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Old May 29th, 2006, 12:25 PM   #1
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Microphone advice - best option for kids play?

Hi all,

I am on the verge of swappign out my HC1 for the A1 owing to the greater control this unit will give me over sounds but, despite lots of research, I am still unsure of the best microphone options.

What convinced me to move was the recording I did of the kids last drma club play. I shot the event from a fixed position about 5 rows back using the HC1 and one of the Sony external mics. Sound was awful with lots of pickup from coughs etc., plus - the most annoying - that dammned 'bing' noise that Sony cams make on start stop that others seem to find acceptable! Just why do you need that sound when you start recording then stop? When I tried to edit all I kept hearing was the blasted 'bing'!

Anyway, if I get an A1 I will look for a decent external mic and have another drama club event to practice on soon. Can anyone tell me if the Sennheiser K6/ME66 option would be a good one? I know it is a shotgun mic but lots of research seems to say that they work indoors as well as outdoors.

Is a shotgun mic the best option when you want to pick up a wide soundfield from a front stage? A little audience noise is OK but I obviously want 90% coming from the stage.

Another option - bit of a luxury I guess though! - is to keep the HC1 and use as the 2nd cam. In this case I could use the sound from the A1 in a fixed focus and use the HC1 for soundless closeups etc.,. Just need to see if the budget will stretch!

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Many thanks

Mike
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Old May 29th, 2006, 01:36 PM   #2
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Shotguns generally are meant for outdoors and often create a boxy, unpleasant, hollow sound indoors. A good shotgun is the Rode NTG-1 or Rode NTG-2, which some say is better than the Sennheiser ME66, and for half the price. A good indoor mic might be a hypercardioid or cardioid mic. I got the Sennheiser ME64 cardioid mic for indoors and it works great.
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Old May 29th, 2006, 02:01 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Thames
I got the Sennheiser ME64 cardioid mic for indoors and it works great.
Many thanks Alex I will take a look. Any ideas as to whether this mic will fit straight on to the Sony mount that comes with the cam?

Thanks again,

Mike
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Old May 29th, 2006, 06:06 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Mackay
Many thanks Alex I will take a look. Any ideas as to whether this mic will fit straight on to the Sony mount that comes with the cam?

Thanks again,

Mike
I can answer for Alex since I also have the Me64. It will fit directly on, but I did use the little rubber wrap around from the sony mic to make it secure. No issues other than that and it was not an issue. Just wrap it around the 64 like it was wrapped around the Sony. Also note...order an xlr cable for it or you will have to find one since one does not come with it. I ended up ordering a 1.5" one from B&H which worked great.
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Old May 30th, 2006, 05:01 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Mackay
plus - the most annoying - that dammned 'bing' noise that Sony cams make on start stop that others seem to find acceptable! Just why do you need that sound when you start recording then stop? When I tried to edit all I kept hearing was the blasted 'bing'!
Mike
You can turn the "bing" off - I always have mine off.

It is true that shotgun mics aren't designed for indoors, but I use the Rode Videomic for indoor school plays and find it works pretty well.

Mark
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Old May 31st, 2006, 11:15 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Mark Bryant
You can turn the "bing" off - I always have mine off.

Mark
I forgot to say that the 'bing' was coming from another parent recording the event. Weird thing was that his wife kept looking him everytime he hit the start stop when it made the very audible noise! Wonder what goes through their heads on such occasions.... 'wow, this really noisy bing noise is really bad.... wow, this really noisy bing noise is really bad... wow, this really noisy bing noise is really bad.... ad infinitum!
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Old May 31st, 2006, 05:14 PM   #7
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I got into all this filming my kids' plays and musicals. I've gone on to stage productions for community theather as well. I could buy a nice used car with what I have invested in video and audio gear now.

If it's better audio you want, I'd put my money in that rather than in another cam. The HC1 already has an external mic input and manual audio control. What you need some good stuff to plug in.

I'd get a Sennheiser G2 wireless set, velcro the receiver to the cam and put a Rode VideoMic on a stand at an unobtrusive height right in front of the stage, or as close as you can keeping all the action within a 80° angle or so in front of the mic, feeding into the G2 transmitter. Here's the bottom line: you simply won't get better sound any other way at your disposal, unless the talent is wearing body packs and feeding a sound board you can tap into. Some people might suggest feeding a digital recorder such as a Hi-MD recorder right at the mic. That's fine, but I prefer to monitor with phones at the cam position, hence the wireless.

Yes, there are better sounding more expensive mics, but that doesn't matter at the distances and acoustical conditions you're forced to work with. The Rode VideoMic does better at 10 -20 feet than anyone who knows even a little about audio has a right to expect. It always surprises me. Maybe the Rode NTG-2 is a bit better--I don't have one but that's what people say. However, no mic at any price placed on your cam in the 5th row will sound as good.

Body packs? Different story. Musicals and concerts? Different story. But for dialog in straight plays, that's the ticket IMO (plus you're out in front of the bings).
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Old June 1st, 2006, 11:33 AM   #8
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Yep - what Fred said !

excellent advice IMO.
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Old June 1st, 2006, 11:20 PM   #9
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When I tape the school plays, I'm fortunate that they set up four microphones (I think they're Shure SM58s) on stands across the front of the stage (which is raised) so they are only up a couple of feet from the floor of the stage and don't get in the way of the performers.

Those mics are run through mixer into the "house" sound system. I just take a line feed from the mixer to the camcorder and monitor with headsets. I get great audio.
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