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Old May 22nd, 2015, 11:57 AM   #16
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Re: Need a good shotgun for high noise ENG environment

Sure, you won't be shooting a feature film with an on-camera mic, but for shooting news and documentaries, it can be a necessary evil. The sound quality might be poor, but if you catch a rare quote, it can get a lot of play. (Remember the hidden camera that caught Mitt Romney talking about the 47 percent? Quality didn't matter, but intelligibility did.)

The factors are:
* Size and weight - needs to be practical.
* Sensitivity - needs to avoid hiss for quiet, distant sounds.
* Pattern - needs to avoid off-axis sounds
* Cost - as always.

I recommend focusing on sensitivity and low noise for the money. Size (length) and pattern are opposing goals. Want a narrower pattern? The length increases. Want a small mic? The pattern gets wider.

Note that a narrow pattern isn't always good. With traditional shotguns, we get a narrow high frequency pattern. The low frequency pattern is often onmidirectional. This is fine when outdoors, but when in boomy environments (like the NAB show floor), you can end up with a deafening boomy rumble with a faint voice on top. It can sound quite unnatural. In that case, a wider pattern can sound more natural. The other option is a multi-capsule mic, which can focus low-frequencies as well as highs - but these are usually longer than you want on a camera. Another difficulty with a narrow pattern mic is that you might want to capture multiple people in the frame, close to the camera with a wide lens.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/...gun-microphone

I think there are two approaches here. 1) Accept that on-camera mics will never be great and buy a small mic with good sensitivity for the money, or 2) Rig your camera for a longer mic, spend the money on a great shotgun, and use the mic on camera when necessary and on a boom when possible.

In my case, I use a Video-Mic Pro on a DSLR. It's small, adequate, has an internal preamp for high sensitivity, and it was affordable. It's no substitute for a long shotgun on a boom with a great preamp, but it works great for solo shooting in the moment.

The AT875R is an excellent value with -30 dB sensitivity, which is quite good. You mentioned the MKH-8060, which has -24 dB sensitivity, which is excellent if not the best available. For less money, you can get the Sanken CS-1e, which has similar specs and is also -24 dB. Note that the Sanken and Sennheiser mics have 17mm diameters, while the AT875R is 21mm. All are roughly 7-inches long.

A friend of mine shot news for years. When shooting without an audio person, he'd control the ENG camera on his shoulder with his right hand, dismount the mic with his left hand, go wide with the lens, get close to the subject(s), and extend his hand until the mic is just out of the frame. This gets the mic nearly as close as would a boom and let him aim the mic at the person speaking, rather than at the center of the frame. This works well if you use a longer mic with a narrow pattern.
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Old May 22nd, 2015, 01:32 PM   #17
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Re: Need a good shotgun for high noise ENG environment

I am a former Firefighter and have worked a thousand emergency scenes. This is what I would do.

Paul, I am guessing you are a stringer and do not have the advantage of being a fully credentialed member of the media?

I’m sure you know trying to get a clip on mic on a Cop is absolutely out of the question. Any police officer working an active scene does not want to be interrupted by anyone for any reason. And in today’s political environment cops know every time they step out of their vehicle some yahoo is pointing a cell phone at them hoping they will do something wrong or dramatic to get the yahoo fifteen minutes of YouTube fame. They are working under a microscope of public scrutiny. I’m betting Paul already knows as a stringer they will tolerate him but they do not have to cooperate with him. It is their scene not his and it sucks to be a cop right now. It is a tough job.

I know you are working in the ultimate run and gun style and moving fast and light is a priority. But, no audible vocals means no footage sold. No matter what I am shooting I don’t think of my two audio tracks as L/R audio. I am almost always feeding them from separate sources and use them as two independent tracks. In your case I would get a mic stand and put a second source on it. Preferably a shotgun mic with a wireless transmitter on it so I could monitor and adjust it at the camera. Now here is the kicker. Go to Home Depot and buy a roll of blank yellow tape that looks just like emergency scene tape without the writing on it. Tie a three or four foot piece of it to the mic stand so it blows around for easy visibility. You might think I am crazy but the yellow tape is the key. One, they won’t trip over it. Two, that tape has a physiological impact of implied “officialness” to it. And you want them to see the mic, you do not want them thinking you are being sneaky with a mic.

You probably like fire trucks and police cruisers in the background of your shots for compositional impact. Therefore your on camera mic is being pointed directly at the problem. Drop the mic stand off axis just out of your shot and you will be able to place it where you can take advantage of its pick up and rejection qualities. Also, you’re probably shooting from a place as close as they will allow. When you drop the mic you might be able to gain some closeness because you’re going to drop it and step back. Depending on the officers and the scene it might be a problem for them once in a while but I’m willing to bet you will get away with it most of the time and have greatly improved audio.

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Old May 22nd, 2015, 05:33 PM   #18
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Re: Need a good shotgun for high noise ENG environment

Steven,

The stand, wireless transmitter, and tape idea is awesome.

I'd add that for this solution, you wouldn't want too narrow an pattern on the mic as you can't guarantee that people won't move about. A few years ago at NAB, the Sanken rep recommended the CS-3e for use by a pro boom operator as it requires good aim for pro use. while the CS-1e is more forgiving. It's not that you will lose the voice as it wanders out of the sweet spot; it's that the tone will change by losing the highs as you go off axis. You don't want the voice to sound like somebody is twiddling with an equalizer and you don't want to spend time in post fixing it.
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Old May 23rd, 2015, 09:18 PM   #19
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Re: Need a good shotgun for high noise ENG environment

Just a suggestion to do a show of reasonable audio quality is put a recorder (not a radio mic) on each officer and put it into record for the entire shoot. A zoom H1 or similar could be used with a cable Lav mic. You may need 4-6 of these recorders for a shoot.

The camera mic would need to be a Rode NTG3 / 416 or above, sync the sources in post production, this will be about the only way you will get good results.

The reason not radio mics is they will use the tracks on the camera which you will need for Fx, the separate recorders will also eliminate RF dropouts.
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Old May 23rd, 2015, 10:36 PM   #20
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Re: Need a good shotgun for high noise ENG environment

If I were a police officer on duty today, I most certainly would NOT want an audio recorder or wireless mic, belonging to a broadcaster or news stringer, on my person. (Of course a department-issued video recorder, for official documentation, would be different.)

Suppose, for example, the officer gets into a police vehicle to exchange private information with dispatch, or to have a private conversation with another officer concerning policy. Having that officer miked by some unofficial commercial entity would be clearly improper. Exchanging personal information about a suspect, victim, or witness would most likely be a violation of some privacy rule.

Does anybody really think an officer on active duty would agree to wear a broadcaster's mic? Or would even be allowed to, based on proper departmental policy? It certainly sounds wrong to me.
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Old May 24th, 2015, 12:01 AM   #21
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Re: Need a good shotgun for high noise ENG environment

Mr. Anderegg has never actually revealed what is his arrangement (if any?) with the agencies. If he had an agreement with the police or fire agency, that would be a different matter than if he is a free-lance stringer out shooting on speculation. Consider the "police reality shows" where they clearly have working arrangements with the departments and the officers.
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Old May 24th, 2015, 06:51 AM   #22
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Re: Need a good shotgun for high noise ENG environment

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Crowley View Post
Mr. Anderegg has never actually revealed what is his arrangement (if any?) with the agencies.
True, there is a lot he has not revealed specifically.

However, he did say
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Anderegg
We use a lot of my NAT's of things like that on a daily basis,
which sounds as if this is not a dedicated project. He also said
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Anderegg
Off camera micing is not really an option
which leads me to believe that he has not been given this option, even if he is working with the blessing of some local law enforcement agency.
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Old May 24th, 2015, 08:26 AM   #23
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Re: Need a good shotgun for high noise ENG environment

Police officers on duty frequently wear TV crew's mics, if their bosses sanction it - makes good TV, based on the number of these shows being made?
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Old May 24th, 2015, 09:39 AM   #24
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Re: Need a good shotgun for high noise ENG environment

If I were in that position, I certainly wouldn't want to, unless I were forced to by my commanding officer. I've never been one to enjoy people looking over my shoulder. IMHO it makes for a conflict of interest. Should I do my job in the best way possible (which might appear unclear or might be misinterpreted) or should I put on the best performance (which might not be the best or most efficient way of doing my job)? I should think this conflict would be especially troublesome or even dangerous in the case of an on-duty police officer. (Yes, all that in spite of the existence of any such TV reality shows. Who ever said reality shows made the world a better place?)
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Old May 25th, 2015, 04:24 AM   #25
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Re: Need a good shotgun for high noise ENG environment

If I were a policeman, I think the addition of the cameraman would be more of an intrusion than the mic? The mic is a package with the cameraman and camera. I'd suspect that very few policemen are forced to be part of these programmes, so not liking the mic and thinking it 'dangerous' is perhaps not as potentially dangerous as the images the camera shoots!

It's clear that good sound can only be got from proper audio capture, and on camera, with people yelling and cars going past isn't ever going to work in this scenario. Doing the same thing in a wood, with just a person speaking quietly and insect noises might work, but as was said above it is all about signal to noise.
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Old May 25th, 2015, 07:11 AM   #26
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Re: Need a good shotgun for high noise ENG environment

I agree with you, Mr. Johnson. However, if the camera (and the mic) are ten or twenty feet away from the action, at least it would be possible to turn one's back, lower one's voice, and speak to another officer with some hope of privacy. That's a lot less intrusive than wearing a body mic and knowing that every breath is being recorded clearly.

Of course as police departments begin requiring their officers to wear body cameras, all this will change. Then the outside news cameraman really will be at a disadvantage.

Actually these days, with the proliferation of cellphone cameras, maybe we all need to get in the habit of conducting ourselves as if every move is being captured on video. (Although audio recording, at least, requires permission in some states.) Welcome to 1984.
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Old May 25th, 2015, 07:18 AM   #27
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Re: Need a good shotgun for high noise ENG environment

The directivity of a gun (interference tube) mic. is in direct relation to the length of the tube.

The longer the tube, the more directional the mic. is - the shorter the tube, the less directional it is.

The best option actually *is* the MKH 8060 (or 8070 if you want it more directional) as this is the shortest microphone for the given tube length - you can even remove the XLR section from the mic. and connect via a short extension cable to make the mic. even shorter (but still retaining the full tube length).

As the XLR is just a connection adaptor on the MKH 8000 series, you can buy an extension cable, cut it to length and solder an XLR connector to the other end.

Oh - and a gun mic. at about 22-feet away from the source will sound about the same as an omni mic. at about 10-feet distance, or a cardioid at about 17-feet.
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Old May 25th, 2015, 08:02 AM   #28
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Re: Need a good shotgun for high noise ENG environment

The power of the audio from the subject is subject to the inverse square law (just saying it's distributed over an ever expanding spherical area) so audio at 32 feet is 1/8 the power that it is at 11 feet (using "f-stop feet" for convenience). Meanwhile the competing audio may contribute at somewhat the same power depending on your capability to reject it. I have an AT BP4071L which has an extremely narrow pattern. Indoors I can resolve a whisper at 50 feet. Outdoors with traffic noise coming somewhat orthogonally, normal speech becomes difficult to resolve at 30 feet. I can appreciate the need to improve the audio recorded where are unable to get closer, but I'm not convinced you'll get suitable results. Would you be able to rent a mic to test in your environment before spending the money?
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Old June 17th, 2015, 07:28 PM   #29
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Sanken CS3e?

Wow, lots of posts on this thread, DVinfo stopped sending me email alerts!

For the record, I am a photog/reporter for the ABC affiliate in San Diego. I work the overnight shift. I used to shot on a full size HPX2000 on tripod with a slot in Azden 1201 wireless system. It is a lot more practical to pull the lav transmitter out of my pocket, have the interviewee hold it while i clip the mic on, when the camera is holding it's own on top of a tripod.

I have since moved the the handheld form factor, which allows me to hit and run a story and be back on the road for the next one a lot faster than dealing with sticks. The ability to walk up to someone and get a SOT with a burning building in the background, or while stuff is still going down is important. Hence, the need for good on camera sound.

Please keep in mind, i have a firm grasp of physics. I am not trying to land a microphone on the moon, simply looking for the BEST currently available off the shelf shotgun that would improve the vocal clarity of clips similar to the YouTube series posted at the beginning. I think the Sanken CS3e would be the best. I have heard it's ability to reject off-axis and resist low rumble from many online postings and reviews. Some call it magic!

THE BANE OF MY EXISTENCE IS THE IDLING 4.6L FORD CROWN VICTORIA ENGINE WITH RADIATOR FAN ACTIVATED!!!!!!!

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Old June 17th, 2015, 07:42 PM   #30
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Re: Need a good shotgun for high noise ENG environment

Speaking of lavs........I want one of those new Senheisser AVX's!

Paul
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