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Old November 4th, 2016, 03:58 PM   #1
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Audio setup for man on the street interviews

Hi,

Iím trying to figure out the best setup for my situation. First, Iím a one woman show. I have to handle both audio and video. Iíd like to be able to record quick sort of man on the street interviews without any major setup. Mostly indoors but possibly some outdoors. I understand that having separate mics for indoors and outdoors would be better but letís just say Iím mostly recording indoors. In a sit down interview I would normally wire the mic to the camera but this is going to be hard if I want to do men on the street kinds of interviews. For that I was thinking of using wireless mics. I have a lav mic (Sanken COS-11D) but I donít want to spend time putting a lav on someone if this is just a quick 2min interview and people wonít give me the time to set it up properly. So I was thinking of getting a hypercardioid mic and getting an XLR wireless transmitter for it. That way the person I am interviewing could hold the mic in their hand without getting the mic in a frame. I do nort want to the mic to be visible. I know using a boom would be better but I think it will be very hard for me to handle a boom and a camera.
My questions are:
1. is this the best solution to my problem given the circumstances?
2. the mic Iím considering is Schoeps MK41. Given the fact that Iím recording straight to the camera with not the best preams do you think this mic is an overkill? If so should I consider some other mic that is less expensive that would still give me pretty decent results? I also read that Schoeps MK41 is prone to handling noise but Iím not sure how much of a problem that is.

Thanks
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Old November 4th, 2016, 04:38 PM   #2
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Re: Audio setup for man on the street interviews

If your interviewee can hold a mic connected to a transmitter so that it is out of camera view, why not just give them a small recorder like a Zoom H1 to hold, which is even more simple. Just put an audio cue at the start of the recording and it will be easy to sync in post.

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Old November 4th, 2016, 04:48 PM   #3
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Re: Audio setup for man on the street interviews

I thought about it but then I have a headphone cable going from the zoom to my head and it might be either too short or show in the shot. But are the built in mics on the zoom good enough?

Last edited by Kathy Smith; November 4th, 2016 at 08:39 PM.
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Old November 4th, 2016, 06:01 PM   #4
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Re: Audio setup for man on the street interviews

The EV RE50 is the defacto standard for on-the-street interviews in the US.. but it's usually hand-held by a reporter. A $2k mic into POS camera preamps won't help much and I also wouldn't use $2k mic on the streets w/o an audio op or other alert person to look after it. When I was working ENG gigs in Manhattan, we carried nondescript luggage type cases... the Betacam camcorders were $50k+. A PortaBrace case also said 'steal me' as many street crooks knew the contents were expensive. Fortunately I'm do mostly films now with large crews and security folks... longer days though.

"Are the built in mics on the zoom good enough"?
- In a perfect world maybe.. Depends on your expectations. You would need adequate wind suppression (Zeppelin), which just ain't available for h/h recorders which are prone to air turbulence.
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Old November 4th, 2016, 06:26 PM   #5
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Re: Audio setup for man on the street interviews

I am not concerned about security and like I said in my post I will most likely do most interviews indoors. Sorry, if men on the street implies strictly outdoor shooting then I used a wrong term and should have said run and gun interviews. I wouldn't consider my C100 POS but it just doesn't have the best preamps but certainly not horrible. There seems to be an issue with EV RE50 XLR wireless transmitter were it doesn't stay connected and you need to tape it so it doesn't fall out.
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Old November 4th, 2016, 07:30 PM   #6
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Re: Audio setup for man on the street interviews

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kathy Smith View Post
My questions are:
1. is this the best solution to my problem given the circumstances?
2. the mic I’m considering is Schoeps MK41. Given the fact that I’m recording straight to the camera with not the best preams do you think this mic is an overkill? If so should I consider some other mic that is less expensive that would still give me pretty decent results? I also read that Schoeps MK41 is prone to handling noise but I’m not sure how much of a problem that is.
You seem to want a mic that your talent is going to hand hold, but out of the frame, and you want a wireless transmitter for it. Yes? This is a conflicting set of requirements.

The normal way would be to use a dynamic reporters mic. But you don't want to use a dynamic from very far away (as in, more than about 10cm away from the mouth), and that would likely be in your frame.

If you opt for a more sensitive mic (a condenser), it's almost certainly going to want phantom power, which is going to be expensive in a plug on transmitter (check the price difference between a Sennheiser SKP 100 / 300 for example).

If you opt for a non-omni pattern like a hyper or a shotgun, you have to spend the time to teach talent how to hold it and point it. This isn't likely going to work in more than about 2% of your interviews. At least, I never had it work, which is why I don't try any more.

Your more sensitive condenser held farther away from the mouth to be out of frame, is going to pick up more of the surrounding noise. That's just the laws of physics. Signal-to-noise ratio is all about getting your mic close to the mouth.

So.... somethings got to give.

The likely best solution is if you allow the mic in the frame -- then a reporters dynamic omni stick mic is the answer.

If you insist that it has to be out of frame, I suggest the old war zone reporter trick of having the reporter (not the talent) hold a shotgun mic down at reporters hip, angled up directly at the talent's mouth. This puts the responsibility for handling noise and aiming the mic on the reporter (where it should be), and gets you out of the futile task of trying to train your talent to do something that they are unlikely going to be able to do on camera, which is to remember what to do with the mic while being interviewed.

[EDIT]
This approach has the advantage also of getting you out of having to go wireless. You'll likely be standing right next to the camera, so using an XLR cable shouldn't be a problem, and will improve your sound quality, reliability, and really shorten your setup time.

The major disadvantage of this approach is that you need to be fairly close to your talent. It's going to sound like crap if the mic/mouth distance is much over a meter.

If you consider doing this, test it first! Make sure it does what you need before you try to use it in anger.
[/EDIT]

And yes, I do recognize this is using a shotgun mic indoors during an interview. But you are going to be using a shotgun in an unusual fashion, and you're going to need all the "reach" you can get to pull this off. And your shotgun will be about as far away from any reflective walls and ceilings as you can get it.

Those are my suggestions. Much as I love my Schoeps MK41 for boomed dialog (or as a spot mic in music recording where it also shines), your requirements aren't met with a MK41.
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Old November 4th, 2016, 08:31 PM   #7
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Re: Audio setup for man on the street interviews

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Originally Posted by Bruce Watson View Post
You seem to want a mic that your talent is going to hand hold, but out of the frame, and you want a wireless transmitter for it. Yes? This is a conflicting set of requirements.
Thanks Bruce, can you clarify why this is conflicting?


Unfortunately, my client requires that the microphone does not show in the shot, unless it's a lav. The client does not want it to look like a news reportage.
I also do not want to use a shotgun mic unless someone will convince/prove to me that a shotgun mic is the best option for indoor dialog.
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Old November 4th, 2016, 09:07 PM   #8
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Re: Audio setup for man on the street interviews

I generally use short rifle mics in a Rycote for talking head interviews , with the camera on a tripod and the mic plugged in on a cable I just hold the mic myself . I've had numerous rifle mics over the years including AKG CK8 , Sennheiser MKH 416 , currently have a K6 with one of the longer modules on ( can't remember the number ) , another Senheisser I've also forgotten the number of , have had numerous Audio Technica rifle mics and currently have a £50 unbranded rifle mic which works really well and I don't have to worry about .

For indoor , seated interviews , I have a few 'banqueting' table mic stands which can be placed on the floor next to a chair and a mini rifle mic such as the AKG C747 ( I have a couple of Audio Technica lectern mics on short goosenecks which have their own built in preamps and take standard XLR with phantom ) which are visually unobtrusive and great for interviews . Working indoors , wind protection isn't an issue , but outdoors you would need at least a 'softie' or better still a proper Rycote with the mic on a suspension inside the basket . I often carry a cut down floor mic stand which can adjust from about 2 feet to about 3-1/2 feet to pop the mic on - this has the effect of placing the subject where I want him and keeping him there - and it frees me up to look after the camera , although usually once the shot is framed up the camera just runs and I don't need to do much - hence I can handhold the mic at a pinch .

Both my cameras ( HVR V1e and DSR500WSP ) have decent enough audio , and while I have a SKP3000 plug on transmitter with phantom , I always use a cable as it is simpler and 100% reliable , with the external mic into ch2 , and the on board mic on ch1 as a backup .

Oh , for 'reporter' style street interviews , there's nothing wrong with a handheld dynamic mic being in shot - I still have half a dozen AKG D190s which are great mics , not too sensitive to wind , very robust ( a couple have been dropped and they keep on working ) and they are visually quite nice looking mics . For indoor use , I used to have a pair of C451/CK1 condenser mics - these were lovely and I regret selling them after a friend pestered mr for ages - quite expensive to replace now ( I also had the VR1 tubes which made them great beside a seat ) .
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Old November 4th, 2016, 09:43 PM   #9
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Re: Audio setup for man on the street interviews

Kathy, a lot of the above info is good, but as you see it is varied enough that it doesn't lead to one clear-cut conclusion.

The RE-50 is, in fact, an extremely popular reporter's mic. As such, it's acceptable to be in the shot. It's an omni so it needs to be within a few inches from the mouth, otherwise it will pick up too much background. So while it's excellent in its place, it won't work given the conditions you imposed.

A shotgun is too long for the talent to hold, and too difficult to aim.

A short shot or hypercardioid might be a good choice ... just find one that has an internal battery, so your transmitter won't need to supply phantom power. I'd say AT-875, except that it needs phantom power ... bummer. Derek's idea of mounting it on its own tripod is good, if your shooting situation allows it. If passing pedestrians are going to trip over the thing, you're stuck with handheld.

A cardioid is certainly less critical in terms of aim, but you might be asking for too much background pickup. Probably not good, unless you're shooting in a very quiet location.

All of the above is relative. There are some details that need clarification. How noisy will it be where you're shooting? Outdoor countryside with birds? Outdoor suburban with light noise? Outdoor mid-town with traffic and construction noise? Outdoors directly under a flight path? What will the tracks be used for: documentary, news, training, widely-distributed video, etc.? Is a lot of ambient sound acceptable, or should the track be very quiet? How clean does it need to be; how pristine does the voice need to be? How tight can your shots be (i.e. how close can the mic be)? Is it the same talent every time, who can be trained; or is each shot a different stranger? Etc. etc. Tell us what's going on, and perhaps we can narrow down the choices.

PS: Why do you always find clients who want something impossible done? Unremoveable noise removed from tracks because they refuse to re-shoot (ultimately they did reshoot). Clean recording from an overly live room because they refused to treat the room (they are now considering re-treating it). A two- or three-person shoot done by you alone, working solo? Etc.
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Old November 5th, 2016, 03:40 AM   #10
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Re: Audio setup for man on the street interviews

Sure I read something once. Never let an amateur hold a mic.
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Old November 5th, 2016, 03:46 AM   #11
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Re: Audio setup for man on the street interviews

Just to avoid confusion , the item I use isn't a camera tripod , but a cut down stage mic stand , which is very inexpensive to buy , easily cut down by taking a hacksaw to the bottom of the column , and takes up very little floor space directly in front of the subject . Since pedestrians are unlikely to be walking between the subject and the camera there really should be no trip hazard ; as I mentioned , having the mic in a fixed position , I find , tends to make the subject stay still as well .

I bought the stand as the normal type about four feet high and cut it down to a couple of feet or so - at its lowest , the tip of the Rycote is just about waist height , and at its maximum it will be around chest height for an average person . Folded up is is very compact and easy to carry around .

Here are a couple of pictures showing min and max height .

http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a2...psiy2sx9k8.jpg

http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a2...ps84zsngnd.jpg
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Old November 5th, 2016, 04:27 AM   #12
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Re: Audio setup for man on the street interviews

I like it! Good idea, nice stand.

And I admire your optimism about pedestrians. I guess you've never seen the outtakes where "locals" come running into the frame when they see someone shooting video on the sidewalk, wildly waving their arms and making faces to get themselves on TV.


(Actually posted at 6:53AM EDT)
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Old November 5th, 2016, 06:37 AM   #13
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Re: Audio setup for man on the street interviews

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kathy Smith View Post
Thanks Bruce, can you clarify why this is conflicting?
I thought I did. That's what the rest of my post was about. I don't know how to 'splain it any better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kathy Smith View Post
Unfortunately, my client requires that the microphone does not show in the shot, unless it's a lav. The client does not want it to look like a news reportage.
I also do not want to use a shotgun mic unless someone will convince/prove to me that a shotgun mic is the best option for indoor dialog.
It's easy enough to prove it to yourself. Run some tests. Either it works for you or it doesn't.
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Old November 5th, 2016, 06:41 AM   #14
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Re: Audio setup for man on the street interviews

Hi Greg to answer your questions. I will be using the microphone indoors in open spaces so there will be some level of noise were people are talking softly or walking by (but it will not be as loud as at a trade show for example). The track does not have to be super quiet and some ambient noise is acceptable. The person speaking needs to be intelligible. The shots will be mostly medium shots let's say roughly from waist up). It will be a different talent each time.
Why can't the transmitter provide phantom power?
I like Derek's stand idea but on some occasions I will have the person sitting at a desk so I won't be able to place the stand in from of them. I think booming or lav are my only options at this point.

And why do I always find clients that ask for impossible, well they find me I don't find them!
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Old November 5th, 2016, 06:44 AM   #15
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Re: Audio setup for man on the street interviews

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Originally Posted by Bruce Watson View Post
I thought I did. That's what the rest of my post was about. I don't know how to 'splain it any better.
I didn't understand why adding a wireless transmitter would make requirements conflicting. I get that holding a camera out of the shot by the interviewee might be conflicting but not sure how the wireless transmitter would have anything to do with that.
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