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Old November 30th, 2012, 11:22 PM   #16
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Re: Which would you buy?

I'm always a tad wary of getting into these "in depth" audio threads as it's certainly not my speciality, not that I'm a complete dummy, mind, however, a few issues have popped up a number of times in this thread so far and it's ringing alarm bells...............


Quote:
.... I don't think I need the stereo sound when recording something at a distance using a mono shotgun or something. That leaves mono voice and mono far off subject.......
First, I'm staggered at the fixation with stereo, why?

Decent mixed down 2 channel audio is better than crap stereo any day, IMHO.

Second, been there, done that in the field, and there is now way in Hell I'd try to mix and shoot at the same time. You're already busier than a one armed paper hanger just doing the video, there isn't a chance of riding a mixer at the same time, ditch the idea entirely.

Steves suggestion of a seperate 2 channel recorder is a very viable option, do it. That's 4 possible channels of sound, if you can't get something workable out of that in post you might as well give up.

Third, and this is a biggie -


Quote:
............when recording something at a distance using a mono shotgun or something.....
Er, how much distance? How big a shotgun?

My Sennheiser ME67 is the size of a small rocket launcher and I wouldn't rate it for anything less than deafening at more than 12 feet, to be frank.

{My good luck is that practically the only two critters worth micing here, Tuis and Bellbirds are, indeed, deafening even at 20 feet! Being on the recieving end of a Bellbird male singing contest is really something. The Kea is also worth a go, but as you can practically pick them up in your hand, not such a challenge}

If you want "distant" you've only got two possibilities:

Get the mic(s) where the sounds are coming from (requires being able to mind read whatever you're shooting - how's your Moose?).

OR

A parabolic relector, with all the inherant problems they introduce, not least the inconvenience and never, ever, being able to shoot video and audio at the same time as a one man band, you're right back to the problem with a mixer, only worse.

Not that it's insurmountable. You'll get infinitely superior sound doing it with a PR as a production on it's own, NOT with the video - heck, it's not as if you need to lip sync it!

Not cheap mind, check this out:

Braodcast Lil' Ears Products


Just my 2 cents worth as a support wonk and not an audio one.


CS
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Old November 30th, 2012, 11:50 PM   #17
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Re: Which would you buy?

Whoops, either my Broadband is having a melt down or the servers are - double post, sorry.
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Old December 1st, 2012, 03:52 PM   #18
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Re: Which would you buy?

Nick,

I agree with every single thing these guys have said to you. They are not being condescending. Audio is complicated and requires great experience and study to be good at it. Technical discussion boards are full of threads were someone asks what seems to them a few simple questions. The proper answer may require years of experience not easily conveyed in a few sentences. Listen to what they said with an open mind and do your part, go look into their advice and study it. Learn how to apply it to your budget and opportunities.

Off the soap box now. My two cents on your question. As they said, cheep audio gear makes for poor recordings. I donít buy used or cheap equipment (most of the time). But I earn my living at this stuff, I have to produce a quality product or starve. You donít. Maybe e-bay or Craigís list could be away for you to buy quality components for a big discount. But you will have to know WHAT it is you need and what you are buying. In a rare post from me, above this one, I wrote about an old mixer available on e-bay for about $200.00. It was much more than that when in production. The point is, I would rather have an old Sure product used, than any new Azden. When I wrote the post above I expect some guys to disagree with me, and they will. That does not mean they are all beating me up.

Listen, research and learn, I have seen guys with little experience, like you (no judgment) go on to learn how to make some really cool, and pretty good productions.

Steve


PS Chris, your post had me laughing out loud because my sick mind saw some guy standing in the jungle with all of the gear hanging on him that me and TWO other guys run and gun with. One man, covered and held down by blue Porta Brase bags, microphones and tangled wires, trying to stand in front of a tri pod mounted camera with no operator. Then a Monkey ran up, grabbed the boom mic, and started beating him with it. The screams of horror were well recorded for a minute but the video only lasted a second until he was out of frame and it was all for NOT. OK, Iím sick, Iím out, thatís my take. Still laughing.
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Old December 1st, 2012, 04:24 PM   #19
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Re: Which would you buy?

I see real problems with making production decisions in the field, in difficult circumstances when it comes to blending all these sources. If you really want to do this kind of thing - then record each source so you can sort it in post.

A question - have you been trying out these ideas? Quite a long time ago now, I did a little audio work for a TV broadcaster here in the UK who specialised in 'survival' type programmes - and in the short time I was there, I noticed one thing, over and over again. Location sound recording of real animals rarely sounded like the viewers imagined, so much of what was heard was generated from other sources. The chances of recording the sound of animals at a distance in a way that sounds real is virtually zero. The examples I worked on were not exactly exotic - they were cows. Cows regurgitate their food, and spend ages re-chewing it, and the sound recorded on location was useless. Their mouthes were chewing away, but the recorded sound - even if the wind could have been totally cut, was thin and it sounded like a low hiss - not like chewing at all! The sound the viewers heard was re-recorded locally on a farm, where the mics could be got close in - just a few inches from their mouth - not the 60 odd feet distance we saw in the video. I even did some great eagle wing flaps with old fashioned leather motorcycle gauntlets - the noise the birds actually made sounded nothing like I expected. My best advice is to cheat! Record the local wild track in stereo to set the scene, and add your real or recreated key sounds in mono - dead central. Create the soundstage carefully, and then mix in your commentary track. trying to do this when you are shooting is frankly a bit stupid.If you want quality audio, the mics will be in close, and possibly so close they can be seen - so sound needs doing as a separate task quite often. Good sound may mean poorer pictures and vice versa.

Do you know the sound a centipede makes with all those legs, going across a leaf? No - nor does anyone else!
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Old December 1st, 2012, 04:29 PM   #20
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Re: Which would you buy?

Indeed. It seems completely unrealistic to expect to record decent sound of animals while shooting video. as Mr. Johnson explains, >99% of the sounds you hear while viewing video of animals was produced by Foley artists who specialize in animal and "nature" sounds. Or else the sound was captured separately in a special, staged setup to optimize the recording environment.

Since you said you are a naturalist, you seem to be approaching this from the POV of a "content expert" and not as a "media producer". But you seem to have a very unshakable conviction of how your workflow should operate. Every once in a while you reveal something that gives us an insight into where you are coming from. Perhaps it would benefit everyone if you were to walk us through a couple of scenarios of the kinds of things you anticipate shooting. Please be liberal with details, even those you don't think are relevant.

From what I have read so far I do NOT think that your issues are budget or equipment related. I think you have formed some sort of expectation of how to do things or how things are done that is not based on actual reality. You can NOT tell how things were done by watching a finished production on TV. It is NEVER as easy as it looks.

Last edited by Richard Crowley; December 1st, 2012 at 07:29 PM.
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Old December 1st, 2012, 08:48 PM   #21
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Re: Which would you buy?

Well I'm not stuck on the Azden, in fact just looked on ebay this morning at some used alternatives. I saw a few old model shures and high mile SDs. In my price range, they look in rough shape. Hate to commit to something that would need repairs.

There is the thought that Azden may to be trying to improve their image, presumably by improving their products, though I wouldn't know. The new version of the 3 channel has redesigned circuitry and seems to have reasonable specs, at least compared to some of the old Shures available that I looked up.

Oh well... Maybe I'll hold out a bit for something a bit better. Would love that SD 302. Maybe a reasonable used one will come up that has a warrantee.

Went out today to try out the Sony ECM-M2S in a bit of wind. That was eye opening. The fuzzy sock it comes with

Sony MS Stereo Electret Condenser | Stereo Microphone | ECM-MS2 | Sony USA

does not block wind noise any better than the upgrade foam I added to the old Canon DM-50.

Would this below

K Tek Zeppelin Tiny 3" Fuzzy Slip on Windscreen Zfsot | eBay

improve over the freeby provided by Sony to make the $100 worth it? Somehow I thought the furries would be much better than foam, but at least with the one Sony provided, no difference.
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Old December 2nd, 2012, 03:05 PM   #22
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Re: Which would you buy?

Nick,

Used Gear: I have a buddy that avoids the risk of anonymous e-bay by monitoring Craigs list everyday. For him it is a game and he likes it. He has a home recording studio for music. He gets to meet the seller and test the gear before he drops the cash. He makes some good scores this way. It looks like your in Dallas? That is probably a big Craigs list market. It is tough times, you might be surprised by what is getting dumped out there.

Dead Cats:
Wind suppressors are essential. But they all work to varying degrees, they are suppressors, nothing will completely remove the effects of wind on a microphone, especially a shotgun mic. You make adjustments in the field and do the best you can to record a clean signal, then you clean it up further in post.

TV example of glaring production layers and builds:
Everyone here has told you NO ONE man is going to do what you want to accomplish in one attempt and all by your self. One of the cool things about video production is we "manipulate time". We can work off line to create segments of a production out of order and assemble it later so it appears to the viewer it is all happening in real time. A good example of this is the television show WIPEOUT. In reality it is probably filmed something like this:

Jill, the obstacle course field host (and eye candy) probably does her quick little introductory interviews of all 24 contestants before ANY action really starts, even though only a few of them will be used.

Then she is on site as a color commentator when the action takes place.

Now here is the important part! The two men that are the main show hosts may not be on site at all (sometimes they are). They don't need to be. It is all an illusion. The show is filmed, the loggers and editors go to work, and so DO the script writers. Those two men are no where nearly as spontaneously funny as they appear to be, no one is. After the vast majority of the work has been done, those two guys show up at a studio, stand in front of a green or blue screen, and READ script. If you have never seen it check it out because you are trying to figure out how to record field action in a one shot production. It's not going to happen. But if you check out this shows glaring production layers you might get some tips.

Steve
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Old December 3rd, 2012, 07:01 AM   #23
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Re: Which would you buy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Mirro View Post
Went out today to try out the Sony ECM-M2S in a bit of wind. That was eye opening. The fuzzy sock it comes with does not block wind noise any better than the upgrade foam I added to the old Canon DM-50.

{snip}

I thought the furries would be much better than foam, but at least with the one Sony provided, no difference.
There's an old saying: "It's free, and worth every penny." You can have cheap, or you can have good, but you can rarely have both. Good furries are not free, zeppelins are even less free.
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Old December 3rd, 2012, 08:25 AM   #24
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Re: Which would you buy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Mirro View Post
...
Went out today to try out the Sony ECM-M2S in a bit of wind. That was eye opening. The fuzzy sock it comes with

Sony MS Stereo Electret Condenser | Stereo Microphone | ECM-MS2 | Sony USA

does not block wind noise any better than the upgrade foam I added to the old Canon DM-50.

Would this below

K Tek Zeppelin Tiny 3" Fuzzy Slip on Windscreen Zfsot | eBay

improve over the freeby provided by Sony to make the $100 worth it? Somehow I thought the furries would be much better than foam, but at least with the one Sony provided, no difference.
The secret of good wind noise reduction (note REDUCTION, not ELIMINATION) is dead air space around the mic. Simple pull-on 'fuzzy sock' doesn't provide that very effectively. A fuzzy over a blimp is the optimum approach.
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Old December 3rd, 2012, 02:48 PM   #25
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Re: Which would you buy?

Now that's something I didn't know. Thanks.
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Old December 3rd, 2012, 04:50 PM   #26
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Re: Which would you buy?

I agree, this is really helpful.

Been reading about the benefit of an airspace around the mic, like those created by cages. Can't seem to find a kit that would achieve that for the small Sony shotgun mic, but wondering if this combo would accomplish something similar.

Miniscreen™ Windjammer™ Ľ Rycote ("kit contents" shows both parts)

Since the Sony only has slot length extends 4.5 cm from the front of the mic, this would seem to fit. It claims 30 db of wind noise reduction if both parts are used.

Would that eliminate most of the wind noise if it is steady at 10-15 mph (as when at the lake recording birds)? Does the entire mic need to be contained somehow?
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Old December 3rd, 2012, 05:28 PM   #27
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Re: Which would you buy?

"Does the entire mic need to be contained somehow?"
-- Turbulent air can also sneak in via the connector, filter / pad switches, ect., so a full enclosure is best. I will often put tape over the switch holes and connector when using a Softie which doesn't enclose the entire mic. Many of the Neutrik connectors have an O-ring which helps to seal the XLR connection.
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Old December 13th, 2012, 12:29 PM   #28
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Re: Which would you buy?

Rycote makes windjammers that don't need a miniscreen like that one mentioned above. I had a Sanken-made wind block similar to the Rycote Miniscreen and didn't like it; the heavy material contacting the mic on both ends seems like it makes too solid of a connection to the mic. The Rycote Windjammers have lighter weblike material contacting the mic along a longer area, which seems like a better approach for isolating. But none of them will do anywhere as well as a blimp like my well-liked S series.

For 10-15 mph winds, you are probably okay most of the time with just a Windjammer, but you would benefit from an S-series or other blimp if you wanted to eliminate almost all the wind noise.
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