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Old September 20th, 2014, 08:43 PM   #1
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A little lesson on shotgun mics??

I don't have a large budget to work with but want a decent mic if possible. I am looking for two mics. One is just going to go onto a cheap consumer camcorder so we can do little projects with this and still have a lot better sound than the camcorder can offer. I was thinking the Rode Videomic maybe. The other one would be for a professional camcorder. I was thinking the AT897 or Rode NTG1 price range. I am real confused about mics though. Where can you use shotgun mics? Indoor? Outdoor? I can't afford separate mics for both so does anyone some advice for me on this? Thanks so much.
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Old September 20th, 2014, 10:53 PM   #2
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Re: A little lesson on shotgun mics??

Use a shotgun mic for outdoor work and a hypercardioid for indoor work. There are some shotguns that will work ok indoors. I have the hypercardioid AKG-CK93 that mounts on the SE-300B. You can get a shotgun CK-98 to fit on the same power supply. I also have the Rode NTG3 and it does ok indoors.
See test at
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Old September 21st, 2014, 01:01 AM   #3
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Re: A little lesson on shotgun mics??

I think I am learning that about outdoor and indoor but when your budget doesn't allow for that, it would mean I would have to buy 4 mics. I need a mic for 2 different cameras. A cheaper one for my cheap cameras and a semi nice one for my professional camcorder. I guess I am looking for the best alternative if there is one at all. I would be able to go $200 for cheaper mic that would make the cheap camcorder sound better. I know the Rode Videomic would make it sound 20 times better no matter where you used it and it has a kit with boompole plus other things for under $200. I was wondering if the AT-875 would be more of an indoor choice than other shotguns because it is a shorter mic. We are not professionals by any means and being in an educational setting we just don't have the budget. Not having anything at all does not give my students a chance to learn how to properly use this type of equipment so I am trying to get us into this inexpensively but yet I don't want to buy crap. I hope this makes sense. I am trying to use each mic for a multipurpose setting I guess.
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Old September 21st, 2014, 10:44 AM   #4
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Re: A little lesson on shotgun mics??

No mic (no matter how much one spends) is going to sound very good mounted on a camera for dialog and such. Furthermore, If both cameras are shooting in the same space, only one mic would probably be used for nat (ambient) sound anyway. (FYI, two random mics would not produce a usable stereo image either.... especially if they're moving)
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Old September 21st, 2014, 11:31 AM   #5
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Re: A little lesson on shotgun mics??

The adage holds true that a $100 mic one foot from the source will sound better than a $1000 mic 3 feet away. It's all about proximity (if you want to maximize your signal and minimize your noise). You might be better served with a Zoom H1 and a lav, if your intention is to get audio from one person at a time.

If you're doing narrative work, there are plenty of DIY tutorials on YouTube for building boompoles on the cheap. Don't go overboard on a high-end mic and expect pristine audio. That being said, you might want to scour Craigslist for audio gear once you've narrowed down your search.
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Old September 21st, 2014, 02:07 PM   #6
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Re: A little lesson on shotgun mics??

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Originally Posted by Rick Reineke View Post
No mic (no matter how much one spends) is going to sound very good mounted on a camera for dialog and such. Furthermore, If both cameras are shooting in the same space, only one mic would probably be used for nat (ambient) sound anyway. (FYI, two random mics would not produce a usable stereo image either.... especially if they're moving)
I am beginning to understand that. I would use a boom of some sort after talking to many people. I just need to find a boom pole and some type of holder that is inexpensive that would work. Why are the mic holders on the camcorders for anyway? Just curious.
Also, I am not trying to shoot with two mics in stereo. The cheaper little camera will just be for some little projects and things like that but will not be shooting in the same space ever. I would also hook up a boom from both if that did ever happen I guess.
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Old September 21st, 2014, 06:06 PM   #7
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Re: A little lesson on shotgun mics??

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Originally Posted by Scott Holt View Post
Why are the mic holders on the camcorders for anyway? Just curious.
The mic holder on the camera is used to mount a shotgun mic to capture ambient sound. It can also be used as a backup in case your primary audio fails, or as a second reference source to sync to if you're capturing primary audio from an external device.

Basically, it depends on what you're shooting. I shoot a lot of fast-paced sports events, and my on-camera shotgun mic is my primary source of audio in those situations.
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Old September 21st, 2014, 08:51 PM   #8
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Re: A little lesson on shotgun mics??

I shoot marching band video at outdoor competitions for our band director. it's just to give him an idea of how the formations are doing and not intended to be professional-quality audio by any stretch of the imagination. (actually, at the end of the competition season, i sync my video to a professionally-recorded studio version of the music, but that's another story altogether.)

for my video recordings, i use a Rode SVM (~3 yrs old) mounted on the camcorder and it is way better than the built-in mic. i always use a dead cat / windscreen, too.

again, not intended to be professional audio but rather intended to capture better audio than the built in mic. so IMHO a good choice for around $250.
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Old September 29th, 2014, 12:44 AM   #9
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Re: A little lesson on shotgun mics??

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Originally Posted by Stephen Brenner View Post
Use a shotgun mic for outdoor work and a hypercardioid for indoor work. There are some shotguns that will work ok indoors.
I don't get this indoor/outdoor distinction. Microphones have frequency-dependent pickup patterns which cause them to vary from directional at high frequencies to omni a lower frequencies. Omnis are the least sensitive to wind while shotguns are the most sensitive. There is a huge wind sensitivity difference even between cardioids and omnis.

Cardioids reject nearly all sound in half a sphere. Hypercardioids to shotguns have a tighter front half sphere at the cost of a narrow pickup lobe in the rear. I can clearly demonstrate a 17" MKH-8070 shotgun rejecting much more room reverb than a MKH-8040 cardioid or AT897 short shotgun. If your subject is stationary and will fit in the tighter pickup pattern of the long shotgun, a long shotgun is fine for indoor use. The only distinction I can think of is that the room is not big enough to allow the subject to fit in the tight pickup pattern of the shotgun.

Choosing a microphone seems to be highly anecdotal in audio culture. The spec sheet of the microphone will tell you everything you need to know unless the unit is damaged. Few of the professional studio engineers I've met have looked at the frequency response or polar pattern of the microphones they use or recommend. Every one that I have shown the polar chart didn't know how to read it.
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Old September 29th, 2014, 01:59 AM   #10
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Re: A little lesson on shotgun mics??

Here is another video that might explain more....

They are basic but explain things VERY well.
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Old September 29th, 2014, 04:53 AM   #11
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Re: A little lesson on shotgun mics??

I use this mic on my camera and also on a boom or mic stand.
I find it covers most of what I do and you can't be the value on price and it sounds great also.
AT897 short shotgun.
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Old October 24th, 2014, 01:48 PM   #12
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Re: A little lesson on shotgun mics??

The problem with shotguns indoors isn't really about ambience - it is that with the way the interference tube works, an indoor setting might change the sound of the mic somewhat (due to phase issues). Some good explanations in this thread.

Physics of polar pattern interference

That's not to say that you can't use a shotgun indoors, but for dialogue recording, mic on a boom, under a low ceiling - you might run into trouble. One answer to that is to use a hyper and a shotgun from the same manufacturer (like an MKH 40 and MKH 60) to get the benefits of each - and similar sound "character".
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Old October 20th, 2015, 08:42 AM   #13
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Re: A little lesson on shotgun mics??

I know I'm resurrecting an old post, but I have a question that falls into the topic here.

That being said, I've been looking into the production of my first short film. I've shot lots of stupid tests in the past, but never a true narrative short. I'm putting up all the money for this short myself and have decided on a budget of $2.5k. That being said as I look at potential rentals I find that it is hard to find a place that will rent a small condenser microphone, such as Sennheiser MKH50 or Schoeps CMC6/MK41. 90% of my script is indoor dialogue, and everything outdoors is dialogue free, only foley sounds.

That being said, would it be better to rent a shotgun microphone like the Sennheiser MKH416 ($999.99 retail, $70ish for rental) for my indoor dialogue, or buy something such as a Rode NT3/NT5 ($269.00/$219.00)? The scene involves two people talking, about 3-5 feet from each other (standing in a kitchen) and I will be booming the microphone.

NOTE: I'll be recording these directly into the Blackmagic Design URSA mini 4k (rental). Should I rent something like a Tascam or Zoom recorder?

Thanks in advance.

Last edited by Matthias Claflin; October 20th, 2015 at 02:08 PM.
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Old October 20th, 2015, 10:41 AM   #14
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Re: A little lesson on shotgun mics??

There are rentals available for mics like the Schoeps Collette series and others.

Try Location Sound Corp, Trew Audio, there's one in Florida whose name I'm forgetting...

$30/day for a Schoeps hypercardoid with a 4 day week at locationsound.com.

Sorry I"m not familiar with the Ursa Mini. This would be a good thing to test, as going to a separate recorder does impact workflow.
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Old October 20th, 2015, 11:05 AM   #15
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Re: A little lesson on shotgun mics??

Thanks Seth! I'll look into it. Definitely seems like reasonable prices. I have heard that the URSA had decent preamps that did the job without too much noise (like you would get from a DSLR), so I am operating on the assumption that the mini will be similar. However I do plan to test it. Thanks!

I live in the Scranton PA area and don't really know of anything near me. Most of the rental houses I keep finding, like Trew or Location Sound Corp are located in or around LA and don't say if they ship rentals...

In addition, it'll cost me $90-150 for a rental plus S&H whereas I can own a Rode NT3/NT5 for another $100 (meaning I wouldn't have to rent a microphone for my next short). But maybe the Sennheiser/Schoeps are worth renting every time?
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