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Old December 14th, 2005, 11:38 PM   #1
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On-board microphone better than shotgun?!

I know this sounds like blasphemy, but the results I'm getting is that the on-board mic on a DVX100 sounds better than a Sennheiser ME66.

I setup a blind test you can download at the following link:
http://www.glennchan.info/Proofs/dvi...%20shotgun.rar

I know that some recommend shotgun mics specifically for run and gun situations. The point may or may not be: they're not worth your money.

Of course, there's other factors at play. In particular, I don't think the ME66 is that good of a microphone. The on-board microphone performs just as well in most situations, and is the sound I used the most. The shotgun mic seemed to me to give less intelligible dialogue- the voices sound 'thick' for some reason. On headphones, you can hear the distinctive 'shotgun sound' in the echo/reverb.

Certainly there are a big number of flaws and limitations to this comparison. I'm curious as to what other people's experience may be with using shotguns as on-camera mics (run and gun).

2- I'm not suggested that the on-board microphone is the best idea... it's probably a decent improvement to get a high-performance shotgun (i.e. sennheiser 416, the AT 4073 to some degree), hypercardioid (some in the $200 range), or Sanken CS1 (I think Matt described it as "god's gift to ENG").
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Old December 15th, 2005, 01:19 AM   #2
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. .and your question is? Or what feedback do you want? Or do you want any feedback?

. . . . Actually, for some certain instances my on-board Canon XM2 mic is great. And guess what? I too have the ME66.

My take on this is that the ME66 is a narrow band mic. And guess what we do then? We then bolt, strap, bind this onto our cameras, and then "point" in the general direction of the speaker. Ideally we should have a way of having a flexible thing that held the mic from UNDER the camera and allowed us to "bend" this to shape it to the situation in hand.

I've created instances where I've captured the "face", with the 66 being where it SHOULD be, high-ho above the cmaera, but of course it is recording someway "past" and above the mouth of the talent - to the extent that it is recording, VERY WELL, the reflected noises from voices some 50 feet behind me reflected of a brick wall directly BEHIND the talent! Yeah?

The Senni is a good mic. But it needs to be used for what it is good at. Put the 66 in a pistol grip and hand this over to another operator and tell'em to point at the mouth and you're gonna get good sound. But it needs to be real close to the mouth parts. Go anywhere "off" target and you've got a mess.

Audio capturing, I'm discovering, is a mighty complex thing. I still have much to learn. What I'd expect to happen, doesn't happen. However, what I "like" often comes from a lateral take on this stuff. Persist with the ME66, and find the areas where it works. I've now used the 66 as a "fill" to my reporters mic and my tie clip mic. I've used it on a pistol grip like a reporter's mic.

My on-board mic is great, but don't belch or fart - it'll pick up anything that is to the rear of it too! Now that IS a real "BOON" .. or boom .. to having a ME66!

Grazie
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Old December 15th, 2005, 05:39 AM   #3
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Glenn:

Where were was the Senn located - boomed or otherwise up close to the speakers or back at the camera position? How far away were they in these tests? "Shotgun mic" does not mean "telephoto mic." <grin>

To my ears, it sounds like the exteriors were recorded with the mics too far away from the sound source for decent audio. The interiors sound to me to be showing the effects of both distance from the source and off-axis room reflections, a situation where a hypercardioid placed as close as possible without intruding into the shot is called for instead of a shotgun like the ME66. I think this is more an example of the need to select the right tool for the job at hand and to use it properly rather than a demonstration of the quality (or lack of it) of the ME66.
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Old December 15th, 2005, 07:01 AM   #4
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I think this is a test of "which is better for
on-cam use", and I think it's an important
test seeing as many persons use the 66 just
this way, in place of their built-in mic.
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Old December 15th, 2005, 07:49 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Largent
I think this is a test of "which is better for
on-cam use", and I think it's an important
test seeing as many persons use the 66 just
this way, in place of their built-in mic.
Yep, you are correct in that. But the lesson demonstrated, IMHO, is more about whether one should try to pick up sound at the camera position at all and less what mic to use if you want to try.<grin> AFAIK, just about any mic you choose, no matter what the price, is going sound poorly when used from the camera position. Sometimes it can't be helped and getting the shot is the most important thing. Then the mic differences become a choice between "poor" and "worse rather than a choice between "good" and "bad." But if you want your dialog to sound like you what hear on "CSI" or the network's "Nightly News" you gotta practice the same techniques recording it that the big boys use.
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Old December 15th, 2005, 11:59 AM   #6
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Quote:
The Senni is a good mic. But it needs to be used for what it is good at. Put the 66 in a pistol grip and hand this over to another operator and tell'em to point at the mouth and you're gonna get good sound. But it needs to be real close to the mouth parts. Go anywhere "off" target and you've got a mess.
That's kind of what I did. The person holding the mic didn't have a pistol grip, which is ok until they move their hands around. It's fairly obvious when that happens and I didn't hear it for most of the audio.

It's not a very good test because the mic may not have been aimed dead on for most of it. In run and gun situations where you put the mic on camera, you may not be able to aim it dead on all the time?

2- Maybe a wireless lav on the interviewee could've helped, although in that case you may want to mix in a little ambience and reverb. You get that naturally with a mic on the camera (or somebody else holding it, which is about the same distance).
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Old December 16th, 2005, 05:45 PM   #7
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A foam bicycle handgrip on a handheld mic can work wonders and is much cheaper than a pistol grip. Most likely that's all you need. No pieces or setup time either and the foam protects the mic when you throw it in a case.
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