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Old June 6th, 2006, 06:18 PM   #1
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Best Mic for ocean waves & HC1?

I've got a hobby of filming ocean waves at the beach with my HC1 and want to start recording really good sound into the camera. Anybody have a mic suggestion for this situation? I'd be up for spending $1000 on it.

Also I'd get a Beacktek DXA-8 adaptor.
I'd need a High wind protector.
Lastly, I was wondering if you know of any mic tripod's?

Thanks for any help you can offer.
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Old June 7th, 2006, 03:23 AM   #2
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I used to make ocean waves on my Roland Juno 60 synthesizer. Just generate white/pink noise and apply a variable low pass filter.

My point is that it's not terribly critical. People know exactly what a voice should sound like. Waves are just wideband noise.

That said, you'll want something with a fairly flat frequency response, and maybe a little scooped.

And I would *definitely* go with stereo. The movement of the sound from left to right will really help to sell it.

Either large or small condensers would work. You should probably go with the smalls, if you do location or instrument recording. If you record vocals or voiceovers, go for large condensers.

You can get two Rode mics in that budget. I'd choose solid state vs. tubes for this application.
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Old June 7th, 2006, 03:54 AM   #3
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For good wind protection: Perhaps a LightWave or Rycote wind fur system.
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Old June 7th, 2006, 10:16 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hink
I've got a hobby of filming ocean waves at the beach with my HC1 and want to start recording really good sound into the camera. Anybody have a mic suggestion for this situation? I'd be up for spending $1000 on it.

Also I'd get a Beacktek DXA-8 adaptor.
I'd need a High wind protector.
Lastly, I was wondering if you know of any mic tripod's?

Thanks for any help you can offer.
Chris,
I'm just getting started in recording surf as well, but I will share what I've been told so far.

technique is quite important for recording water. for sounds like surf and babbling brooks,etc., I've been advised (by folks who specialize in recording nature sounds, not video) to record from multiple perspectives and then merge the sounds during edit - specifically near field, mid field, and far field perspectives. I've not been able to try this yet.

if you're thinking of investing $1000 in a microphone, it would be worth
your while to ask this question of folks who record nature sounds.
they seem to love the sennheiser MKH series of mics, due to their great sound and their ability to deal with elements, specifically humidity.

rycote softies seems to be the industry standard for wind protection, albeit at $110 or so.

I bought a Rycote NTG-2 (mono) to start, with plans to move up to an MHK later, once I know more about the pattern I need.

I would not purchase a $1000 microphone without listening first, but then,
I can take the subway to B&H and listen in their dedicated sound booth.

more thoughts:
Stereo recording seems much more fraught with possibilities than mono,
with many. many options as to how to 'record' the stereo image.
do your homework on the approach (Mid-side, X-Y, SASS-P, spaced Omnis, binaural, etc.) before buying a 'stereo' mic (or pair),
at least that's whay I plan to do.

of course, there's always the Soundfield mic, which does single point surround sound recording, to the tune of $4-5k.


I am thinking of starting off with the Giant Squid stereo omnis,
which are very inexpensive

one strong opinion, if you really want your surf recordings to sound natural, do NOT buy the sennheiser ME-66 or similar mics that are designed to highlight voice, as they do not have a 'natural' sound, at least to my ears.
the ME-66 had a 'night and day' different sound from MHK416, Rode NTG-2,
and others, all of which seemed much more natural to me. OTOH, I am an audiophile, so perhaps your tastes may vary.

best of luck,
these boards are amazing, I'm sure you will get better advice from others.

clay

ps, as someone said, get the mic as close as you can, which means you will likely need to get a wideangle lens to record the sound you want simultanouesly with the image you want.

Last edited by Clay Spencer; June 7th, 2006 at 12:40 PM.
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Old June 7th, 2006, 01:24 PM   #5
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Clay has some good recommendations.
> "one strong opinion, if you really want your surf recordings to sound natural, do NOT buy the sennheiser ME-66 or similar mics that are designed to highlight voice, as they do not have a 'natural' sound, at least to my ears. the ME-66 had a 'night and day' different sound from MHK416, Rode NTG-2..."

I'd recommend against the ME-66, MKH-416 or any other shotgun. Beach waves are not a point source. You will get sounds from all around you. A lobar or hyper-cardiod will only be natural straight ahead, but will dull the off-axis sounds.

I'd go with a cardiod or omni condenser. Even better - use a mic with a switchable pattern.

Two Rode NT2-A mics would be within budget. They're large condensers and can do omni, cardiod or figure-8. The figure-8 allows you to do mid-side recording, which lets you control the width of your mix all the way down to mono without phase issues. The NT2-A also has two levels of pad and two LF filter cutoff points.

A pair of NT2000s is just out of budget, but lets you adjust the pattern continuously from omni to cardiod to figure-8. The pad and LF filters can also be adjusted continuously. This has the risk of being *too* flexible.

You could buy the NT5 matched pair of small condensers, but they are cardiod only. You'd be locked into x-y or separation recording. Mid-side would not be an option.

I'd go for the NT2-As. It gives you all of the flexibility that you need. If you can find a small condenser mic with similar price, features and quality consider that as well. A small condenser might give a bit more zing.

Also, I wouldn't sweat it too much. As I said, waves are a wideband signal. As long as you get a clean, wideband recording, you can contour it with EQ in post *very* effectively. Unlike EQ'ing a voice or instrument with very specific resonances, waves have energy everywhere. Grab any frequency and mess with its gain, and you'll hear it. It's like making an "sh" sound and moving your lips and tongue. You'll be able to EQ your recordings to get most any contour that you'd like.
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Old June 7th, 2006, 02:18 PM   #6
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Maybe a little more info Chris. I am not sure that Chris is going for ambient sound, but more for the sound of specific waves breaking. If I were filming Pipeline and wanted to use audio, it would be a shotgun to get the section of the wave that I am filming.

Oh, although I have not used one at the beach, a Mike Muff works well. The secret trick is to use a rubber band on the section where the velcro is. All the noise I have leak in on my AT835-ST is at the opening. A couple of loops with a wide rubberband has made it good to above 25mph on a mast.
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Old June 7th, 2006, 02:24 PM   #7
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Boy, I appreciate the comments about how to get high-fidelity recordings in these circumstances, but Jon's suggestion about large-diaphram condensors started me thinking.

Where there are ocean waves there will be corrosive salt air. I'd be thinking about a camera rain cover and a filter on the lens. I'd be concerned that any mic that saw a lot of useage on the beach would be a candidate for replacement in a period of 10-24 months.

Some ways to deal: the mic always goes out in a zeppelin with fur, then follow directions about washing the fur. I've heard of people encasing mics in unlubricated condoms, though I've not tried this. Buy cheap mics.

Then there's the sand... the beaches of Oregon (where I live) have a lot of wind for at least half the year. Blowing sand gets into EVERYTHING and is very bad for cameras. Not to mention tripods, lunch, etc.
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Old June 7th, 2006, 02:38 PM   #8
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Just a couple of random comments...

I've not had great luck with the "Softie" style protection in serious wind (say above 15-20mph). They are certainly better than nothing, but you'll start to hear wind noise with them above some speed. For real protection, you need a full zepplin style windscreen and a wind fur. Once again, Rycote is the industry standard, but there are others out there as well. DPA has an intriguing new collapsable model that I have not tried out yet.

The unlubricated condom as microphone protection works great. You need a nice, snug fit, and the impact to audio quality is very slight. I say buy the best microphone you possibly can and take care of it. Your microphones will outlast your camera by many, many years.

For "microphone tripods", you can use cheap microphone stands from your local musicians supply place. There are also solutions for mounting boom poles to C-stands or light stands if you'd rather go that route. Be sure to have something to weight the stand with so it doesn't blow over in the sea breeze.

Good luck and have fun!
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Old June 8th, 2006, 05:07 PM   #9
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When you listen and estimate to a sound effect for a movie, You have to close your eyes and have the relevant picture in your mind.

Apart of mic kind and wind protection etc. allow me to point another issue on the actual sound effect..

The ocean have no sound, its silent, what makes the sound is breaking waves or the sound of water splashing against any solid object floating in the ocean.

So you have to create a sound effect to match your scene or specific shoot..

When you record from the shore you get a general noise and you pickup all the waves and water noise all together, All waves breaking together, Kind of a loud "HISS". this is a realistic ocean shore line sound..

You need to have some "details" in your track. to get a nicer shore line track
you better go into the ocean, just pass the first wave line and point to the shore, what you will get is a nice periodical wave breaking effect. You can go few meters in by foot, use a boat or find a rock or a pier that goes into the ocean.

This is a fake effect, but this is what the audience will expect as a sound that serves your picture.

Also look at your scene and try to get an effect with waves similar to what you had in your shoot, Strong, Medium orů No breaking waves at all.


Hope this helps.
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Old June 8th, 2006, 06:44 PM   #10
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Anyone know of any zepplins for large diaphragm
condensers?
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Old June 11th, 2006, 02:03 PM   #11
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I would not recommend exposing a large-diaphragm to anywhere near surf, especially a salt-water location. I just got off of a Music video shoot on the Galveston beach. The vocalist had a AKG C414 (that is, a $1580 large diaphragm) - the salt-moisture ate away at the diaphragm, $700 in repair!

A few years ago, I did a gig recording ambient, a Schoeps surround setup (in figure-8 and -y configurations) on a boom. Mounting 5 Shoeps Figure-8 Small Diaphragm is disgustingly heavy, but the results were amazing. For anywhere near water, I use a DPA WINDPAC with it's rain-cover. I havent ever seen a anti-rain system for Rycotes, the WINDPAC does. Check em' out at:

http://www.dpamicrophones.com/

For ambience (anywhere), personally I prefer a set of Shure SM81's at an XY pattern and a Crown PCC160 mounted on a Music stand. These mics are nearly indestructable!

and if you really want to "dive in" - check out the submersible mic on the DPA website.
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Old June 11th, 2006, 02:57 PM   #12
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A lot of good ideas in this thread. Adding my $0.02 worth, I'd suggest going with a permanently polarized condenser mic rather than a (more expensive) "true condenser" mic. The reason is that true condensers are more prone to developing problems with noise and loss of response and sensitivity in high humidity and moisture conditions such as you'd find near surf, on boats and river rafts, etc.
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