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Old October 3rd, 2005, 10:47 PM   #1
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Need Advice: Starter Sound Kit

Hello!

I'm a video production student and I'd like to make movies. I have a Panny PV-GS250 and will be buying a camera in the future possibly a DVX100a or its replacement(God willing).

I want to put together a modest, but useful all-around sound kit for use while I'm learning on my PV-GS250, but will be serious enough to "grow into" with my future camera. I would like to use the little money i have saved wisely.



I would like to see what models you recommend, with the essentials first, and price.
(to set a goal I can start working towards)


Your help and experience is very greatly appreciated,

Thousand thanks,

Jimi
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Old October 3rd, 2005, 11:33 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimi Colteryahn
Hello!

I'm a video production student and I'd like to make movies. I have a Panny PV-GS250 and will be buying a camera in the future possibly a DVX100a or its replacement(God willing).

I want to put together a modest, but useful all-around sound kit for use while I'm learning on my PV-GS250, but will be serious enough to "grow into" with my future camera. I would like to use the little money i have saved wisely.



I would like to see what models you recommend, with the essentials first, and price.
(to set a goal I can start working towards)


Your help and experience is very greatly appreciated,

Thousand thanks,

Jimi

Hello and Welcome Jimi,

I commend you on your enthusiasm. I have worked for PBS and CNN for the past 22 years and had some pretty good sound equipment at my disposal. Now that I'm freelance and broke, I have been forced to make some very particular choices regarding my equipment purchases. Following is what I own now.

Sony ECM-44B Lav Mic $175
Sennheiser wireless 100G2 with camera mount, windscreen, mini to XLR cable $487.50
Audio-Technica 897 shotgun mic $242
AT8415 Shockmount $54
K-Tek KE-69 Boom Pole $150
Shure Line to Mic level adapter $35
20 ft. XLR audio cable $9
Sony digital headphones $40

TOTAL: 1,192.50


All or none of this may be relevant depending on how you are planning on shooting your movies. But I would suggest that you will probably need a longer boom pole than I own and two wireless mics at the very least. Plus a "butt" plug for the shotgun. You probably won't need the $35 Line to Mic adapter...unless you need to take a line feed from a sound board.

All the best,

Steph
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Old October 3rd, 2005, 11:34 PM   #3
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The mics that have XLR inputs are typically higher quality and more expensive. It's something to consider, because the GS250 uses miniplug and the DVX100 has XLR inputs (don't know if it also has miniplug input).

You can get a XLR-->minijack adapter, but it may be better/cheaper to just get a Rode Videomic in the meantime (shotgun mic, miniplug, comes with shockmount).

The essentials:
Get a boom. The #1 thing you can do is to get the mic closer.
If you have a novice boom operator, get that person headphones. You can probably use some gaffer tape (doesn't leave behind residue like duct tape) and make your own snake (combine the headphone and microphone cable into one).
Wireless is an alternative. It is more expensive and generally worse-sounding, but it is better sounding in particular situations where you can't get the boom mic close. An ideal setup is running wireless on top of boom mic(s) as necessary (you can have more than one boom operator).

A decent mic is probably #2. It doesn't necessary need to cost too much if you cherry pick the better models.


Ideally, you have microphones and relevant accessories to cover a wide range of situations.

Shotguns for exteriors. They need a windscreen. AT897, AT4073a, Sanken CS1, Sanken CS3, Sennheiser 416 are some shotguns that get a lot of recommendations.

Hypercardioid microphones for interiors. oktava MC012, AT4054, Rode (forget model name), Schoeps MK41 are examples of hypercardioid microphones. The very best shotguns can sound pretty comparable if they're within 2 ft, so you can scrimp on this mic if you have a Sennheiser 416 (or similar).

Multiple boom operators, if that would help.

Microphones to plant close to the speaking talent.

Wireless lavs to cover what the mics above can't capture.

A field mixer is necessary when >2 microphones and you want to record into camera.
You may want a multitrack recorder if >2 microphones.

2- A decent starter sound kit can be something like this:

Get the Rode Videomic for now
Some sort of boom pole. Rode makes a boom pole for the videomic (~$80). Or you can go into a DIY solution (probably not as good as buying a boom pole).
Use whatever headphones you have.

When you get a better camera:
Oktava MC-012 or MK-012 (see the sticky in this forum; get the hypercardioid capsule). ~$200
A decent shotgun will cost a little more (or a lot more), be more directional (less background noise), and the cheap ones will sound inferior indoors. If you only have money for one microphone, you can pick which tradeoffs you want.
Windscreen for it (do a search).
A boom and shockmount.
Headphones: Sony MDR-V6 or MDR-7506 (same thing).

There's many threads and the best ____ so you can do a search on particular items.

Random audio stuff:
gaffer tape
headphones
A C stand, if you don't have a boom operator
sound blankets (would absorb some noise), and some way of hanging them
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Old October 4th, 2005, 12:02 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimi Colteryahn
Hello!

I'm a video production student and I'd like to make movies. I have a Panny PV-GS250 and will be buying a camera in the future possibly a DVX100a or its replacement(God willing).

I want to put together a modest, but useful all-around sound kit for use while I'm learning on my PV-GS250, but will be serious enough to "grow into" with my future camera. I would like to use the little money i have saved wisely.



I would like to see what models you recommend, with the essentials first, and price.
(to set a goal I can start working towards)


Your help and experience is very greatly appreciated,

Thousand thanks,

Jimi

Hello and Welcome Jimi,

I commend you on your enthusiasm. I have worked for PBS and CNN for the past 22 years and had some pretty good sound equipment at my disposal. Now that I'm freelance and broke, I have been forced to make some very particular choices regarding my equipment purchases. Following is what I own now.

Sony ECM-44B Lav Mic $175
Sennheiser wireless 100G2 with camera mount, windscreen, mini to XLR cable $487.50
Audio-Technica 897 shotgun mic $242
AT8415 Shockmount $54
K-Tek KE-69 Boom Pole $150
Shure Line to Mic level adapter $35
20 ft. XLR audio cable $9
Sony digital headphones $40

TOTAL: 1,192.50


All or none of this may be relevant depending on how you are planning on shooting your movies. But I would suggest that you will probably need a longer boom pole than I own and two wireless mics at the very least. Plus a "butt" plug for the shotgun. You probably won't need the $35 Line to Mic adapter...unless you need to take a line feed from a sound board.

All the best,

Steph
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Old October 4th, 2005, 05:46 AM   #5
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Trew Audio's online catalog has several packages, basic level and deluxe level, for both ENG and EFP. (www.trewaudio.com) Even if they are out of the budget they are worth looking at just from the standpoint of what types of gear should be in your own "kit" and what some of the mainstream pro level equipment choices might be.
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Old October 8th, 2005, 03:25 PM   #6
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Field mixer and mic

[QUOTE=Glenn Chan]
A decent mic is probably #2. It doesn't necessary need to cost too much if you cherry pick the better models.

A field mixer is necessary when >2 microphones and you want to record into camera.


Glenn,

Are you familiar with the Audio Technica Pro24 mic? If so, how would you compare it to the Rode Videomic? Pro24 is stereo, Rode is mono.

Also, if one is using only a singe mic, is a field mixer necessary?

Thanx,
Ramdas
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Old October 9th, 2005, 06:08 AM   #7
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Rode are coming out with a really cheap line of shockmounts and windjammers to supplement their nice for the price shotgun.

I look at the price of a Rycote Softie, and an always reminded of the abstract relationship between the object and its price that this industry commands for its toys.

Most of the things we buy aould cost 10 bucks if they were accessories for a pool cleaner or something - but film and video it's "name your price" - the Rode accessories should be a decent alternative.

Also - carbon boom poles are worth the extra cash - but if want a pretty good pole for a student - the Lightwave [GT20?] is a decent internally corded pole that my studnets [ I have lectured a film schools / University for a lone time] use very happily.
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Old October 9th, 2005, 01:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Are you familiar with the Audio Technica Pro24 mic? If so, how would you compare it to the Rode Videomic? Pro24 is stereo, Rode is mono.
No idea, sorry.
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Old October 9th, 2005, 04:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Chan
... Hypercardioid microphones for interiors. oktava MC012, AT4054, Rode (forget model name) ...
The Rode NT3 hypercardioid.
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Old October 11th, 2005, 02:33 AM   #10
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Made a list: Any thoughts?

Hello again!

I was thinking of purchasing the following from B&H:

$298.00 = 2x Rode Videomic
$169.95 = Beachtek DXA-2S (would the DXA8 be better at $369.95?)
$218.45 = K-Tek KE110CC Boompole with cord

$679.95 = Azden Dual Channel Camera Mount Wireless Microphone System - Includes: 200UPR Receiver and (2) 10BT Body Pack Transmitters

Total: $1366.35
Questions:
1) With a Beachtek, am I limited to a max of 2 mics? (without adding a mixer)
Or, is it possible to use 4 mics? (Azden 2lav mics,1Rec package, + Videomic on Boom XLR + Videomic on camera?)
2) Does it make sense to purchase 2 videomics? (one on camera, one on boom)

Thank you kindly for you responses!
Jimi
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Old October 11th, 2005, 05:03 AM   #11
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You might want to reconsider the Azden wireless, haven't many good things said about them. Sennheiser, Lectro, Audio Technica have better reps.

You ask about using two mics, one of camera and the other on a boom. Why? While I can see many situations where you might want one or the other and having the flexibility to set up either way is good, I can't think of too many scenarios where doing both at once and recording in camera would be an advantage. What do you anticipate shooting where that sort of multiple mics would be advantageous? The sound perspective differences between the on-camera and the boom mic would mean they wouldn't cut together very well, the on-camera wouldn't be clean enough for an ambience or presence track, and if you're recording the boom in camera at the same time you really don't need a scratch track for sync purposes like you might like with a separate sound recording. Multiple lavs, one on each talent, or even multiple booms would be another matter.
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Old October 11th, 2005, 10:11 AM   #12
 
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Ditto exactly what Steve said, except for an extra underscore on the Azden products. They're not only low end, but they don't sound so good, and I'd surely never trust anything that matters to it. I've used an Azden system at a distance of 10 feet and had problems.
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Old October 11th, 2005, 04:53 PM   #13
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New List!

Thank you for your very valuable feedback and insight.
I've redone my list, please offer suggestions.


$149.00 = Rode Videomic (for use on camera and outdoors on boom)
$218.45 = K-Tek KE110CC Boompole with cord
$199.00 = Rode NT3 - Hypercardioid Mic (for use indoors on boom)
$ 29.95 = Azden SMH-1 Shock Mount for Shotgun Microphones
$169.95 = Beachtek DXA-2S
Total:
$766.35

$499.90 = 2 x Samson UHF Series One diversity wireless lav ($249.95ea)

Grand Total
$1266.25

Some more questions!
1) Would the DXA8 be better purchase for the gear I've listed? ($369.95) or will the DXA-2S do?
2) Do I really need wireless lavs if I purchase the Rode NT3? I would be using these mics for dialog.

Thank you so very much for your time, you guys are the best.
Jimi
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Old October 11th, 2005, 06:19 PM   #14
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I'd say use the boom and mic, and make sure you get a softie or windjammer for the mic. Again - Rode have one that slips OVER their foam mnic cover, and it's really cheap.

The Beachtek you waant should be fine. And scrap the Azden Lavs - I found the cheap U series SONY wireless to be pretty good - [you need to have adapter made for the XLR out] - it runs a little soft [30mw power output] but for what you want to do, it will be a better bet. The thing is - NO cheap lav mics are any good, I have two Sanken COS11s, and they are great - but you need to spend a bit of cash on these and having them terminated for your wireless.

Stick with overhead booming for the time being, maybe rent a wireless and a mixer and see how they agree with your way of working.

-john
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