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Old September 10th, 2012, 06:19 PM   #16
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Re: The most directional mic under us$600?

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Originally Posted by Rafael Lopes View Post
...Would getting one of these mics very close to the actors' face isolate his speech from the cars' sounds? I dont mean completely delete the cars' sounds, I mean make the actors' speech perfectly understandable? Again, bare in mind Im painting a very worst case scenario here just so we can be objective.
The inverse square law works in your favour in those circumstances. It says the intensity of the sound hitting the mic vary with the square of the distance, In other words, doubling the distance reduces the sound by a factor of 4. Or going the other way, halving the distance increases the sound level by a factor of 4. So imagine with the mic held 6 feet from the subject the cars passing by happen to be recorded at the same intensity as his spoken voice. Move the mic to 3 feet from the subject. The distance to the cars hasn't really changed so their loudness stays the same. But the voice just became 4 times louder than the cars because the mic is half as far away as it was before. Move it in to 1.5 feet. Again the loudness of the cars won't change, but the voice is now 16 times louder than it was when we started. The is why even an omni hand-held reporter's mic can give good isolation - holding it a couple of inches away from the subject's mouth means the voice is much louder than the volume of the interfering sounds in the environment. And this is why several posts have said that mic placement is more critical to success than is the choice of a given polar pattern and MUCH more critical than comparing the width of the pattern between different shotgun mics.
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Old September 10th, 2012, 06:37 PM   #17
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Re: The most directional mic under us$600?

I know the AT8015 its a pretty old mic but I was very impressed by the sample on the video and how well it isolated side noise. I know the sound was not the cleanest or fullest, but the isolation sounded great and with some work in post I think the results could be pretty good. Wouldnt you guys agree? I mean, did you see how far the camera was from the girl and how much of the surrounding noise the AT8015 managed to cut? I have to say that in my ignorance Im impressed because these are the type of shooting conditions Im talking about.
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Old September 10th, 2012, 07:01 PM   #18
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Re: The most directional mic under us$600?

IMO even with the AT8015 the sound was still unacceptable. it sounded like it was still too far away. from the framing the mic could have been place probably about 3 feet below and about 2 feet in front of the lady, It sounded like it was still about 8 to 10' away. I personally would have tried to boom her from the top and framed her a bit differently so that I could get the mic in tighter. But then I've got a boom stand with a 10' boom. Comes in real handy for situations like this. That's another story though.

I still think they could have gotten much better sound. But then, this is to show what the 8015 can do. I've only used the NTG-3 a few times but I was very impressed for a $700 mic. One issue with a long gun will be that it may become too directional. As the speaker moves slightly or turns their head a little, you'll hear a lot of change in the volume as well as sound characteristics.

I'll try to post an example of a shoot I did in a very noisy situation so you can get an idea of what can possibly be achieved even if the mic s somewhat far from the speaker.
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Old September 10th, 2012, 07:04 PM   #19
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Re: The most directional mic under us$600?

Thanks, Id appreciate the example.
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Old September 10th, 2012, 08:08 PM   #20
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Re: The most directional mic under us$600?

If the AT8015 demo video shows distances equal to what you'll be shooting, then I doubt the NTG-3 will work at all for the longer distances. With background noise, it might not give you what you want when the subject is close, too.

I'd probably recommend the ME67, too. While I haven't used it in a situation with that much background noise, I think it would work better than anything else available in your price range. Again, the farther distance is going to make it tough for any mic.

I agree with Garrett that Sennheiser K6 module gives you access to three very good mics from the long ME67, to the ME66 which is equivalent to a Rode NTG-2 (a very good mic), to the ME64 which is great indoors. They are not really expensive and you can add them one at a time when you get a chance. I sold my ME66 when I bought an NTG-3, but still have the ME67 and ME64.
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Old September 11th, 2012, 12:47 AM   #21
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Re: The most directional mic under us$600?

Here is a take from a short film I worked on this last summer. It's still in post. This is the raw clip. The sound hasn't been touched. Keep in mind that we were running dual systems (separate camera and sound systems). So, the sound going into the camera, which is what you hear in the clip, was just a scratch track used for synching with the sound that was being picked up in a separate recorder. We picked up this sound with a very quick set up. We couldn't get a quick setup from the sound recorder out to camera so I took about 5 minutes to put a shotgun mic (Sanken CS-3e) on a boom and plugged it into the camera. I just had a PA point the mic at the actors. The boom op had never done it before. I just told him to try to point it at the actors mouths. He was sitting on the ground and the mic was about 6' away from the actors.

As you can tell, this was a very noisy location. It was very windy, I just used a fury for wind protection. I have a full blimp system with a dead cat but didn't want to take the extra time to set it up. Like I said, the sound going into the camera was just for synching. You can hear the birds in the background and there were other people on the beach talking around us but they were far enough away that we could keep them out of the recording. Just for reference I would never use this sound in a finished production. On a scale of 1 to 10 for sound quality, what you here on this clip is about a 1 1/2, maybe a 2. We actually ended up having to ADR this scene along with a couple of others. Even with a full sound crew the wind and waves were just too much to be able to get acceptable sound.

Password: Sound

Since this hasn't been released yet I'll be pulling the video down in a few days.
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Old September 11th, 2012, 03:49 AM   #22
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Re: The most directional mic under us$600?

Wow, this goes to show how raw my ears are. That sounds very very acceptable to be. I mean, I can you could clear the actors' voice a little bit in post, but I though it was great.

My only problem is that I can only buy from forum members or from from Ebay as these are the only places that will declare a lower price during shipping so I wont have to 65% import taxes.

So far I could not find the Sennheiser ME67/K6P on ebay. I could only find the ME66/K6 for around $525, the at8035 for around $270, the AT8015 for $290 (what worries about this mic is how hard it will be to find accessories on account of its size), the Sony ECM-674/9X for around $410 and the NTG3 for $570 (the upper the price goes, the lower the budget for getting needed accessories like a boompole, blimp, windshield, cables, etc) . There were a lot more shotguns out there, but Im just listing the ones weve discussed here.
I know the other mics that weve talked about here are maybe not as good, but considering what I can get at the moment If you guys could not get the Sennheiser ME67/K6P which one would you get for the type of side rejection Ive explained here?
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Last edited by Rafael Lopes; September 11th, 2012 at 05:35 AM.
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Old September 11th, 2012, 06:01 AM   #23
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Re: The most directional mic under us$600?

The more I read the more I think that me being an audio NOOB wont take full profit of very expensive audio gear. Im really thinking about getting the H4N with the AT8015 and then investing the rest on a boompole, windscreen, cables, etc.
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Old September 11th, 2012, 10:11 AM   #24
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Re: The most directional mic under us$600?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rafael Lopes View Post
I could only find the ME66/K6 for around $525, the at8035 for around $270, the AT8015 for $290 (what worries about this mic is how hard it will be to find accessories on account of its size), the Sony ECM-674/9X for around $410 and the NTG3 for $570 (the upper the price goes, the lower the budget for getting needed accessories like a boompole, blimp, windshield, cables, etc) .
Of those you found on eBay, I would strongly recopmmend the NTG-3 if you can afford it at all. The sound is REALLY good, especially if you can get a boompole. I paid $530 for mine on eBay and am extremely happy with it. I use it a lot on-camera and do some outside interviews with it when I am close enough to the subject (head and shoulders shots). Getting good sound makes a HUGE difference and can be emphasized enough. Learning a little about sound -- and it's really not hard to learn the basics -- was the most important step I made to improving the quality of my work. Much of what I learned was reading everything I could here on this forum. These folks are the best!

You don't have to get an expensive pole to be effective and a long cable is cheap. I paid $209 for an internally wired K-TEK pole that I like, but I just checked and there seems to be some very good prices (so far) on eBay auctions. There are some I would definitely consider bidding on if I needed another one.
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Old September 11th, 2012, 11:14 AM   #25
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Re: The most directional mic under us$600?

Rafael, what camera are you running? Does it have XLR inputs and phantom power? The H4N is used by a lot of people but I've never been a real fan of it. It is about the least expensive recorder with XLR inputs but if your camera has them you would find that your camera will most likely capture equal or better sound. At least that's been my experience.

The mic I used to capture the sound in the example I posted (the Sanken CS-3e) is a short shot gun. It is one of the best at side rejection but a lot of the volume difference you hear between the dialogue and other sounds has to do with proximity and understanding the characteristics of the microphone. I had the boom op placed so that he would be able to get the least amount of outside noise. The difference between a mic like the CS-3e and say a Rode NTG-3 or Sennheiser ME66 will be less than you think. The cost is over double for the Sanken but in audio, the laws of diminishing returns is very true. However, if I took time to really setup for the sound I would be able to get even better sound with your Rode Videomic Pro (I own the original Videomic and still use it). Would it be as good as a properly setup NTG-3, Sanken, or Schoeps? No, but it would be good enough to use for a news story, or perhaps for a low budget documentary.

what is your budget? I agree with Phil that the NTG-3 is definitely the best of the mics you listed. But, If you had an NTG-3 with no other equipment, it wouldn't help a lot. A nice boom is, well nice, but you can always do a makeshift one. My first boom pole was a DIY made from a telescopic light bulb changing pole that I cut off the end and fashioned the proper threaded bolt to. It worked great but, it was heavy and yellow and ugly. Since I usually wasn't the one holding the boom I didn't care that it was heavy. Now I use a Rode boom pole that I put an internal wire in my self. It came free in a deal Rode had when they first introduced their blimp. New it only costs $145 US. It is heavier than a lot of others but it's very durable and gets the job done. Cables are cheap now. I'd get a quality one as it will get a lot of abuse. Pay a little more and get one that is made for location work. It will have better shielding and will have better connectors. If you only get one cable I would recommend a 50 footer. It sounds long but if it's the only cable you've got you want to make sure you have enough. I've been in situations where 25' is not long enough. In my kit I've got 2 x 25', 2 x 50' that I bring with me to every shoot. And, a pet peeve of mine, learn how to coil your cables correctly. There are a lot of examples on YouTube. This will keep your cables from getting ruined and will keep them from getting tangled.

Make sure you get a quality shock mount too. If you get a blimp system you'll get a suspension unit so you'd get the shock mount. Rycote makes a great value in their S-Series kits. Under $300 here and the suspension system is top notch.

As for mics, I would figure out your budget, look at the essentials of your kit (cable, shock mount, wind protection, boom pole), and then see how much you have left for the mic. Then look for the mic in your budget range. A couple things to remember about audio equipment. It changes much slower than cameras. You will most likely be using the audio equipment you buy now with several changes in cameras. The thing you might change is the mic. The rest, as long as it fits, you won't have to change.

That's just my thoughts.
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Old September 11th, 2012, 12:50 PM   #26
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Re: The most directional mic under us$600?

Garrett, sadly my camera doesnt have XLR inputs, so the H4N will be a must.
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Old September 11th, 2012, 01:08 PM   #27
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Re: The most directional mic under us$600?

Some very basic example of the H4N with the Videomic Pro. I can imagine a slightly more capable mic would do a much better job.

https://vimeo.com/24727103#
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Old September 11th, 2012, 07:40 PM   #28
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Re: The most directional mic under us$600?

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Originally Posted by Rafael Lopes View Post
Some very basic example of the H4N with the Videomic Pro. I can imagine a slightly more capable mic would do a much better job.

https://vimeo.com/24727103#
I can imagine that the same Videomic Pro POSITIONED PROPERLY would do a much better job. The overhead shot showed it was aimed at the floor several feet BEHIND the presenter. That audio is not of a quality that I would post online purporting to be advising others how to make decent video. They clearly have lower standards. A $25 lav clipped onto the presenter would have sounded much better to my ears.

I'm not a great fan of those little plastic "video mics". They are neither fish nor fowl and amateurs are encouraged to use them in ways that are practically guaranteed to produce poor audio (i.e. mounted ON a camera). It makes me think that the bean-counters and marketing gerbs won that argument with the sensible engineers and product designers. "We don't care if it doesn't work very well, we can sell it as a cure-all for clueless videographers and we'll sell a ton of them."
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Old September 11th, 2012, 08:22 PM   #29
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Re: The most directional mic under us$600?

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Originally Posted by Rafael Lopes View Post
Some very basic example of the H4N with the Videomic Pro. I can imagine a slightly more capable mic would do a much better job.

https://vimeo.com/24727103#
There was some bad info in that video. Please don't use that as a good example of how to do it right.
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Old September 11th, 2012, 08:33 PM   #30
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Re: The most directional mic under us$600?

I have to agree ..... a VERY bad instructional video.
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