Audio Recommendations For Guitar Lesson Videos at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > All Things Audio

All Things Audio
Everything Audio, from acquisition to postproduction.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old November 16th, 2010, 08:01 PM   #1
New Boot
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Hays, Kansas
Posts: 10
Audio Recommendations For Guitar Lesson Videos

Hello,

I'm a guitar player who records short instructional videos that I post on the web for my students. I'm looking for a new microphone to capture my voice while talking and am hoping to receive some recommendations from you. To give you some background on what I'm currently using, I record my video with a Sony HC9 miniDV video camera (about $1000 camera). It's not a high-end camera by any means, but it produces excellent video quality for the web. I record my guitars direct from a preamp into a Mackie mixer. I record my voice using a Countryman B3 microphone which also runs into the Mackie mixer. From the Mackie mixer, the guitar and voice signals go through a BeachTek XLR adapter which then goes into the HC9. I usually hide the B3 microphone in my hat which works better than attaching it to a shirt because the signal always stays the same regardless how I turn my head, and I don't have to worry about the guitar hitting the mic as I move around. Hidden in my hat, the B3 is approximately 6 inches away from my mouth which is about the same distance it would be if clipped on my chest. As much as I really like the B3 microphone because it captures my voice as if I'm standing right next to the person viewing the video, the one issue that I've always had with it is that it picks up all sorts of extraneous sounds from my computer (if it's on when I record) to airplanes flying overhead to trains rolling down the track to cars driving down the street to televisions being on located on the other side of the house, etc. It's a very sensitive microphone as I'm sure you are aware, and I spend a lot of time in post production trying to remove most of these noises. In fact, I spend more time in post production than I do actually shooting the videos, and I'm reaching the point of being so frustrated with these background noises that I'm starting to lose motivation for doing the videos. I'm needing to find some kind of microphone that I can ideally place 2-3 ft. away from me on a microphone stand that will reject more of these noises so I can spend more time teaching and less time editing audio. I don't expect to find anything that will completely eliminate all of the extraneous noises, but there simply has to be something better available that will clean up my audio without seriously degrading the quality of my voice. I'd be willing to sacrifice some voice quality if it meant that the mic didn't capture all these noises. I wouldn't be against purchasing another lavalier microphone as long as it could be worn in a hat and reject more noise than the B3. In terms of a budget, I really need to keep the cost of the microphone below $500 ($200-300 would be ideal), but I'd be willing to spend more if it means that I don't have to spend much time editing audio in post production. Any suggestions you might be able to make would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

CJ
CJ Engel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 16th, 2010, 09:08 PM   #2
Major Player
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 975
Hi CJ,

You probably want to invest in a hypercardioid microphone. It is essentially a short boom microphone that has good off-axis rejection with similar proximity effect (same thing as off axis rejection) as human hearing or slightly more discrete in picking up sounds.

All the major microphone manufacturers carry these, like Sennheiser, Audio-Technica which are fairly common brands in the video world. There are some others that are off the beaten track like Oktava that has a bit of a cult following. The Sennheiser K6/ME66 is fairly popular. I use the K6/ME64 combo as an on camera mic, it is slightly shorter than the ME66 capsule so the off-axis rejection isn't quite as great. There is also the Audio-Technica 835a which is even less expensive. Both The Senn and the AT mics can operate of a battery. The Sennheiser K6 is actually a mic preamp that can house a single AA battery. Having the option of a self-powered phantom powered mic can be very useful if some of your cameras or recording devices don't offer phantom power.

You should be able to try out one or both of these mics in a local shop, at least one would hope so you can check out the audio characteristics of each.

Good luck.

-Andrew
Andrew Stone is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 16th, 2010, 09:29 PM   #3
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Arcata, Ca
Posts: 750
The logical solution would be to control your set. Lav mics are omni patterns by nature and pick up everything. You can't get much better than having the mic 6" from your mouth, so the only real solution is to control your set.

Why not turn off your computer? You don't need it for the lesson do you? Otherwise you could cover the tower with moving blankets from U-Haul.

Is your room treated for reflections? A "dead" room will capture extraneous noise, rather than reflect them. If you don't have a carpet, consider getting a rug. Close open windows. Turn off air conditioning/heaters. If you have a refrigerator nearby, unplug it. These are all things that must be done on any set, as there is no magic mic that filters out these sounds. For 99.00 Auralex can get you started with some wall treatment to kill reflections.

Along with controlling your set. A possibility may be using a hypercardioid mic on your voice. But really look into your room, or possibly move into a quieter room.

Cheers
__________________
My Work: http://www.youtube.com/ChadWork1
Sony FS5 :: Panasonic GH4 :: Sony PMW-EX1 :: FCPx :: AT4053b :: Rode NTG-3,
Chad Johnson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 16th, 2010, 09:32 PM   #4
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Phoenixville, PA
Posts: 223
Hi CJ,

You could try a more directional microphone, but to be honest you really need to find a quieter location to shoot your lessons. If that is not an option try hanging some heavy blankets around the room and shoot at a different time of day. Walk around the house and unplug anything that makes any noise at all. Turn off the heater or A/C and remove any ticking clocks. I usually record my voice overs late at night or very early in the morning. Not much traffic around here during those hours.
To answer your question about the mic 2 feet in front of you on a stand, a SM 57 should do the trick. You might already have one. For a lav I suggest the AT898.
Kevin Walsh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 16th, 2010, 10:01 PM   #5
New Boot
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Hays, Kansas
Posts: 10
Thanks for your suggestions. With the research that I've conducted so far and the feedback I've received from most videographers, I'm currently leaning towards some kind of microphone with a hypercardioid pattern. I've always been a fan of Rode microphones in particular. I currently have a Rode Procaster that I like to use for lesson narrations that only require audio with no video. In a perfect world, I'd like to use the Procaster for everything because it's the best microphone I've tested over the years in terms of ambient noise rejection. The problem with the Procaster is that you really need to be within a few inches of the mic in order to get the best sound. Since I'm going to need to place the microphone probably 2-3 feet away in order to keep it out of camera view, the Procaster won't work. I know a lot of guys like to use the Rode NT3 for video work, but I don't know how it would sound 2-3 feet away from my mouth. The NT1-A looks cool and is very popular, but just looking at the way its built would lead me to believe that it would pick up too much ambient room noise. If taping in another room would be an option, I would definitely do it, but I only have one room available to record in (where all my gear is located). I would also prefer to record at night if I could, but there are other people in the house so recording late at night really isn't an option. If I had a basement location and could record at night when no one is around, I'd just continue using the B3 because it sounds great. It just picks up too much background noise during the day. This is a small town, but I live less than a mile from the local airport and railroad tracks so I actually know the exact times of the day not to record due to planes and trains. They all come through on a fairly regular schedule. Unfortunately, I can't control the traffic on the street (the Procaster actually rejects the planes, trains, and automobiles really well). I used a Shure SM57 and SM58 years ago for recording different things, and I don't think they would get the job done in this context. The SM58 was good as long as it was within a couple inches of your mouth, and I used the SM57 for recording speaker cabinets which is still a widely accepted practice in recording studios.

CJ
CJ Engel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 16th, 2010, 11:36 PM   #6
New Boot
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Hays, Kansas
Posts: 10
I forgot to mention in the previous post that my recording room is filled with Auralex on all of the walls. I figured out a few years ago that the Auralex works great when it comes to keeping my recording room about as quiet as it can possibly get. I actually just removed all of the Auralex for cleaning last week and had forgot how much it affects the room in terms of killing all the reverb that naturally bounces off the walls. I typically turn off my computer when doing video. I'm buying a new computer in a couple weeks which is being constructed to virtually eliminate fan noise, etc. so I'm expecting to be able to leave it on while recording video in the future. The room is carpeted. The one window in the room hasn't been opened in several years. The heater/AC always gets turned off before hitting the record button. I've did about everything I can to isolate the room. The only thing I haven't done yet is replace the omni-directional B3 microphone. I called a friend of mine a little earlier to inquire about the possibility of using an SM57 because I hadn't used one in a long time and he uses them all the time to record speaker cabinets, and he didn't think it would work well for voice at the 2-3 ft. distance. He thought there would be too much signal loss which means that I'd have to turn up my mic preamp which would just add hiss to the track. And, like was suggested, lavalier mics are omni patterns by nature so I'll probably need to get away from that format and try to find something that is more directional.

CJ
CJ Engel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 16th, 2010, 11:45 PM   #7
New Boot
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Hays, Kansas
Posts: 10
I own over 100 instructional videos for guitar, and there are only a few CS where the microphone is in sight. I've seen a few where the instructor has on a lavalier, but it does cause problems in terms of guitars rubbing against the clothes, etc. If I was setup as a talking head like a news broadcaster where there was no movement, a lavalier would work better. When you have an instrument in your hands, there is movement that takes place. Most of the instructional videos seem to be recorded with an overhead microphone. I should probably try to find the contact information for the video companies that produce these videos to see exactly what they are using.

CJ
CJ Engel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 17th, 2010, 12:05 AM   #8
New Boot
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Hays, Kansas
Posts: 10
As you can probably see from the information in my additional posts, I've actually been doing instructional videos for many years and have, through trial and error, figured out lots of little tricks to isolate my recording room as much as is physically possible from the outside world. The only aspect of the video production that I haven't pursued until recently is finding a more directional microphone than my B3. I have a limited amount of funds available so, unfortunately, I can't just go out and buy a dozen different microphones to A/B test. That's why I was hoping for some good advice on this forum. I was thinking there has to be someone out there that has been in a similar situation. I'm definitely open to receiving more room suggestions such as using things like Auralex, turning every electrical device around off, etc., but most of that stuff I figured out years ago (most of which I'd consider common sense). I'm really more in need of advice when it comes specifically to microphones and which ones are going to give me a solid, more directional vocal sound while at the same time still rejecting more noise than a B3.

CJ
CJ Engel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 17th, 2010, 12:07 AM   #9
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Arcata, Ca
Posts: 750
If all these room-quieting things are in place, then what's the mic picking up? I'd experiment with placement, then possibly try a cardioid lav.

There is also the Rode PinMic, that looks like a black or silver dot on your shirt, with the cable behind the shirt. I can vouch that it is a great sounding mic, ad you can buy any type of connector for it for 20-30 bucks (XLR, Sennheiser wireless, 1/8"). The mic is 250.00.
__________________
My Work: http://www.youtube.com/ChadWork1
Sony FS5 :: Panasonic GH4 :: Sony PMW-EX1 :: FCPx :: AT4053b :: Rode NTG-3,
Chad Johnson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 17th, 2010, 12:43 AM   #10
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Tucson AZ
Posts: 2,207
Schoeps CMC 641 would be great - at around $1800

But I think even one of these great mics will pick up extraneous noise like airplanes, lawnmowers, whatever - they're good at rejecting off axis sound but if the noise is coming from close to on axis or from directly behind the mic they won't help much. A good hypercardioid on a boom just out of the picture will probably be the best you will get besides a lav. But if you move your head around a lot, then your voice will fade in and out. The Sanken CS 3e (around $1400) gets really good marks because it uses electronics to cancel the off axis and rear noise, so it might be a possibility

There are some cardioid lavs around but if you have the B3 within 6 inches of your mouth and your voice isn't overwhelming every other sound then I have to think the room (despite your best efforts so far) is just too noisy. Cardioid lavs are sensitive to head movement but if it's stuck more or less to your forehead one of them might do the trick. Worth thinking about.

Do you have a short clip of one of your recordings you could post - maybe listening to it will give us some ideas about your odds of success.
Jim Andrada is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 17th, 2010, 01:52 AM   #11
Trustee
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
Posts: 1,521
Not being funny here, but have you tried speaking louder and turning the mic level down a bit?

Since I don't think you'll be able to attach files yet, can you give us a link to some your instructional videos?
Perhaps the noises off are not so intrusive as you fear when viewed over the internet.

PS Try not to take offence at CS. He may not have a Masters in Diplomacy but he talks a lot of sense and I thought his advice was quite well worth considering, although it did rather seem to be wrapped round a brick and thrown through your window.
Colin McDonald is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 17th, 2010, 02:43 AM   #12
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Honolulu, HI
Posts: 2,053
You might consider Countryman's E6 Omni earset mic.

I saw it demo'd at NAB and it was good at isolating a talent's voice from extraneous noise. Not perfect but much, much more effective than a conventional lav.

It's very small and inconspicious.

E6 Omni Earset Mic - Countryman Associates, Inc.
__________________
Dean Sensui
Exec Producer, Hawaii Goes Fishing
Dean Sensui is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 17th, 2010, 03:12 AM   #13
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: LOWESTOFT - UK
Posts: 2,125
I'm not going to get into the too and fro here, but some things are simply down to physics.

If you wish to not hear what is going on in the room, the ONLY answer is proximity to the mic. It's simply the inverse square law. You can use a VERY long shotgun a long way away - but there is still a microphone element in there - and all that clever interference rejection won't help a loud sound close to it, off-axis. It still gets heard. Shorter shotguns, then hypers, then cardioids all need to get progressively closer, but what they all need for isolation is LOUD sound in the business end, so the gain can be dropped, removing the background.

With hypers and even more narrow mics, they still hear the room behind your subject, and even with some diffusion on the walls, they will sound less precise.

If you are a musician who moves, it's just going to be horrible. You mention your mic in the hat. You like the sound, but need more isolation? I'm really not being funny, but if you like wearing a hat, why not use it with a piece of flower arranging wire to get the mic even closer to the mouth? The sound improvement will be huge. Fair enough, it looks a little like 'Captain Scarlet' (Google it if you don't understand UK children's TV) but the ONLY way to gain isolation is distance reduction. Look at any well known theatrical production of Broadway/West End shows - if there was a way of getting better audio without boom mounted mics, they'd use it. Even pop performers are forced into using them when on-stage levels are high, yet they need clean audio.

What you want, and keep coming back to simply won't do what you want. Maybe a shotgun, just out of shot carefully aimed and tracked keeping your mouth aligned perfectly would be a touch better - but you're not going to get the close miked sound you seem to want, rather then slightly thinner sound of a distant mic.

The reality is that I have a similar studio here, and the fans in the computer and the amps can be clearly heard - BUT you can also hear the natural sound of a Strat and Les Paul being played quite clearly in the background.

I know this isn't what you want to hear, but if you really want clean and precise audio, with little or no room sound, then close miking, NOT distant miking is required.
Paul R Johnson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 17th, 2010, 07:13 AM   #14
Wrangler
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 4,093
If no realtime solutions end up working out, perhaps you could foley in your voice afterwards?

You'd use a dedicated guitar mic, a separate mic that's out of frame to roughly record your voice, then do the voiceover afterwards to match what you spoke/sang. That does guarantee some extra time in post and might take a little practice to get the hang of it, but should give you really clean sound without too much editing pain. Just a thought.
__________________
Pete Bauer
The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. Albert Einstein
Trying to solve a DV mystery? You may find the answer behind the SEARCH function ... or be able to join a discussion already in progress!
Pete Bauer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 17th, 2010, 08:04 AM   #15
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 5,742
I concur with Dean - a headworn mic such as the aforementioned Countryman would get the capsule even closer to the mouth than the "lav in a hat."

One thing missing from your posts that can influence the decision is any mention of how you are recording the guitar. Is it an acoustic guitar and you're micing it or is it electric and you're recording directly off its pickup or amp through a DI box? Have you considered the possiblility that the background noises are coming in through the guitar side of things rather than through your lav mic?
__________________
Good news, Cousins! This week's chocolate ration is 15 grams!
Steve House is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > All Things Audio

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:56 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network