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Old May 21st, 2011, 03:00 PM   #1
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The simple (and cheap) things

I did a series of indoor, one person interviews yesterday using a Sanken COS-11D and a Soundelux U97 (S/N 1!) in super cardioid mode on a stand into a Fostex FR-2LE recorder. The sound is good, but could be better.

Did I need better mics? No. The Soundelux sounds especially good. Did I need a better recorder? No, the hiss is very, very low. Better cables? Better position? No. All that was great.

What I needed was a few crummy blankets hung between stands. And maybe some sandbags to keep the stands vertical. The room had opposing hard walls and windows with little to break up the sound. Echo was the problem and no mic or recorder would have changed that.

I'm being picky here. The sounds is really quite good. The target audience isn't likely to notice.

But blankets? They're cheap compared to mics and recorders. And they would have helped us block stray light for a more controlled lighting situation. A double win!

Sometimes, simple solutions beat expensive ones. :)
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Old May 21st, 2011, 04:18 PM   #2
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Re: The simple (and cheap) things

I've been meaning to pick up about 6 moving blankets from Harbor Freight for a while now. Good for so many things. Like you said, cutting down bad reflections, blocking sunlight...Or as a boom op, it would be nice to either stand on one of these or kneel on one folded several times. Every time I work a shoot it seems there's always one shot that I have to boom low, which means I end up kneeling on some hard and cold floor for several hours. Another use would be to put one down for actors to walk on if I'm getting too much footstep noise on a hard floor. +1 for moving blankets!
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Old May 21st, 2011, 09:35 PM   #3
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Re: The simple (and cheap) things

I've got to admit, bringing the world's greatest mic to a shoot feels cool. Lugging around a bunch of heavy, bulky stands, blankets, and sandbags feels uncool. Dammit Jim, I'm an audio guy, not a grip. ;)

Too bad that no mic would be as effective!

Great point about having the blankets for the knees. When you can stop the pain, "cool" no longer matters. :)
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Old May 21st, 2011, 10:38 PM   #4
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Re: The simple (and cheap) things

Just about every shoot I do sound for, I end up kneeling on a marble or concrete floor thinking "Oh yeah, I should buy knee pads". Moving blankets would do double duty here, I think.
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Old May 22nd, 2011, 01:39 AM   #5
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Re: The simple (and cheap) things

And of course after a hard days shooting you can use the blankets to rest those weary eyes and ears.

Maybe someone should market them as the all purpose mobile recording studio, stick a clapper board logo on and triple the price.
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Old May 22nd, 2011, 10:45 AM   #6
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Re: The simple (and cheap) things

Once was shooting in a college chapel with very high windows. Even with the shutters closed, a sliver of light was landing directly on the performer. I got a blanket from my car, stuck it on the top of mic stand, raised it to 15', and viola -- instant shade.

I've found doormats to be especially useful.
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Old May 22nd, 2011, 11:00 PM   #7
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Re: The simple (and cheap) things

A 15' mic stand? You work with really tall performers. :)
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