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Old September 20th, 2005, 11:49 PM   #1
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General lav vs boom info for exteriors

Hello all,

I recently shot some of my first ever footage with an XL2. It was a scene with two actors having a conversation at a table in an interior set. I boomed each actor with an AKG 460 body/CK63 hypercardioid capsule and I feel I got pretty good sound.

I used two booms so I could keep the mics stationary. I found if I used one boom and moved the mic between actors, I got a big "Whoosh" as the air moved through the mic.

Question 1: I haven't heard of needing to use two booms before. Are there shields out there that are so good that they prevent all of this wind noise?

Question 2: I also used two mics because it picked up the dialogue MUCH better than just one. How are people getting away with using just one boom?

Question 3: I need to do some exterior scenes. My mic's as-is won't work because of the wind noise. Will lavs suffer from the same wind noise issues?

Question 4: I have never used lavs before. Is there a lav primer that can get me up to speed with what is important in a lav? I did a search here and I couldn't find such generalized tutorial-like information.

Thanks for any help you guys (and girls) can provide.

Kelly
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Old September 21st, 2005, 12:14 AM   #2
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I know I may not be as of much help, but I'm really curious. Could the mic gain be up too high as to pick up the 'whoosh'? Were you using any wind filters?
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Old September 21st, 2005, 01:07 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin Kohli
I know I may not be as of much help, but I'm really curious. Could the mic gain be up too high as to pick up the 'whoosh'? Were you using any wind filters?

Actually that's an excellent question Justin,

I've done sound for 22 years with quality Sennheiser shotgun mics and never had this "whoosh" issue.

However, may I recommend you make sure the "low end" filter is engaged, (assuming your mic has that functionality-but I'm too lazy to do research at 11 pm.) But it will help filter out extraneous mic, room or street noise.

And yes, wind screens can be used indoors without any significant loss of audio quality; at least to the degree that someone watching TV at home will notice... Have no clue whether that would help in your situation, but it couldn't hurt.

Good Luck,

Stephanie
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Old September 21st, 2005, 02:55 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelly Wilbur
Hello all,

I recently shot some of my first ever footage with an XL2. It was a scene with two actors having a conversation at a table in an interior set. I boomed each actor with an AKG 460 body/CK63 hypercardioid capsule and I feel I got pretty good sound.

I used two booms so I could keep the mics stationary. I found if I used one boom and moved the mic between actors, I got a big "Whoosh" as the air moved through the mic.

Question 1: I haven't heard of needing to use two booms before. Are there shields out there that are so good that they prevent all of this wind noise?

Question 2: I also used two mics because it picked up the dialogue MUCH better than just one. How are people getting away with using just one boom?

Question 3: I need to do some exterior scenes. My mic's as-is won't work because of the wind noise. Will lavs suffer from the same wind noise issues?

Question 4: I have never used lavs before. Is there a lav primer that can get me up to speed with what is important in a lav? I did a search here and I couldn't find such generalized tutorial-like information.

Thanks for any help you guys (and girls) can provide.

Kelly

Dear Kelly,

"Mics as-is won't work because of the wind noise"? You're right unless you go to your local audio/video production retail store and pick up a Rycote or similar foam or fuzzy windscreen for your shotgun mic... Lav's are much better at recording voices as they are more directional and closer to the speaker's mouth. If you have a wind problem with these mics, in spite of a lav windscreen, (which you HAVE to purchase) place them on the INSIDE of the collar/lapel of your subject.

I used a Sennheiser shotgun mic for 11 years while shooting for a network. We used this ONE very decent shotgun mic for recording network quality b-roll and interviews INSIDE buildings, etc....and also OUTSIDE for interviews and b-roll. I'm just baffled at all the posts I have read regarding "indoor" or "outdoor" shotgun mics. I would think that any decent omni-directional mic would also be just fine for our purposes?

But, I would also appreciate it if someone could adequately explain why TWO different pick-up pattern shotgun mic's are absolutely required? I would suggest spending that money on a good wireless system or towards an HMI light is more important.....

Thanks for your input and your understanding,

Steph
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Old September 21st, 2005, 08:16 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephanie Wilson
I'm just baffled at all the posts I have read regarding "indoor" or "outdoor" shotgun mics. I would think that any decent omni-directional mic would also be just fine for our purposes?

But, I would also appreciate it if someone could adequately explain why TWO different pick-up pattern shotgun mic's are absolutely required? I would suggest spending that money on a good wireless system or towards an HMI light is more important.....
Steph
Hi Stephanie,

I wanted to answer your question. My background has traditionally been indoor music studio recording. Therefore, I am used to close mic'ing stuff in a very quiet environment. I haven't had much experience mic'ing a source from a distance in a louder environment.

I just recently got into independent film, so I learning audio in that environment was very new. The first thing that I shot involved indoor dialogue, so I tested out mic's to see what would work best.

I tried the Sennheiser ME67 (I think that was the model) which is a popular version of the 66, but has a tighter pattern. Both the 66 and 67 are considered supercardioid patterns. I noticed that typical "wedding videographer" slapback echo that gives that typical low budget impression whenever I used the mic indoors. It comes from the way room reflections find their way into that supercardioid patter somehow (something I don't really understand because the pattern should be very tight). I have heard that this is idiosyncratic for supercardioids or shotguns used indoors. I had to have the mic about a foot away from the source before these reflections went away.

Then I tried the AKG CK63 hypercardioid. It isn't considered a shotgun because the pattern is slightly wider. I didn't get near the room reflections I got with the 67 unless I took the mic over 3-4 feet away from the subject.

I came to the conclusion that I should probably use a hypercardioid inside and perhaps the supercardioids are better outdoors where there are no room reflection issues.

I did not select the bass rolloff on the AKG and now it is clear I should have. I was worried about getting a muffled sound and I was happy with the low end I was getting from the actors' voices. I will have to test it out soon and see if this makes a big difference.

As far as the mic gain question, I had the XL2 preamps on autogain because I don't see another solution other than riding the gain by hand (which I think would be impossible) or using an external compressor/expander. No doubt the autogain is pumping up the gain during quiet passages, but we were getting the "whoosh" no matter what we did. It just comes from wind coming through the mic. There is a foam cover that comes with the mic that we tried and it seemed to reduce the wind noise somewhat, but not enough to allow us to move it.

Any further advice would be appreciated. I don't know how the big boys do it. Do they just use one boom mic and move it? If so, do they just have awesome wind screens?

And the one big question...am I going to be dealing with the same wind noise if I go the lav route.

Thanks,

Kelly
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Panasonic PATC7WMS1 7" LCD

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Old September 21st, 2005, 09:28 AM   #6
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The standard tear-drop foam screen that comes with the CK63 capsule should be sufficient to allow for quick rotations of the boom to point the mic at two close-by subjects, as well as following a single person at a walking pace indoors. If you're having to actually swing the boom from one person to the other, then you will get some wind noise with that foam screen. If the two people are far enough from each other that you actually have to swing the boom rather than rotate it to point the mic, then you did the right thing in using two booms to get close micing without moving the boom.
You need to experiment with the bass roll-off switch to determine if it's what you want. For example my CK63 capsule already has less bass pickup when in the flat position than my AT4053a has when it's rolled off. So I don't usually employ the bass roll-off on the CK63 unless rough handling or high winds are causing a problem. Better wind protection and good boom technique with a good shockmount should solve your problems and allow you to get a nice beefy sound.
That AKG body and capsule is very high output and will be pretty hot to the XL2 mic inputs. For better control you could use a good field mixer like a SoundDevices 302. It's my understanding that the XL2 XLR inputs can't handle line-level signals, so if using a mixer you'd need to switch its output to mic-level or use external attenuators. I don't know if the XL2 RCA line-level connectors work for input in camera-mode, they did on the XL1 with the proper switch settings.
Stephanie was probably using a Sennheiser 416 shotgun, which has good enough off-axis characteristics to allow success both indoors and outdoors. That's one of the benefits its $1000 price tag buys you.
For lavs in film-making, the smaller elements allow greater flexibility in hiding them without the problems of clothing rustle or muffled sound from having them under clothing. Their wind protection is also much smaller. The Countryman B6 is extremely small, in a practical sense it's invisible and is well worth the money for film-making versus interviews where a normal-sized lav element will suffice. They are available with connectors for most brands of wireless transmitter.
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Old September 21st, 2005, 12:05 PM   #7
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Thanks Jay for your reply. Just a few questions...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Massengill
Better wind protection and good boom technique with a good shockmount should solve your problems and allow you to get a nice beefy sound.
What wind protection would you suggest? There isn't much in my area to test, so I'm basing a lot of purchase decisions on advice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Massengill
That AKG body and capsule is very high output and will be pretty hot to the XL2 mic inputs. For better control you could use a good field mixer like a SoundDevices 302.
Does this solution offer something more than just turning down the manual input levels of the XL2?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Massengill
For lavs in film-making, the smaller elements allow greater flexibility in hiding them without the problems of clothing rustle or muffled sound from having them under clothing. Their wind protection is also much smaller.
Is there a sound/wind protection advantage of lavs over my CK63 with whatever wind protection you would suggest? I'm trying to determine whether to go the lavs route or get better protection for the CK63s.

Thanks,

Kelly
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Partial Equipment List:
Canon XL2 w/ 20X zoom
Bogen/Manfrotto 516 Pro fluid head
Bogen/Manfrotto 3246 legs
Panasonic PATC7WMS1 7" LCD

PowerMac G5 2.7 GHz
OS X Tiger
2 GB RAM, 400 GB SATA
ATI Radeon 9600
Dell 2405FPW 24" LCD

Final Cut Pro 5.0 Studio
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Old September 21st, 2005, 04:42 PM   #8
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Look at the Rycote.com website for a wide range of wind protection and mounts for a variety of mics, including some new products for lavs.
Dealers such as B&H, Trew Audio, Coffey Sound and others carry both specific screens and generic screens and shockmounts.
Your mics can use generic screens and mounts as well as those made by AKG, Rycote and others for that specific model. This can save some money up front and allow your future mics of the same size and shape to share some accessories.

Using a good mixer not only gives you more control, but the preamps will have more headroom for handling hot mics and more gain for boosting less sensitive mics cleanly. The level control on the camera only controls how much signal is recorded to tape. The input itself has a specific range of signal it can accept. It's not difficult to overload a camera mic input with a C460/ck63 unless that input has built-in attenuation. A mixer like the 302 can handle it. You also get better monitoring, metering and limiting.

It's less expensive to get equal wind protection for a lav as it is for a boom mic, but other than that I don't think there's any real advantage. It's a necessity in either case if you're working outdoors. Then the question is the same as it is indoors, which mic will work best for the limitations of the situation? This usually comes down to the acoustics of the space, how wide the shot is, how many people need to be recorded cleanly and how far will they move around.
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