim,

you have to be be practical so get the simplest set-up you can. There'll be times when you need last minute pick-ups and maybe in another location, you can bet on that.

Start with the Zoom by itself and see what she sounds like, you never know. It's training programs not national TV commercials. Make sure the Zoom is set to record from the front. The NTG-3 won't work it needs 48volts but a good external cardioid mic will, I'd get a SONY ECM MS908C with a pop filter on it. Get one with a 7 day exchange or return, just in case.

Run it in different rooms the deader sounding the better, keep off desks to avoid bounce, fit it to a mic stand. Let her try headphones, some people work better when they hear themselves.

The way I do it is, write the script, record it, lay it up then fit video to it. I use the RODE Podcaster in a PORTA-BOOTH straight into the computer, that's where it's going anyway and I don't have time to stuff around with transfers.

You'll need some test runs well before any deadlines and you should be there for the first sessions. Have someone else in the loop proof your scripts first and keep the vids under 20mins, that's the average attention span. Put them on Vimeo or similar and give the audience a key .. or Utube for everyone to watch. HTH

Cheers.
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Old December 27th, 2009, 06:55 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Tim Ribich View Post
...
We do have a quiet location to use so I don't think ambient noise would be that much of an issue.

So many questions... [g]
Quiet is only part of it ... you need to make sure even subtle sounds such as air conditioning breezes or computer fans are also well contrrolled and the room reflections are well controlled. A conventional office with a closed door isn't likely to be suitable even though it may well be relatively quiet. At the very least, take a look at the Porta-Booth mic enclosure.
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Old December 27th, 2009, 07:04 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Allan Black View Post
...
Start with the Zoom by itself and see what she sounds like, you never know. It's training programs not national TV commercials. ...
IMHO, the sound in training programs needs just as much care and attention as it does national TV ads and programmes or theatrical films. The key ingredient in any successful training program is credibility. Commercial entertainment programming sets the bar, sets the quality standards that everyone in out culture has internalized as being the norm for professional work. If what the learners see and hear on the screen in their training is in any way inferior to what they watch for entertainment, the credibility of the entire program is blown and it won't engage the viewers like it needs to do in order to deliver its message into their brains. The training goes in one ear and out the other.
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Old December 30th, 2009, 10:21 AM   #11
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After looking at a number of options, what I'm going to try is to fashion a rig along the lines of the PortaBooth (Amazon.com: Porta-booth - Portable Sound Studio with Two Compression Sacs: Everything Else). Unless I'm missing something, I just can't see paying $100+ for what I could make pretty easily (YouTube - DIY Portable Recording Studio).

I'm also going to try the CEntrance MicPort Pro - (B&H link: CEntrance Inc. | MicPort Pro USB Microphone Preamp | CE1801) with our current shotgun mic. as it appears this device will power the mic and the reviews/info I've found are quite favorable.

I use Sorenson Squeeze and will put some clips up on their Sorenson 360 site.

Thanks again for the input.

Tim

Quote:
Originally Posted by Allan Black View Post
Hi Tim,

you have to be be practical so get the simplest set-up you can. There'll be times when you need last minute pick-ups and maybe in another location, you can bet on that.

Start with the Zoom by itself and see what she sounds like, you never know. It's training programs not national TV commercials. Make sure the Zoom is set to record from the front. The NTG-3 won't work it needs 48volts but a good external cardioid mic will, I'd get a SONY ECM MS908C with a pop filter on it. Get one with a 7 day exchange or return, just in case.

Run it in different rooms the deader sounding the better, keep off desks to avoid bounce, fit it to a mic stand. Let her try headphones, some people work better when they hear themselves.

The way I do it is, write the script, record it, lay it up then fit video to it. I use the RODE Podcaster in a PORTA-BOOTH straight into the computer, that's where it's going anyway and I don't have time to stuff around with transfers.

You'll need some test runs well before any deadlines and you should be there for the first sessions. Have someone else in the loop proof your scripts first and keep the vids under 20mins, that's the average attention span. Put them on Vimeo or similar and give the audience a key .. or Utube for everyone to watch. HTH

Cheers.
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Old December 30th, 2009, 10:31 AM   #12
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Hi Steve,

As I mentioned, at this point the video will be used to "highlight and promote the training workshops"-- not be used for actual training. The audio will consist mostly of voice-over where our CEO will describe the workshops we conduct and will be delivered online.

But your point is well taken and while I certainly aspire to equal the quality of a national TV ad and/or a theatrical film, I don't thinks this particular effort enjoys quite that kind of a budget.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve House View Post
IMHO, the sound in training programs needs just as much care and attention as it does national TV ads and programmes or theatrical films. The key ingredient in any successful training program is credibility. Commercial entertainment programming sets the bar, sets the quality standards that everyone in out culture has internalized as being the norm for professional work. If what the learners see and hear on the screen in their training is in any way inferior to what they watch for entertainment, the credibility of the entire program is blown and it won't engage the viewers like it needs to do in order to deliver its message into their brains. The training goes in one ear and out the other.
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Old December 30th, 2009, 01:07 PM   #13
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I still think that recording the CEO needs your personal presence and attention to make sure that it is done the very best that it can be done, regardless of budget. Don't send the gear, whatever you choose. Take it to her and operate it yourself.
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Old December 30th, 2009, 07:06 PM   #14
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Tim I agree with Steve there. In all pro recording situations there is always a producer present .. leaving that up to your talent will definitely cause problems to the point where it could sink the project before it gets going. Having to call her to redo something she accidentaly mispronounced or missed is a decided no no. You'll never match it up.

After the first few you should be able to rig webcams and produce it (not record it) remotely, it's possible.
The worst thing that could happen now is you try and rush the first ones because of some deadline. Don't do that either.

The Porta-Booth. I thought I could build one and had a good look at what Harlan Hogan built. Note he says he's offering the new improved model, mmmm what's that?

Well that particular box is easy to get here, but I couldn't find small quantities of that shape Auralex acoustic panel he uses. And IMO that particular wedge shape is important, to get it I'd have to purchase mega packs of it, which HH would have done.

In the end I bought his rig via Amazon, if you build one follow his directions closely.

Harlan Hogan - Voice overs Narrations Commercials Promos

Disclaimer I'm not associated with HH, the Porta-Booth is horrific to professional studio designers but a great product never the less.

BTW read/listen to the Orson Welles Out-takes on his site, it's brilliant I can still recite it from memory. Your CEO should get a laugh too, if she doesn't you might have trouble :)

HNY Cheers.
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Old December 31st, 2009, 08:03 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Tim Ribich View Post
I'm also going to try the CEntrance MicPort Pro - (B&H link: CEntrance Inc. | MicPort Pro USB Microphone Preamp | CE1801) with our current shotgun mic. as it appears this device will power the mic and the reviews/info I've found are quite favorable.
This is what I was about to recommend - much better than a USB mic. as you can choose whatever mic. you want.

However, I would suggest she is recorded by someone who knows about mics.

If she *has* to do it herself, get her to record across a corner of a table to mionimise reflections off the table.
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