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Old June 22nd, 2010, 01:28 AM   #16
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I’m now more seriously considering using the Countryman E6 headset mic.

Consensus seems to be that a pre amp might be something I could add later, but isn’t likely a really required piece of equipment. (do you all agree?… alternate opinions welcome)

Therefore, I should put the money into a good Lavaliere, and perhaps a countryman E6.


LETS LOOK AT THE COUNTRYMAN E6 AGAIN.
I have noticed many stage performers are using microphones like this. Although most of them have it attached to their ear with the ‘tube’ going across their cheek to their mouths, some have it in their hair. Indeed, one performer had it going down the part in his hair ending on his forehead at his hairline. Therefore….. If I consider using the Countryman E6, could I mount it in a hat, with just the tip of the tube protruding? Would the tube ending on my forehead give decent sound? Although I do not intend to wear a hat throughout the video, I routinely wear a welders cap while I fabricate metal parts, so this option would work for many scenes.

Feedback?

Along a similar line, what if I used the standard ‘ear mount’ but used a shorter ‘tube’. I know this would move it away from my mouth, but I would prefer it to be less ‘in my face’. How would this option compare?

Thanks for any insight you can offer. Even after aggressive reading here on dvinfo and elsewhere (indeed I feel like I’ve been ‘stalking Ty Ford after reading almost everything he has posted over the last few years) I still am WAY OVER MY HEAD on this microphone decision.

Thank you all,
Greg
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 10:12 AM   #17
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For a headset mic, the optimum position is usually close to the mouth. If you want a mic to be more discreet, or not seen at all, consider the B6. I've had great results when affixing a B6 to a hat, glasses, and at the hairline. Like a HS mic it moves with the head so it's very consistent and natural sounding, The only issue I have with B6 is it's very susceptible to wind. The vampire clip is an addition $10 or so, which is usually a must have.
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 12:17 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Borm View Post
...
Thanks for any insight you can offer. Even after aggressive reading here on dvinfo and elsewhere (indeed I feel like I’ve been ‘stalking Ty Ford after reading almost everything he has posted over the last few years) I still am WAY OVER MY HEAD on this microphone decision.

Thank you all,
Greg
Greg,

If it's any consolation, I've been looking at the audio side of video for months and it's still over my head too. (I need to buy Ty's book too.) I've been shooting pics for over 50 years and video for a little more than 10 years, so the video side is a little easier. But...

I didn't pay much attention to the audio side and I feel like a rank noob at audio. Now that I'm becoming more serious about video, I realized how important audio - in all its many flavors- is to good video. While it looks like audio preamp and recording technology has had some major changes in the last five years or so, it looks like people are still using 50 year old microphones to good effect. So there's 50 years of useful technology to choose from with lots of subtleties. IMO, it's reasonable to feel confused about microphones. (How's that for good justification?!? :-) )

Regards,

Dan.
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 02:42 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Rick Reineke View Post
For a headset mic, the optimum position is usually close to the mouth. If you want a mic to be more discreet, or not seen at all, consider the B6.
Still not clear (at least to me) what the downside of using a headset mic is? I didn't get the impression this was scripted, full suspension-of-belief drama here. If the OP is talking to the camera, the appearance of a little tube on one side should not be a big deal. Or have I missed something here? I just think that in that kind of ambient, even moving a mic as far away as collar or chest will make a huge difference in how much (undesired) ambient reverberation the mic captures. It could potentially make or break the feasibility of the project to the desired production value.
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 06:08 PM   #20
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Except if the OP is not a pro voice there's possible problems. eg: using a headset mic could result in unwanted heavy breathing as he say leans out over the car hood.

Greg if this project is going to run 2+yrs rent all the contenders and try each one out .. being comfortable is also a major factor.

btw you could do a certain proportion of this as voice over .. probably have to anyway as you patch it up.

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Old June 23rd, 2010, 01:57 PM   #21
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Final Mic Choice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Crowley View Post
Still not clear (at least to me) what the downside of using a headset mic is?

Good question Richard, I’ve been wondering what my reservation is as well. I suppose a big part of it is that all the ‘how to’ videos and TV shows I watch and am using as models for this project use a lavaliere. Unfortunately, I don’t have the sound stage set they do (although the feedback I have received here has convinced me I need to spend $800 - $1500 on ‘echo control’) None the less, I think necessity is beginning to warm me up to the Countryman E6.

One comment I keep hearing that has really resonated with me concerns my head movement. I have spent the last couple evenings reviewing automotive DVD’s and TV shows watching their head motion. I now fully realize how they control head motion when using a lavaliere and this clearly shows how easy a Countryman E6 headset would be to use. So….

HERE’S THE NEW PLAN, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS:

I am now thinking of getting a countryman E6 and a good lavaliere. I will ultimately need two microphones for sequences involving another worker, so I am inclined to buy both up front, rather than renting them first. This way I can play with both and choose the one I prefer to use in most of the shots and have the other available to use when it is needed. Perhaps I may occasionally use both at the same time so I can have the safety of redundancy and the ability to choose the best sound in post. This brings me to…

MIC SELECTION

HEADSET:
The Countryman E6 ($360) seems to be highly regarded. Indeed, it is the only one I’ve heard mentioned. Are there other choices I should look at?

LAVALIERE:
Here are my front running choices based on my research here on dvinfo:
1. Countryman B6 micro lav ($350)

2. Sanken Cos 11D ($450)

3. Tram TR50 ($310)

4. Sony ECM88B ($550)

So… what are everyone’s thoughts here?

Thanks again,
Greg
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Old June 23rd, 2010, 02:24 PM   #22
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Get 1 & 2 and you're golden. Make sure you get them wired for the wireless transmitter you are using. It's not a one size fits all. You could also get a thing to run them wired that also powers them, which sounds better. I can't find a link, but they run about 100.00.

COS11d: Sanken COS-11 Lavalier at DVcreators.net

Cool Vampire clip: LMC SOUND | LavMicClip

Here's a little test I did when I got my COS11D:

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Old June 23rd, 2010, 04:32 PM   #23
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If you go with the Sanken for a direct XLR output, make sure to order the version with the XLR converter. In black, the phantom-only version is the COS-11D-BK. The phantom/battery version is the COS-11D-BP-BK. They're the same price, but I seem to recall that the phantom only version has slightly better performance.

Down the road, you can always cut the wire and insert a TA3 connector pair if you want to make adapters for various wireless units. I bought a specific wireless model with a TA-5 and a generic XLR converter initially and it didn't work. I was able to buy the Sanken adapter separately, plus connectors, but it was a needlessly expensive path. Going for the official XLR version is the way to go.

If you have any questions, Martin at plus24 is very helpful and knowledgeable. (sales[-at-]plus24.net) plus24 is the US distributor and doesn't sell directly. I would imagine that they are the distributor for Canada as well.
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Old June 24th, 2010, 10:35 AM   #24
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Greg,

You've received a lot of good information here. You say:

<<I suppose a big part of it is that all the ‘how to’ videos and TV shows I watch and am using as models for this project use a lavaliere. >>

Those shows also probably have a dedicated sound mixer, a camera operator and a director. Not to mention lighting directors, gaffers, P.A.s, ad agency people, line producers, etc. My biggest concerns about what you are trying to do relate to the fact that you are doing them "unattended". If you get a big crackle in the audio while you are talking, you won't know it until you review the footage later. You will then need to try to reshoot that part and fit it in. What if the mic suddenly quits working? What if it just changes position enough that the sound quality changes dramatically? What if someone starts the washing machine in the next room and you can hear it on your sound track? All these things could be remedied immediately by a sound person. As far as video goes, How do you know that you are still in frame? How do you follow your movements without a camera operator? What about close ups?

I'm not trying to rain on your parade. You can produce something watchable all by yourself. It's just that it could take countless hours to keep redoing it to get it right. If you can do it with an audio person and camera op, it will make your life much easier (though will obviously cost more). In the end, I think it would be worth it.

Have fun!

Rob
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Old June 24th, 2010, 11:18 AM   #25
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Or better yet a camera guy who can also monitor the audio. Static shots with no movement are boring. I am an audio engineer, but I work as a One Man Band style video producer. Just one person wearing headphones, and gently following your moments with a camera will go a long way. Also you can pause and get close-ups. When working on engines, staying in wide shot will not convey a lot of what you're doing. Even if you got your wife to just monitor the audio for RF static bursts, and tell you you're in frame will really save a lot of grief. Especially since a retake means taking apart your engine.
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Old June 24th, 2010, 12:22 PM   #26
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Rob and Chad make good points. Having shot solo, dropped audio isn't a problem - but only if you can re-shoot. One thing for sure, 100% static camera shots will limit the quality of your project.

Regarding monitoring, the E6 might give you an extra advantage - it might allow you to wear a small in-ear monitor without looking too obvious. Monitoring one's self is far from foolproof, but if would at least let you hear that you have sound and no buzzes or crackles.

Two cameras can definitely help in the editing department. As said above, a wide, static shot is really boring. A second camera lets you show close work, and because it's done in one take, you can cut on motion for natural transitions. Trying to do multiple takes as an actor/director, it would be tough to ensure continuity across cuts. If you can get a camera op to move one camera while the other is static can help a lot.

B-roll is also your friend. You might consider getting a slider or home-built dolly. Showing a cam cover from sticks is dull. Handheld closeups can be shaky. But a macro view sliding down the piece can be dynamic and engaging. Since a car, parts and tools don't move on their own, camera motion is the key to bringing the project to life.

When you're on camera, a camera op will really help your project stay loose. Not only will you have camera movement, but you will have another person to engage with. Without an op, you risk making the project feel stiff.

You might contact a local school and find out if there are any video classes being given. You could talk with the instructor to see if they have any AV geeks (or gear heads) that they can recommend. You wouldn't think twice about hiring a kid to mow your lawn or feed the dog when you're on vacation. Why not hire one to be your production assistant? And if the local school is helpful, you might offer to speak to the class and tell them about your real-world project. You might just get some fans!
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Old June 24th, 2010, 12:56 PM   #27
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Yes, short of having another person help you, there is the option of using 2 cameras. One cam could be above you looking at what your hands are doing. Also, if you shoot in 1080p, you could put that footage in a 720p project, then zoom in digitally. It's not perfect, but done slowly, it will add dimension, and since you are editing in a 720p project, you aren't losing resolution when you zoom.

Here are some experiments I did with digital zooming. The camera was stationary on a tripod. With 2 cameras you could have a pretty dynamic show:

Ukulele Jam
YouTube - Joy To The World - Birthday Ukulele Jam - Rode NTG-3 Mic Test

Waste Time
YouTube - Waste Time - Chad Johnson - Original Song

Silly Earthquake Improvised Song
YouTube - Footage of 6.5 Earthquake in Eureka California 1//09/10 inspiring Improvised Silly Song
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Old June 24th, 2010, 01:58 PM   #28
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Advice for improving quality on a ‘one man’ production.

Thanks for the awesome advice on improving the quality of my ‘one man’ project.

The advice about static shots being boring is one of my fears!

Here are my thoughts on combating this problem. Each day will include two to three hours of work, likely resulting in a half hour of raw video. I anticipate setting up each one minute segment (for example) by starting with an opening on me discussing the next step, with my ‘script’ spoken over the full minute, without me doing any of the automotive work. Then change the camera position many times focusing on the work being done, including some with me as camera operator moving around the car part, etc. In post I anticipate using the shot of me as the basis of the segment (and all of the spoken script) and editing in the other cuts to show how the work is done.

To add camera motion I will likely have another worker join me for a short time each day to shoot ‘camera dolly’ and ‘reality hand held’ clips. These can then be cut in during the post work. This project really cannot support full time camera / audio operators (though I am being convinced to hire some for select shoots)

The idea of adding motion in post is also something I will utilize. Perhaps a second camera is in order as well (the budget gods will decide this).

As I video, I will be able to playback my work as I go to check for obvious video & audio issues.

Each day I will do the post production of the days work, identifying any additional shots I may need.



I also agree with the idea of taking film / audio classes but have yet to find anything local. The college wants me to enrol in a two (or more) year course, and I haven’t found any other local classes. Anyone know of some in your area that I could do on a vacation there? Something along the lines of an every day intensive three days on up to a two month set of classes would be awesome!


Any other ideas / advice?

Every day I learn and get closer to being properly prepared.
Thanks again,
Greg
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Old June 24th, 2010, 05:23 PM   #29
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This thread has gone from mics to production tips which I think are more helpful in this case. We're assuming you want to sell this series, too much work not to and you have to have something to aim for.

As I said ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Allan Black View Post
But if you're hoping to sell this and even though it's a long project at least use a camera operator.

If you don't it just won't work it's too restricting and you will end up with unusable footage resulting in frustration and wasted time to the point where you give up.
So you definitely need another person (cameraman) hopefully for the duration.
And it doesn't have to be a full time pro. A student to frame each shot, turn the camera on/off .. listen to the sound and most important check your continuity listening for any mistakes. You will make some over the years of production.

So you need to get an idea of each ep, prepare a breakdown and place running times in the margins. 30mins is long enough for this type of program .. leave breaks for commercials. Start each ep outside the garage or at a car show showing finished cars etc. Overshoot each ep with optional cuts for timing purposes .. and end each ep with some sort of cliffhanger.

Having done years of this, for you 2 cameras are overkill. With one camera after you shoot a sequence and you're having a break get your cameraman to shoot cutaways and closeups of the stuff you were just showing. You'll save costs big time .. and much tape.

And I wouldn't do any post production till you've finished shooting the first ep. Even with editing help you'll get better as you go and I'll bet you end up re cutting the first ep anyway. Before you shoot Ep2 run Ep1 past *reliable* people and have them fill out your questionnaire .. did they like it etc.

One thing I do if possible is shoot Eps 5-7, then do Eps1-4 so we have our chops fine tuned for the first impressions of the show .. tho it might not work in this case.

You better study lighting too, hire a one time pro to set that up.

Cheers.
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Old June 24th, 2010, 06:27 PM   #30
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Awesome Feedback!

This project doesn’t start for quite a while, so I have some lead-time to learn. On this note, I have just arranged a ‘warm up’ / practice project. Something shot in an automotive shop covering just one aspect of restoration. I will have a full time partner working with me on it who’s role will often be camera man (with his headphones on). I will buy and use the Countryman E6 through out to get comfortable with it and see how I feel using it. I think this sort of ‘warm up’ project is just the thing I need.

Thanks again everyone!

Please keep the advice coming,
Greg

PS. I will be away from my computer for the next two weeks, but will check back in as soon as I return, so don’t see my lack of response as any sign of loss of interest… Quite the opposite… I am very excited for this project now!
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