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Old February 19th, 2006, 10:15 AM   #1
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Shotgun mic for shooting automobiles?

Hi,

I am looking at shotgun mics and I don't know all about them, but I'm getting the impression they only pick up sound from whatever they're pointing directly at. If say I was to have a car drive from left to right of the screen, a shotgun would only pick up the sound of the car when it passes directly in front of it? How could I remedy this problem? I am spefically looking at an on-camera shotgun mic.

Thanks in advance for your help :)
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Old February 19th, 2006, 12:37 PM   #2
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A directional mic like a shotgun is designed to be most sensitive to sounds within about a 60-120° (depending on the mic) cone in front of it. The volume of the signal as well as the accuracy of the mic's frequency response drops off outside the cone, but it is not silent. So you would hear the car get louder and then softer as it passed, and hear the pitch of its sound change, but you would not get a left-right image.

If you want a stereo image you have to use a stereo mic. You might try the built in mic, but there are ones of higher quality available.
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Old February 19th, 2006, 12:39 PM   #3
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A shotgun does not perform exactly as you described. It is directional, yes, but is more a matter of degree than "not hearing sound from the side."

So, yes, there will be some pickup of the car from the side as it approaches the camera. It will be of lower volume and high frequencies will be somewhat more attenuated. It may be a fairly natural sound, probably just fine for background.

I'm not sure if you are actually shooting cars or if that is just an example of directionality. If you need a wider pickup pattern, a supercardoid or a cardoid would provide less directionality.

Many people are looking for a camera-mounted microphone to record dialog. Doesn't work very well unless the camera is no more than 3 feet from the speaker. But a camera-mounted short shotgun can be very handy for ambient sound recording, such as sfx of a car driving by. It could also be panned in post.
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Old February 19th, 2006, 12:45 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seth Bloombaum
A shotgun does not perform exactly as you described. It is directional, yes, but is more a matter of degree than "not hearing sound from the side."

So, yes, there will be some pickup of the car from the side as it approaches the camera. It will be of lower volume and high frequencies will be somewhat more attenuated. It may be a fairly natural sound, probably just fine for background.

I'm not sure if you are actually shooting cars or if that is just an example of directionality. If you need a wider pickup pattern, a supercardoid or a cardoid would provide less directionality.

Many people are looking for a camera-mounted microphone to record dialog. Doesn't work very well unless the camera is no more than 3 feet from the speaker. But a camera-mounted short shotgun can be very handy for ambient sound recording, such as sfx of a car driving by. It could also be panned in post.
Thanks for the help, it's really appreciated. I will be shooting alot of automotive-related stuff. A short shotgun won't be as bad as I thought I guess?
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Old February 19th, 2006, 04:00 PM   #5
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What about the sounds of cars are you trying to record, in other words, just what effect are you hoping to get in the final production? What about the environment where you are recording - racetrack, freeway, showroom? Are you trying to capture the effect of the car approaching on one side, passing in front, and fading off on the other side? Your choice of mic is strongly influenced by the result you're trying to capture.
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Old February 20th, 2006, 02:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve House
What about the sounds of cars are you trying to record, in other words, just what effect are you hoping to get in the final production?
Well cars would be the main subjects that I'm recording, so I'm not just doing it for wild sound.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve House
What about the environment where you are recording - racetrack, freeway, showroom?
Possibly all three but almost all of it outdoors.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve House
Are you trying to capture the effect of the car approaching on one side, passing in front, and fading off on the other side?
That would be one of the shots I'd like to get, but my main concern was how much sound it would reject from the sides/rear.

Thanks
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Old February 20th, 2006, 03:45 PM   #7
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I hate to sound dense, but "recording cars" isn't enough for me to get a mental image of the exact sounds you're trying to capture and how they will fit with the visuals. Are you beside a raceway, recording the sounds of formula cars speeding by? At the starting gate of a dragstrip, recording the cars speeding away from you or at the end recording them approaching and passing on both sides, are you in the interior recording traffic noises and engine sounds as background for dialogue, recording sounds outside the vehicle but traveling with it to accompany a shot from a camera mounted on the hood during a cross-country ralley in 4wd country, etc etc etc. It doesn't take too much work to come up with dozens of different sounds and situations that would fall under the general heading of "recording cars" and that might use different mics and arrangments.
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Old February 20th, 2006, 08:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve House
I hate to sound dense, but "recording cars" isn't enough for me to get a mental image of the exact sounds you're trying to capture and how they will fit with the visuals. Are you beside a raceway, recording the sounds of formula cars speeding by? At the starting gate of a dragstrip, recording the cars speeding away from you or at the end recording them approaching and passing on both sides, are you in the interior recording traffic noises and engine sounds as background for dialogue, recording sounds outside the vehicle but traveling with it to accompany a shot from a camera mounted on the hood during a cross-country ralley in 4wd country, etc etc etc. It doesn't take too much work to come up with dozens of different sounds and situations that would fall under the general heading of "recording cars" and that might use different mics and arrangments.
To be honest with you, I am not looking for perfect sound in every situation. I'm looking at something I can attach to my cam and just be able to "point and shoot", if you will, as I cover automotive events such as autocross and car shows and I don't have time to set up all my shots as none of it is scripted. Thanks for your patience.
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Old February 21st, 2006, 05:05 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William Barber
To be honest with you, I am not looking for perfect sound in every situation. I'm looking at something I can attach to my cam and just be able to "point and shoot", if you will, as I cover automotive events such as autocross and car shows and I don't have time to set up all my shots as none of it is scripted. Thanks for your patience.
There really is no "one size fits all" solution but for an economical camera mounted directional mic that doesn't have too narrow a pickup pattern, take a look at a Rode Videomic or a Rode NTG2
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 05:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve House
There really is no "one size fits all" solution but for an economical camera mounted directional mic that doesn't have too narrow a pickup pattern, take a look at a Rode Videomic or a Rode NTG2
Awesome, thanks! I'll take a look at them. Anyone else have any suggestions?
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 09:44 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William Barber
Hi,

I am looking at shotgun mics and I don't know all about them, but I'm getting the impression they only pick up sound from whatever they're pointing directly at. If say I was to have a car drive from left to right of the screen, a shotgun would only pick up the sound of the car when it passes directly in front of it? How could I remedy this problem? I am spefically looking at an on-camera shotgun mic.

Thanks in advance for your help :)
Follow the car with the mic.

Ty Ford
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 09:46 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Ty Ford
Follow the car with the mic.

Ty Ford
Well I was talking specifically of not moving the cam with the car, and I'm looking for an on-camera mic, so that's not really an option for that situation.
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 10:13 PM   #13
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How much of a car-by sound do you want? Slap an AT 835ST on there and switch it to Stereo. When you want to do a run and gun interview, switch it to mono shotgun.

How's that?

Ty Ford
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 10:19 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ty Ford
How much of a car-by sound do you want? Slap an AT 835ST on there and switch it to Stereo. When you want to do a run and gun interview, switch it to mono shotgun.

How's that?

Ty Ford
hmm Switching between stereo and mono sounds pretty nifty. I'll look more into that, thanks for pointing me in that direction.
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 11:00 PM   #15
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Sanken also makes something similar; the CSS-5. Senneheiser nakes the MKH 418S.

For my money, the Sanken and AT do it.

If you wanted to wet your pants, there's the Neumann RSM 191.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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