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Old November 23rd, 2005, 02:04 AM   #1
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Which mic for ethnographic film making and interviews- Is there an purpose shotgun?

I'm having a difficult time deciding which microphone to get.
But I'll need one shotgun mic that will have to make do in a variety of si
tuations ranging. My video and interviews will be mainly in China where I'll be filming outdoor folk festivals with lots of noise drums, and musical instruments and a cheering crowd. At times I'll want to point the mic at the musicians and record them without the ambient noise of the crowd.

I will also interview people indoors and outdoors where there's lots of ambient noise. The environmental noise ranges from traffic noise, to the clucking of chickens, to people talking, cheering and laughing.

In the past, I handled the situation in this way: I used a lapel mic to take care of interview situations where I can properly wire the interviewees. The mic didnít pick up background noise and my recordings were clean.

In other situations, I relied on a Panasonic hotshoe VMH3 stereo unidirectional for my NV-GS100 and a Phillips SBC ME400 shotgun. I often used the Phillips SBC ME400 shotgun with a minidisk recorder to record musical performances or interviews. This equipment seemed to work moderately well. But now I want to upgrade. Any recommendations on a cheap but decent quality lapel mic?

Secondly, I want to buy a shotgun that I can use both mounted on my videocamera, suspended from a boom pole or handheld. I also will occasionally use it with an Minidisc recorder. I want to buy a decent mic that I can use when I upgrade to a camera that has XLR mic ports.

I was wondering if the AT-897 or the ME66 will meet my needs. I was told by several people that if I want to use these mics with my NV-GS100 or minidisk recorder, I will need a preamp in order to get proper performance. Is this correct? I really donít want to use a preamp- its just more bulky equipment that I have to haul around and complicate my setup. Is the pickup on these mics tight enough to greatly reduce ambient noise? Could I made do with the ME66 and is it worth the extra money compared to the AT-897 for what I want to do?

Could some of you offer some advice on what equipment I should try to get? Sorry for asking the elementary questions here, but Iíd appreciate your advice.


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Old November 23rd, 2005, 09:00 AM   #2
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Have you tried the Rode Videomic? Have a look at the recent threads on here - you'll see people are using it on boom poles up to 20 feet from the camera or minidisc (using Rode's own extension cable). Being an unbalanced mic with 1/8" mini-jack plug, it will plug straight into your camera or minidisc without the need for a Beechtek or similar box. It's also smaller and lighter than a k6/me66 or AT897 set-up, and comes with shock-mount built-in (another saving). I can't comment on how the sound quality compares with the bigger balanced mics, but it is well thought-of around here, and the price, weight and lack of ancilliary equipment may well out-weigh absolute sound-quality for your application.

The only thing to be aware of is that it is a mono mic with the same signal sent to both channels of a stereo jack-plug, so if you want to use a lapel-mic as well, then you'll need an adaptor at least.
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Last edited by Mark Fry; November 23rd, 2005 at 09:46 AM.
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Old November 23rd, 2005, 09:42 AM   #3
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You definitely don't need a seperate pre-amp for the ME series. It's internal power supply and very hot output are among its chief advantages. You will need an adapter that blocks the minidisc's irritating plug in power DC voltage though. That's the fault of the minidisc, not the mic. You'll need an adapter for whatever mic you pick if it has XLR outputs.

If you can afford more than one capsule, the Sennheiser system would be perfect for you. I'd suggest the ME67 (long gun), ME65 (handheld hypercardiod), and MKE2 (lav) caps. If you can't afford to use the Sennheiser as a system, you might as well stick with the AT897.
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