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Old June 9th, 2010, 10:15 AM   #1
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How to position a mic on a boom for an interview

Later this evening we'll be using the Sanken CS-3e for the first time. The mic will me mounted on a fixed pole in a single-person interview scenario. Obviously there are many factors that contribute to a successful recording. However, in general, what would be a good (typical) mic placement. I plan on getting the mic close to the person being interviewed while also being out of frame of the camera. What's a good angle (90 degrees?), how far in front of the person should it be placed and how high over head would be good? I know these are generalized questions so we'll use the responses as a good starting point. Thanks.
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Old June 9th, 2010, 12:49 PM   #2
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In general, I go with the end of the mic six to twelve inches above the top of the head, depending on the framing. The closer you get, the more bass (fuller sound) you get. I put the mic a few inches in front of the head so that it's angled back about 30 degrees from the straight down position, pointing at the mouth.

If you are using a fixed boom, the position depends on how much the person tends to move. If they are animated, raise the mic to get a wider capture area - or use a live boom op. If the talent is more restrained, a fixed low position can work.

Pointing the mic higher on the face gets more nasal tone. This can help with a dull voice. Pointing it lower gets more chest tone, which can help with a thin, nasal voice. Personally, I don't sweat this for dialog. This subtlety is more important when recording singers. And you can always EQ in post.

The most important thing is to keep the coverage consistent, so you don't end up with quiet, muffled parts against loud, booming parts. Consistency is much more important than absolute placement.
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Old June 9th, 2010, 04:34 PM   #3
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What Jon said plus I hope you plan on hearing what's going down via good phones. That should determine the best (safest) position for that mic.

When you meet the subject assuming they are going to be seated try and judge whether they're going to get animated, move about lean forward lay back etc. If he/she is .. first time out on a fixed pole I wouldn't get to close.

And what's the interview about, fun stuff or the latest trends in funerals. That should give you some clues .. and how are you going to pick up the questions or are you going to cut them in later.

When it all boils down as long as the dialogue is clear and easily understood that's the bottom line. Having to explain why your new $1500 mic sounds off mic and crappy is doing it the hard way. Play a test back first good luck.
Cheers.
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Old June 10th, 2010, 06:56 PM   #4
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well this is when more directional mics can bite you - the interviewee bops all over the place as they sometimes do. this is when something with a wider pickup pattern helps as long as the environment isn't too noisy. you can also just raise the mic a bit too to keep them in the pattern. all depends on what they do.

the main thing is to avoid letting the mic be pointed at the top of their head if they move forwards on you. then you will loose all the HF in their voice. it can be pretty noticeable even for the casual listener.

I generally tend to mic facing straight down with with a slight angle towards their face, 3-6" in front of their face, and pretty close to the frame line. however, I'm using a CMC64 which is a very different beast then what you have. while proximity effect ( increase in bass freq's ) does happen with all mics due to physics, some mics are much more prone to it then others, with a noticeable zone of where it comes and goes. thats just part of learning your mic and knowing when this will help or hurt you with the overall sound you are getting.
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Old June 10th, 2010, 10:37 PM   #5
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I always thought it would be cool to mount one of those miniature cameras for RC planes on the microphone, so you can see exactly where the mic is aiming. Sort of a POV from the mic's view of the world. Small monitor would be at the base of the boom pole.
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Old June 10th, 2010, 10:51 PM   #6
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I dunno, Warren.

Mics work with about the smallest electrical signals you'll encounter. I suspect any small camera - wired or especially wireless - would likely generate enough RF interference to have an unwanted effect on the tiny little audio signal coming along the same boom pole.

But, of course, it never hurts to try!.
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Old June 11th, 2010, 11:44 AM   #7
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I think most of the female talent would object to the camera / boom mic combo as well...
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Old June 11th, 2010, 12:37 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Davis View Post
I dunno, Warren.

Mics work with about the smallest electrical signals you'll encounter. I suspect any small camera - wired or especially wireless - would likely generate enough RF interference to have an unwanted effect on the tiny little audio signal coming along the same boom pole.
Good point! Never thought about this.

Quote:
I think most of the female talent would object to the camera / boom mic combo as well...
Never thought about this either...lol I guess my brilliant idea is dead then.
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Old June 14th, 2010, 12:13 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Davis View Post
I dunno, Warren.

Mics work with about the smallest electrical signals you'll encounter. I suspect any small camera - wired or especially wireless - would likely generate enough RF interference to have an unwanted effect on the tiny little audio signal coming along the same boom pole.

But, of course, it never hurts to try!.
The reason we use balanced cables is to negate this sort of interference on the run.

You reminded me of this old video: Scrubs Blog: My Boom Cam FRED Entertainment
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Old June 14th, 2010, 11:39 PM   #10
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Thanks everyone for your replies.
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