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Old November 26th, 2011, 09:07 AM   #1
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Opinions - Shotgun or Cardioid for Athletic Events?

Hello,

Just wanted to ask the community about a certain shooting situation. If you were filming an athletic event like a football or basketball game from a distance, would you use your shotgun or a normal cardioid mic?

The shotgun gives more of the field audio but some of the off-axis sound has a "tube" feel to it. The cardioid might give too much proximity audio like patrons talking & cheering. Which is the lessor of the evils?

Thanks for your input.
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Old November 26th, 2011, 11:02 AM   #2
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Re: Opinions - Shotgun or Cardioid for Athletic Events?

What exactly do you want to capture: general ambiance, specific players and sounds? Commentator? How many mics? Are they going to be on stands, camera mount, fish pole-run & gun? What will be the mic(s) proximity to walls, floors and ceilings? Have you considered other types of mics.. boundary, lav or other aux. spot mics. No one answer fits all. On a low budget, I would probably be set-up with shotgun for outdoor events, sight unseen.
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Old November 26th, 2011, 11:18 AM   #3
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Re: Opinions - Shotgun or Cardioid for Athletic Events?

And what's your shooting location? Out an open window in the pressbox? On the sidelines? In the stands? How far are you from the crowd?

You won't get network-quality "oofs" and "grunts" from the field, unless you're prepared to spend big bucks on something pretty esoteric.
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Old November 26th, 2011, 11:51 AM   #4
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Re: Opinions - Shotgun or Cardioid for Athletic Events?

Yep, sorry I did not provide enough info.

This would be in an on-camera type of situation with a single operator. I would favor the sounds of the game first along with the crowd involvement 2nd. Shooting would be from the stands, outside or non-booth situation.

Shotgun is what I have been using but the off axis music and cheering sounds off.

Thanks
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Old November 26th, 2011, 01:56 PM   #5
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Re: Opinions - Shotgun or Cardioid for Athletic Events?

I recorded at a racetrack once with both a shotgun and an omni. Of course, I didn't have to worry about reflections at the track, but frankly, I liked the omni. The shotgun gave me the car sounds. The omni captured the cars and the track announcer. As it turned out, the announcer voice was the most interesting for the edit. I didn't have to perfectly sync the sound with the picture, and I could let snippets of the announcer voice tell the story.

An omni in one channel and a super-cardioid in the other channel (for shoe squeaks and ball bounces) might be the ideal combination. You might also consider putting the super-cardioid on a stand or on the tripod, rather than the camera, to keep it from phasing as the camera pans.
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Old November 26th, 2011, 02:19 PM   #6
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Re: Opinions - Shotgun or Cardioid for Athletic Events?

Thanks for your reply Jon. Two mics sounds like the best solution. I see how if the shotgun moved too far away from the omni that phasing would occur, but would the shotgun in a fixed position cover enough of the playing area with its directionality?

I could mount them both on camera, one with the shoe mount and one on the viewfinder mount.
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Old November 26th, 2011, 02:49 PM   #7
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Re: Opinions - Shotgun or Cardioid for Athletic Events?

I wouldn't mix the two in post, I'd choose between them depending on whether you wanted more floor noise in one segment and the announcer voice in another. That way, there is no phasing problem at all.

It depends how close you are to the action and how wide the pattern is whether you'd capture a wide enough swath. Another approach would be to use an X-Y pair on a stand. You could quickly mix from one mic or the other during transitions, since most of the game is played at half court. If the pattern is narrow, I don't know that you'd get enough of the announcer though.

The on-camera shotgun has two problems: 1) tube interference designs do poorly when there is a lot of echo, and 2) panning a narrow pattern mic makes the sound unstable.
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Old November 26th, 2011, 03:08 PM   #8
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Re: Opinions - Shotgun or Cardioid for Athletic Events?

If I'm doing single or two camera football, I use the on camera mics and I put a couple of shotguns on the grass, one centre in each half, each radio'd back to ch 2 on the nearest camera - so I have 4 channels to choose from - I tend to use the two on camera mics panned half left and half right, which gives a stereo spread, but not an extreme one, and then mix in the touchline stuff for effect, mainly. On their own, they sound a little unnatural.
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Old November 26th, 2011, 04:01 PM   #9
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Re: Opinions - Shotgun or Cardioid for Athletic Events?

Great stuff Paul.
We take a case of mics to airshows and decide which to use based on the situation and weather, eg: any wind that blows up.

To single out aircraft on the ramp a Rode NTG-3 shotgun does the trick and an NT-4 stereo cardioid covers other situations.

For example I've got a selection of various single aircraft sounds flying overhead in stereo which I can lay in under mono outdoor interviews. That smooths out and provides continuity over the picture edits. You can make a single camera look like a multi cam shoot too.

In post we finish the whole edit then go back and lay in additional sfx where the show needs them. It's easy to make a quiet shoot look busy, even exciting with off cam sfx .. for any situation.

Whenever you're on location it's very important to come back with a selection of general stereo sfx which are employed in post to lay in and boost the pictures. By archiving and cataloguing all your sound effects, you're building your own custom sfx library. That can be an important selling point.

Even with 3D and all the other current camera hoopla .. sound is STILL 70% of what you see :)

Cheers.
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