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Old March 2nd, 2012, 01:53 PM   #1
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Looking for a single mic to work in several situations

Hi,

I have an opportunity to film a series of interviews and because of this I need to step up my audio game and finally buy a mic. I really don't have the $ for a separate DVR, Mixer and all, I'm looking for a single wired ENG mic to plug into my camera's XLR port and improve my sound quality.

My question is, were I to buy a Shure SM63LB, I know that with a wind screen that is best suited for outdoors hand held, what about indoors on a stand between 2 people at a table? Would it work "OK" for recording some basic voice-over?

I know different mics are suited for different things, i'm wondering however if I were to start off with an ENG mic, if that would get me by for a while until I can spring for a shotgun, and a wireless lav set.

Thanks
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Old March 2nd, 2012, 03:11 PM   #2
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Re: Looking for a single mic to work in several situations

A hand-held reporter's mic would work well indoors or outdoors, If used in the fashion it was designed for.. in close proximity to the person speaking. (generally less than one foot away) In a two person interview scenario, It would likely NOT work so good.. as a substitute for two lavs or a boom mic and operator.
You could probably 'get away' with using it for non-broadcast VOs, if a quiet and acoustically 'dead' room were available... however noise from the camera's pre amps may be audible if the "VO artist" is a low-talker.
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Old March 2nd, 2012, 03:21 PM   #3
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Re: Looking for a single mic to work in several situations

A hand-held reporter's mic (SM63, RE50, MD42) would work well indoors or outdoors, If used in the fashion it was designed for.. in close proximity to the person talking. (generally less than one foot away) In a two person interview scenario, It would likely NOT work so good.. as a substitute for two lavs or a boom mic and operator.
You could probably 'get away' with using it for non-broadcast VOs if a quiet and acoustically 'dead' room were available... however noise from the camera's pre amps may be audible if the "VO artist" is a low talker.
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Old March 2nd, 2012, 03:31 PM   #4
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Re: Looking for a single mic to work in several situations

Thanks for the reply Rick. I'm sorry for being so uneducated about this stuff. What would be the preferred SUPER BUDGET recording method? I know I'm supposed to have a separate audio operator with a field mixer, DVR, boom with mic and wired lav's on each person... with the breakaway cable going to the camera for redundancy... and maybe a shotgun on the camera as well. I just can't swing that. I've got a few hundred dollars to spend and want to increase my audio quality. The 2 projects I have upcoming are, a series of interviews to be placed on youtube, and a sailboat training DVD which will be voiced over and sold (I hope). If those go well... I'll be adding to my kit.
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Old March 2nd, 2012, 04:50 PM   #5
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Re: Looking for a single mic to work in several situations

I've been using the SM63 for a long time and indoors on a stand between 2 people works great....As long as the people aren't sitting more than a couple of feet apart, say at a small table and the mic is positioned properly between them. (The people really need to be almost shoulder to shoulder)
I've done numerous interviews like that and it's works out quite well.
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Old March 2nd, 2012, 05:19 PM   #6
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Re: Looking for a single mic to work in several situations

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Owens View Post
Thanks for the reply Rick. I'm sorry for being so uneducated about this stuff. What would be the preferred SUPER BUDGET recording method? I know I'm supposed to have a separate audio operator with a field mixer, DVR, boom with mic and wired lav's on each person... with the breakaway cable going to the camera for redundancy... and maybe a shotgun on the camera as well. I just can't swing that. I've got a few hundred dollars to spend and want to increase my audio quality. The 2 projects I have upcoming are, a series of interviews to be placed on youtube, and a sailboat training DVD which will be voiced over and sold (I hope). If those go well... I'll be adding to my kit.
You can't get around the laws of physics that govern the behavior of sound and microphones. A hand-held dynamic like the one you're considering will work, IF you can get it close enough to the person speaking. "Close enough" for this type of mic means that it is held about 4 inches from the speaker's mouth. I'd be concerned that putting it in a fixed position on a stand between two people seated facing each other is going to put it too far from either one of them for good pickup.
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Old March 2nd, 2012, 06:39 PM   #7
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Re: Looking for a single mic to work in several situations

If you had to buy just ONE mic i would buy a Rode NTG2....
Can be used as an interview mic.
Can be used as a camera mic.
Can be used as boom mic.
Can be fitted (with the right cable) to a radio mic TX.
Not overly expensive, multi powered and quite usable.
It may not be the BEST mic for ALL situations but is a good compromise between most...

BUT.... you will need a fluffy windshield as well as the supplied foamy if you are going to do anything serious outdoors.
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Old March 3rd, 2012, 05:02 AM   #8
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Re: Looking for a single mic to work in several situations

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Originally Posted by Brian P. Reynolds View Post
If you had to buy just ONE mic i would buy a Rode NTG2....
Can be used as an interview mic.
Can be used as a camera mic.
Can be used as boom mic.
Can be fitted (with the right cable) to a radio mic TX.
Not overly expensive, multi powered and quite usable.
It may not be the BEST mic for ALL situations but is a good compromise between most...

BUT.... you will need a fluffy windshield as well as the supplied foamy if you are going to do anything serious outdoors.
A short gun is a good suggestion and the NTG-2 is one that fits into the OP's budget but we do have to be realistic in our expectations for it.

Gun's are iffy in typical interiors that haven't been acoustically treated such as a soundstage might be. Most residential and business location interiors are highly reflective and a high proportion of indirect to direct sound plays havoc with a gun's sound quality.

Gun's are very directional and there's no way a single stationary shotgun can cover two people. The aiming lee-way is about +/- 15 degrees from dead-on directly pointed at the speaker's mouth. From a typical working distance of 24 inches, that means it can be pointed at one person while leaving the other off-mic or it can point between them putting BOTH of them off-mic. That circle of optimum pickup is just too small to encompass two people at once. A 'gun needs an alert and skilled boom operator to shift the mic's aim from person to person as the conversation flows.
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Old March 4th, 2012, 10:45 AM   #9
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Re: Looking for a single mic to work in several situations

When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail.

You can play a round of golf with just one club, but it's not much fun.

No, there is no one-size-fits-all mic. Yes, (as Brian suggests) you can use an NTG-2, or any shotgun mic with an onboard battery in lots of places. It just won't sound as good for the reasons Steve mentions.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old March 4th, 2012, 11:48 AM   #10
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Re: Looking for a single mic to work in several situations

I did an an intro for an audition DVD a month, or so back. It was in a very reflective lobby with high ceilings and lots of glass. I used a RODE NTG-3, with Blimp, on a Boom-pole. It was the wrong tool and the results were terrible. It was the perfect example of the 'bathroom' sound, so often cited. I agonized over the results and finally talked the Producer into re-taking the 'intro'. This time we used a Senn. remote Lav and got good results, although it was a little 'bright' to my ears. We also did a take using an Audio-Technic AT4053(b) Hyper-Cardioid mic (I'd just purchased it) on the Boom with just the foam wind screen that comes with it, both were acceptable. Surprisingly, the AT4053(b) did not perform as well as I thought it would. It's more 'directional' than I expected and it has to be a lot closer to the talent then I'd planned, almost to the point of being in the shot.

For a cardioid mic I'd look at the Rode NT3, For $270 I'm not sure what else I would look at that will beat it. Maybe the Audio-Technica AT4041 for a little bit more but i still prefer the sound of the Rode better. I'd also recommend a Sennheiser G3 100ENG remote kit, it's pricey ($700?), but it answers a lot of situations. Make sure you don't get cheap XLR cables, look for Neutrik connectors, if you can find them. I don't know what camera you'll be using, if your's has a decent 'audio block', then use it. Don't add to the complication right now. I was given this advice by a gentleman named Garrett Low when I asked about a kit for under $2K. I know that's above you budget threshold, but you need to aspire. Heh, heh!

So for under $2000 to get a good sound kit I would look at getting:

Sennheiser G3 100ENG wireless sysetm - $799
Rode NT-3 - $269
Rode NTG-3 (B&H has it with a shock mount and short cable) - $699
25' XLR cable - $30 (avoid really cheap cables, I look for Neutrik connectors)
Wind Protection - $60 (Rode WS7 - good but won't stop heavy wind noise, need a blimp for that)
Boom stand - $50 (something like this works great EI501 Video Boom Light Stand Sandbag Combo kit | eBay).

You could get away with just the wireless and shotgun. For now use the wireless in situations where you would use the cardioid. Then, later add the cardioid. It really depends upon your needs.

I hope this helps.

J.
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Old March 4th, 2012, 12:32 PM   #11
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Re: Looking for a single mic to work in several situations

"Surprisingly, the AT4053(b) did not perform as well as I thought it would. It's more 'directional' than I expected and it has to be a lot closer to the talent then I'd planned, almost to the point of being in the shot."

This is the correct placement of an AT4053b or any hyper or supercardioid.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old March 4th, 2012, 01:50 PM   #12
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Re: Looking for a single mic to work in several situations

Ty...yes, I am learning. Your book, "Audio Bootcamp Field Guide" has been a wonderful resource.

Best regards,

J.
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Old March 4th, 2012, 03:27 PM   #13
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Re: Looking for a single mic to work in several situations

How does a Mic like the VP82 compare to the NTG-2? I can find a BUNCH of recordings of the NTG-2 but none on the Shure. All I know is Shure mic's. That's what my church uses and I trust their quality.
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Old March 4th, 2012, 04:35 PM   #14
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Re: Looking for a single mic to work in several situations

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Owens View Post
How does a Mic like the VP82 compare to the NTG-2? I can find a BUNCH of recordings of the NTG-2 but none on the Shure. All I know is Shure mic's. That's what my church uses and I trust their quality.
While I don't know about that specific mic, Shure has a good reputation for professional broadcast, sound reinforcement, and installed sound applications and so I would expect it to be of decent quality. It does require phantom power to operate and I don't recall you mentioning if your camera provides it or not. The NTG-2 has an internal battery so it can operate without external phantom. As to which is the "better" mic, that would be hard to say. But my remarks about the issues surrounding using a shotgun in your particular application would hold equally true for either one.
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Old March 4th, 2012, 04:55 PM   #15
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Re: Looking for a single mic to work in several situations

My camera is an XL H1 so yes it has phantom power. I also plan to get a Tascam DR100 or similar which has phantom as well. With that said, would the mic's on the DVR be suitable for now for my interior table top use (both the interviews and voiceover?)
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