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Old January 26th, 2016, 10:12 PM   #1
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What stereo mic for ambiance?

I am looking at the Audio-Technica BP4025. From what I can tell it seems to be the best at capturing audio without coloring it. Just curious what stereo mics you guys are using to capture ambiance for you videos.
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Old January 27th, 2016, 01:13 AM   #2
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Re: What stereo mic for ambiance?

Sony ECM-MS957 is what I use but generally to capture ambience as a separate recording to add in the edit or audio post, camera mic is mono and a panasonic AJ-MC700P.
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Old January 27th, 2016, 10:39 AM   #3
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Re: What stereo mic for ambiance?

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Originally Posted by Greg Allen View Post
I am looking at the Audio-Technica BP4025. From what I can tell it seems to be the best at capturing audio without coloring it.
First, define ambiance. What are you trying to record? And how close are you trying to get to it, to record it? Much depends on inside/outside, far/close, loud/soft, etc.

That said, if I have to pick something blind, I pick an M/S pair of Sennheiser MKH 40 / MKH30. Works in all kinds of conditions (hot/cold, dry/wet), fits into a number of windbaskets for easy booming if breeze/wind is a problem, gives a stable sound stage where it's easy to locate the sources, and its sound quality is excellent. And the mid mic does not have to be a cardiod, anything from omni on up works, depending on what you're trying to capture and how far away from it you are/need to be.

I am a fan of capturing in stereo when practical. I'm just not a fan of the sound of XY. If you want less coloring, tend toward SDCs, not LDCs. Anything more, I need more requirements from ya.
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Old January 27th, 2016, 10:41 AM   #4
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Re: What stereo mic for ambiance?

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Originally Posted by Greg Allen View Post
I am looking at the Audio-Technica BP4025. From what I can tell it seems to be the best at capturing audio without coloring it. Just curious what stereo mics you guys are using to capture ambiance for you videos.
Greg, I have and use the BP4025. Ty Ford wrote a very nice review of it some time ago; based in part upon that review, I bought it. It is indeed an incredibly quiet mic and suited well for recording accurate ambient sounds, e.g., nature, crowds. I've used it, too, as a stereo mic on camera. It is fine for this purpose, but the wide capsule angle does make dialog and other sounds in close proximity sound not quite right, e.g., far too large of a stereo image.

Recently I shot a choral concert in a decent hall, and for which I had around 15 audio tracks. One piece featured singers lining the perimeter of the hall (singing the round?), and at the last moment I erected the BP4025 at the rear of the hall facing toward stage, in order to capture the initial processional into the hall and then music that my mains were obviously pointing *away* from. Turned out to be a terrific decision: the recording sounded great.

HTH.
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Old January 31st, 2016, 03:02 PM   #5
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Re: What stereo mic for ambiance?

Hey guys.

I intend to use the mic on camera while shooting b-roll. (provided the pre amps are worth anything on the X70) For voice I will be using either a wireless lav or shotgun. If I am not traveling on an aircraft and bulk and weight are not an issue I am looking at getting two Rode NT1's and setting them up for stereo recording in a basket. I also purchased (a few months back) some capsules for a binural setup. (nature recording) It has really cool stereo separation and looking forward to finishing that project soon. :-) I also have a parabolic dish for other recordings such as birds. I sort of went on a tangent there. So mostly I'm looking for an on camera mic to get good stereo audio recording. The new Rode mic is a nice design but more expensive and didn't seem to provide the dynamic range and seemed hyped in some frequencies as compared to the BP4025....
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Old January 31st, 2016, 04:44 PM   #6
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Re: What stereo mic for ambiance?

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...mostly I'm looking for an on camera mic to get good stereo audio recording.
As long as you realize that the optimum location for the camera is extremely unlikely to be the optimum location for a microphone. Of any kind. I'm just saying that you're going to have to have a pretty loose definition of "good stereo audio recording" if you're going to use an on-camera mic. But if that's what you want to do, that's what you want to do. At least if you can't ever get it to sound like you want, you'll know why.
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Old January 31st, 2016, 05:07 PM   #7
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Re: What stereo mic for ambiance?

Yeah I guess I will need to play around with what works the best for the individual scenarios that I am confronted with. When I travel to San Francisco in March I will be carrying my gear. (I don't like to check baggage) It will be a run and gun situation. So in this case a camera mounted mic is what makes sense for ambiance. (to me anyway) For local stuff I can setup more elaborate miking using an external mixer/recorder. As an audio engineer I get that mic placement is key. Of coarse I am in a controlled environment in the studio. When shooting video the situation can be dynamic and requires you to use whats available right? Just trying to figure out what makes sense for what situation and prepare for it in advance. If spending $600 on a stereo mic that will provide poor results on camera even for ambiance its good to know now so I don't waste the money...
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Old January 31st, 2016, 09:35 PM   #8
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Re: What stereo mic for ambiance?

Greg, exactly what kind of ambient recording do you want? If you lock off the camera on sticks in the middle of a city (SF?) with mic mounted above, it might be OK. Just breathing, moving around, handling the camera, and shifting the stereo image (with the BP4025) can make for a really sub-par audio recording.

On an outdoor shoot of a large and crowded cultural event (think crowd noise and music), I mounted my BP4025 in a lyre-type shock mount on my camera rig, taking care to tape and isolate the cable. My sound guy used a shotgun mic for interviews, and I placed the BP4025 source way underneath for a very pleasing mix. Really, in this case, there was no other way to do it.

If you simply want better audio than an in-camera stereo mic, then you're all set. ;)
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Old January 31st, 2016, 11:10 PM   #9
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Re: What stereo mic for ambiance?

I would stick with mono on the camera and then add stereo in post as that way you have the best of both.

Remember every time you do an edit on your footage your stereo image will probably change with stereo camera captured ambience so you will just end up wasting time trying to fix it all or have to make it mono anyway.
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Old February 1st, 2016, 09:53 AM   #10
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Re: What stereo mic for ambiance?

I would concur with Gary, add atmosphere in post. Trying to capture atmosphere at the same time as dialog is a waste of time.
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Old February 1st, 2016, 11:57 AM   #11
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Re: What stereo mic for ambiance?

Thanks Guys!

Rick I think you misunderstood. I would only use the stereo mic during B-Roll shooting.
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Old February 4th, 2016, 01:40 PM   #12
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Re: What stereo mic for ambiance?

Are you guys suggesting the mic is probably a waste of money?
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Old February 4th, 2016, 01:49 PM   #13
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Re: What stereo mic for ambiance?

Typically, even for B-roll footage and "nat" sounds, the ideal location for the camera for visual framing, and the ideal location for a stereo microphone are often very different places. Remember that microphones do NOT "hear" sound like your ears do. We frequently have to "cheat" the microphone location to achieve the sound we need. I wouldn't spend a lot of money in hopes of recording good environmental sounds from the top of a camera.
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Old February 5th, 2016, 02:46 AM   #14
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Re: What stereo mic for ambiance?

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Originally Posted by Richard Crowley View Post
Typically, even for B-roll footage and "nat" sounds, the ideal location for the camera for visual framing, and the ideal location for a stereo microphone are often very different places. Remember that microphones do NOT "hear" sound like your ears do. We frequently have to "cheat" the microphone location to achieve the sound we need. I wouldn't spend a lot of money in hopes of recording good environmental sounds from the top of a camera.
Totally agree and on 100% of all TV and film productions you will see the sound recordist on their own away from the camera position finding the best place to get the ambient sounds to match the visuals. This will then be added in post but as an ex dubbing mixer I would also have thousands of library sounds that I would chose and add to keep continuity and enhance the location sound or dialogue.

A stereo on camera mic will probably get you all sorts of extra noises like servo, the body creaking and even the operator breathing etc. Add to that the image problems and it may be a better investment to buy one of the small all in one separate recorders and place it somewhere to get generic ambience for adding later in post.
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Old February 5th, 2016, 05:40 AM   #15
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Re: What stereo mic for ambiance?

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Originally Posted by Gary Nattrass View Post
A stereo on camera mic will probably get you all sorts of extra noises like servo, the body creaking and even the operator breathing etc. Add to that the image problems and it may be a better investment to buy one of the small all in one separate recorders and place it somewhere to get generic ambience for adding later in post.
We just had a discussion in another forum about a strange 40Hz noise being picked up by the on-camera mic. It turned out to be the cooling fan on the Canon C100 camera. It has been my observation that only inexperienced amateurs have any great faith in mounting microphones on their cameras.
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