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Old July 4th, 2013, 10:54 AM   #1
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Indoor Mic Advice

I know mounting a microphone on camera is not the most optimal thing to do, but am looking for an indoor microphone to mount on camera for times I cannot have someone with me to operate a boom mic and hooking up a lavalier would be an inconvenience.


Right now I'm stuck between an Audio-Technica AT4021 and a Audio-Technica AT4053b but I'm open to other suggestions if you have them.


The microphone will mainly be used for interviews and small product demonstrations with up to 3 people in the shot from about 10 ft away.


Price range is $0-$1000
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Old July 4th, 2013, 11:21 AM   #2
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Re: Indoor Mic Advice

The $1200. MKH50 allegedly has 'very good reach' but I wouldn't expect pristine audio @ 10ft. If the room is dead, it may sound 'OK' and a shotgun could be worth trying as well.
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Old July 4th, 2013, 11:27 AM   #3
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Re: Indoor Mic Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Stone View Post
I know mounting a microphone on camera is not the most optimal thing to do, but am looking for an indoor microphone to mount on camera for times I cannot have someone with me to operate a boom mic and hooking up a lavalier would be an inconvenience.


Right now I'm stuck between an Audio-Technica AT4021 and a Audio-Technica AT4053b but I'm open to other suggestions if you have them.


The microphone will mainly be used for interviews and small product demonstrations with up to 3 people in the shot from about 10 ft away.


Price range is $0-$1000
From 10 feet away virtually any mic, no matter what the price, will sound lousy with the type of subject you're shooting. You can't fool the laws of physics no matter how inconvenient Mother Nature's demands might be. It's not a question of optimum sound, it's a question of whether it's going to be usable at all where your name and reputation are on the line..
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Old July 4th, 2013, 12:03 PM   #4
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Re: Indoor Mic Advice

I will agree that the camera isn't the best place for the microphone, but sometimes it must be mounted there.

I would choose between two microphones currently for this situation (I have and use both of them), along with some useful accessories.

First I would try the AT875r very short shotgun, along with a Pearstone shockmount that has both a shoe foot and a 3/8-16 mounting thread. This would allow both mounting on the camera shoe or quickly detaching the mic and mounting it on a good lightweight lightstand like the Calumet 6030. If the situation allowed, you could place the mic on the stand just out of frame and closer to the subjects.
There are dealer kits with this mic and shockmount, short cable and other accessories available at a savings over buying separately.

You'll need a short XLR cable for on-camera use, a 25-foot XLR cable for use on the stand, a good quality lightweight stand with 3/8-16 thread, and if shooting outdoors you'll need a furry wind cover for any mic you choose.

If you have the money, I would also buy the AT4021 and an additional Pearstone mount. Then use it on the stand when the situation allows and keep the AT875r on the camera as a backup track. Be sure to use only one audio track at a time in the editing process.

The AT875r will work better on the camera fulltime than the AT4021 will. The AT4021 will work better on the stand just out of frame than the AT875r will if you shoot a demo with 3 people at normal spacing (not shoulder to shoulder).

You don't mention what camera you will be using. Hopefully it has good phantom-powered XLR inputs and relatively clean preamps. Both the mics above have a strong signal output and low self-noise, so that will help. Good headphones and the ability of your chosen camera to output a good monitoring signal are also important.

As others have indicated, when your mics are further from the subject, the acoustic environment becomes critically important to getting useable sound.
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Old July 4th, 2013, 12:14 PM   #5
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Re: Indoor Mic Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick Reineke View Post
The $1200. MKH50 allegedly has 'very good reach' but I wouldn't expect pristine audio @ 10ft. If the room is dead, it may sound 'OK' and a shotgun could be worth trying as well.

I have heard good things about that mic but its a bit out of my price range.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve House View Post
From 10 feet away virtually any mic, no matter what the price, will sound lousy with the type of subject you're shooting. You can't fool the laws of physics no matter how inconvenient Mother Nature's demands might be. It's not a question of optimum sound, it's a question of whether it's going to be usable at all where your name and reputation are on the line..

I agree with your statement but sometimes its a choice of losing the shot all together or having the best on camera mic you can get and work on the audio in post.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Massengill View Post
I will agree that the camera isn't the best place for the microphone, but sometimes it must be mounted there.

I would choose between two microphones currently for this situation (I have and use both of them), along with some useful accessories.

First I would try the AT875r very short shotgun, along with a Pearstone shockmount that has both a shoe foot and a 3/8-16 mounting thread. This would allow both mounting on the camera shoe or quickly detaching the mic and mounting it on a good lightweight lightstand like the Calumet 6030. If the situation allowed, you could place the mic on the stand just out of frame and closer to the subjects.
There are dealer kits with this mic and shockmount, short cable and other accessories available at a savings over buying separately.

You'll need a short XLR cable for on-camera use, a 25-foot XLR cable for use on the stand, a good quality lightweight stand with 3/8-16 thread, and if shooting outdoors you'll need a furry wind cover for any mic you choose.

If you have the money, I would also buy the AT4021 and an additional Pearstone mount. Then use it on the stand when the situation allows and keep the AT875r on the camera as a backup track. Be sure to use only one audio track at a time in the editing process.

The AT875r will work better on the camera fulltime than the AT4021 will. The AT4021 will work better on the stand just out of frame than the AT875r will if you shoot a demo with 3 people at normal spacing (not shoulder to shoulder).

You don't mention what camera you will be using. Hopefully it has good phantom-powered XLR inputs and relatively clean preamps. Both the mics above have a strong signal output and low self-noise, so that will help. Good headphones and the ability of your chosen camera to output a good monitoring signal are also important.

As others have indicated, when your mics are further from the subject, the acoustic environment becomes critically important to getting useable sound.

I have heard shotguns are not good for indoor use and that is why I have stayed away from the AT875r. Also
I'm not sure of the polar pattern on that mic but isn't a cardioid or a hypercardioid the best for indoor use?

The mic will be mounted to a Canon XA20 so it has good 48v phantom power.
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Old July 4th, 2013, 12:35 PM   #6
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Re: Indoor Mic Advice

Atr 875r would be my chooce too, it is not like a full shotgun as it has different phase slots but it still gives a tight focussed sound.

As others have said though any mic ten feet away will not sound good as you can not change the laws of physics!
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Old July 4th, 2013, 12:37 PM   #7
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Re: Indoor Mic Advice

The AT875r has been extremely well-behaved for me when used indoors. So far I haven't noticed any off-axis coloration that can be a problem with some shotgun mics. I'm careful to avoid recording generally in locations with bad acoustics though, so your mileage may vary.

The AT4021 cardioid will be even less prone to off-axis coloration, but with its wider pattern than the AT875r will pick up more and more of the ambient sound as you get further from your subject. I would pick the AT4021 over the AT4053 though. It has a better signal to noise ratio, less bass response and is $150 less expensive.

Both mics really have excellent sound and would give you a lot of flexibility. The two mics and all the accessories I mentioned would also fit into your stated budget.

Since you are using a Canon XA20, I would also add a couple of -10db inline XLR attenuators (Or switchable -5db/-10db/-15db models). The Canon mic inputs are extremely sensitive, but the camera's built-in attenuation setting of -20db is too much.
Being able to drop by -10db is just right if the situation is louder than normal when using these high-output mics. The AT4021 has a -10db switch built in, but it's extremely small and hard to access unless you have exactly the right tool and the time and light to see it and switch it.
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Old July 4th, 2013, 12:52 PM   #8
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Re: Indoor Mic Advice

In line XLR attenuators and passing phantom power? ........I don't think so
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Old July 4th, 2013, 12:55 PM   #9
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Re: Indoor Mic Advice

They are designed to work with phantom power and indeed do work just fine with phantom power.
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Old July 4th, 2013, 05:31 PM   #10
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Re: Indoor Mic Advice

Can you put a mic on a short stand on the ground just out of the shot? It would be closer to the subjects and would be in a fixed location so the sound won't change as you pan. Also, you could use a heavier mic that could also be used for voiceover. A Rode NT1-A isn't a bad choice as it has very low noise and is cheap. It's a cardioid so it will pick up other sounds in the room, but it won't sound hollow like a shotgun in a closed space. The main requirement for a mic (and preamp) at that distance is that it have low noise as you're going to have to use a lot of gain.

With the money saved on an inexpensive (but low noise) mic, you can buy stands and blankets/duvets to help tame echo in the room. That can improve the audio more than anything - except better placement. Even with ideal placement, however, taming echos can make a huge improvement in sound quality.
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Old July 4th, 2013, 05:43 PM   #11
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Re: Indoor Mic Advice

How do you balance the inconvenience of good sound vs the convenience of thin, distant and potentially dreadful audio? Few people can spot good quality audio, but everyone can tell bad audio very easily. For me anything more directional than a hyper on a camera is a poor, poor choice.
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Old July 4th, 2013, 07:34 PM   #12
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Re: Indoor Mic Advice

Does anyone have the circuits for 'phantom passing' XLR attenuation pads.... I want to build some for myself.
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Old July 4th, 2013, 08:30 PM   #13
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Re: Indoor Mic Advice

DIY pad info at:
Uneeda Audio - Build your own attenuator pads

Or buy one of the AudioTechnica AT8202 or Shure A15AS switchable attenuators that I've used for 25 years with phantom power mics. The documentation for both clearly state they are intended for use with phantom powered mics.
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Old July 5th, 2013, 01:56 AM   #14
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Re: Indoor Mic Advice

The microphone will mainly be used for interviews and small product demonstrations with up to 3 people in the shot from about 10 ft away

Wouldn't the best solution simply be to use a robust wireless reporters mic? Or would none of the participants be able to hold it.

Pete
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Old July 5th, 2013, 02:19 AM   #15
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Re: Indoor Mic Advice

Variable pads that will pass phantom here and they don't cost too much either: ATT-448 Hosa XLR Mic Input Attenuator 3 20/30/40 dB Microphone Pad - 4-Pack! | eBay
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