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Old August 29th, 2006, 06:00 PM   #1
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Getting Equipment

First off, I'm a picture person. I've studied art, photography, architecture, etc etc. Now that i'm studying film, of course I have been wholly focused (haha) on image quality. Never once considering sound.
"The camera has a mic built in, that should be fine right? The built in mic doesn't move, It's too far away from the person speaking - no big deal, I can get a microphone from Radio Shack that plugs into the camera for under $10. That's fine right?"

I've come to the realization that NO it is not "fine". I've been reading the forums, watching short films/commercials/shows/movies. Yesterday it finally Clicked for me...Sound really IS important. I realized that most of the time when i watch an video on Youtube (for example), I will ALWAYS say it "sucks" if the sound is horrid. I've actually turned off videos because of bad sound.

Ok..what was my point? Oh yeah, well after my realization of sound last night, I decided to nix the idea of getting a $50 mic (atr-55). I actually decided to get the ME66 that i've seen recommended a LOT on these boards. Luckily for me, B&H happend to have 1 used one on sale! Was it destined for me? I don't know, but I sure did buy it. Haha. Hopefully i made the right choice, even though I still don't understand a lot about getting good sound. I never in my life thought I'd spend that much money on a microphone, ever. I really thought they were all the same.



THE POINT of this message is: what is the best application of this microphone? Is there a specific job it does horribly that I should look for another mic to cover? I was thinkng that the ME66 will be good for dialog (boom pole or mouned on camera), but that I might need something else for ambient sound. Is that true? It doesn't look like it comes with a foam cover or anything...how important is it to get one?

The two events i will be filming in the very near future (next 3 weeks) will be a wedding (probably wont use sound from this camera at all though) and I'm taking a trip to Disneyland where I'll be using sound from that - so thats the one i need to consider for the extra equipment such as the foam cover, etc.

Any tips you can give would be greatly appreciated. I definately don't want crappy sound (anymore). Now that i have Heard the light.

My camera is a Canon GL-1
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Old August 29th, 2006, 06:21 PM   #2
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I hope it comes with the battery and XLR screw on attachement (K6 module, I think) as part of the package. You normally buy them separately. I am sure you also know you will have to use an XLR adapter to hook it into your GL.

I have ME-66 and I use it on boom, and as an on camera mic. It is shotgun in nature as I understood it when I bought it, giving it more of a directional pick up- though it may have a bit more omni directional that a full shotgun.

It will actually work well on your camera at a wedding reception, especially when training it on individuals for interviews. It may also be good for training on the bride and groom for vows, if you don't have lavalier mics on them.

For the Disney trip, I probably would not use it, and might instead want to go with a stereo mic.
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Old August 29th, 2006, 06:23 PM   #3
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Yeah, it comes with the power, the K6 module. I already have the XLR adapter for my camera too.

I'm thinking for the Disney trip I'll need to get an omnidirectional mic of some sort. Not sure what yet, seems most of the discussion i've seen are about directional mics.
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Old August 30th, 2006, 02:37 AM   #4
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Hi Lisa

I too come from a photo background (15 years a news photog) and have probably worked harder on sound than any other aspect of my shooting. (Although lighting is playing a bigger part now!! but that's another story). I've found you just get deeper and deeper once you start stratching the surface. As soon as you want to make sound better, it seems to get harder, as your expectations go up..You notice every imperfection, wind noise, knocks on a cable.. heads turned away from a boom mic et, etc,

I've found that for anything other than ambient audio recording the worst possible place for the mic is on camera...

What you'll soon find is that you need more than one mic, and a lots of other accessories, the more you get into it..probably a boom and a shock mount, several XLR cables, adapters, a Rycote etc...For your camera a Beachtek would be a good acquisition, to allow the use of two mics simultaneously. You see the list goes on and on...

I've got an AT897 mic which is destined for similar usage to your own Sennhieser. They are very ueful and versitile mics... I use mine on a boom with a small pre-amp mixer. I often give it to my talent as a handheld in two person interview situations.... You can place it on a light stand and thus move it closer to your subject... If I'm not too worried about the audio but just want ambience I leave it on the camera and it gives nice clean sound.

However as a solo shooter on many occasions you'll find a set of radio mics will have loads of applications.
Naturally you can tie clip it to your talent... Groom, presenter, actor interviewer or what ever....In a more static situation you can place the mic somewhere close to the subject, unseen...You can link them up to the shot gun again for Vox Pop type shoots... I even use mine linked to my pre-mix to give my sounds guy (when I have one) more freedom.

Once you get into it.....!!!!!

Every scene you shoot presents it's own set of problems to getting good audio..Once you plug those headphones in (you do have headphones I take it?), you'll start hearing all sorts of stuff you don't want...wind noise, planes, cars, dogs other people...there lies the challenge!!!

good luck..

Gareth
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Old August 30th, 2006, 04:20 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa Shofner
...
I actually decided to get the ME66 that i've seen recommended a LOT on these boards. Luckily for me, B&H happend to have 1 used one on sale! Was it destined for me? I don't know, but I sure did buy it. Haha. Hopefully i made the right choice, even though I still don't understand a lot about getting good sound. I never in my life thought I'd spend that much money on a microphone, ever. I really thought they were all the same...
And guess what? The ME66 is a budget mic as mics intended for professional use go! Take a look at B&H's price on a Schoeps CMC641, arguably the standard boom mic for Hollywood film and network television series or a Neuman RSM191 shotgun - make sure you're sitting down first <grin>

Quote:
THE POINT of this message is: what is the best application of this microphone? Is there a specific job it does horribly that I should look for another mic to cover? I was thinkng that the ME66 will be good for dialog (boom pole or mouned on camera), but that I might need something else for ambient sound. Is that true? It doesn't look like it comes with a foam cover or anything...how important is it to get one?
First of all, cleanse yourself of the notion that ANY on-camera mic will be good for dialog. For good dialog pickup, the sort of sound you hear in theatrical movies or on broadcast television dramatic series, you need to have the mic much closer to the sound source that most camera positions would allow - the best camera position for a well composed image is usually, with extremely rare exceptions, the absolutely worst place to put a microphone. You have to get them close to the sound source, usually 18 to 24 inches is a goal to shoot for. There is a common misconception that a shotgun mic is like a telephoto lens, somehow reaching out and magnifying sounds. That's not at all true - a better visual analogy is more like looking down the centre tube from a roll of paper towel - it has "tunnel vision" in that it excludes sounds other than those directly from where its aimed but it is NOT more sensitive to sound than any other mic. The fact that it's not picking so much background noise does mean that you can turn up the recording gain a bit more with one, hence they have more "reach," but that's not the same thing as increased sensitivity.

Shotguns are best used either outdoors or in acoustically tailored soundstage environments. The reason is their directional qualities are highly dependent on frequency, actualy becoming more like omnis at some frequencies. As a result of its differing response with frequency, the reflected sounds arriving at the mic in a normal interior from directions other than where it's directly aimed will be highly coloured and unnatural sounding. For most real-world interior situations, which makes up most video production, a hypercardioid mic such as an AudioTechnica AT4053a, AKG S300/CK93, or the aforementioned Schoeps CMC641 on a boom or stand placed just out of shot as close as possible to the talent is much preferred. That's not to say you made a mistake purchasing your mic - it's a good piece of basic gear for any sound kit. But a shotgun, even those costing 3 to 5 times or more the price your ME66 cost brand new, is not a panacea.

The foam covering, BTW, is a wind-noise shield and is very important. The fitted foam covers are to help prevent handling noise and help silence very gentle breezes and breath sounds - signifigant wind outdoors needs more - a furry or a zepplin. You're also going to need a shock mount if the mic isn't coming with one.

Once you add a hyper to your kit, you probably should start thinking about lavalier mics, first wired and then wireless (when you're able, use a cable <g>).

One more thing to consider from the very start, all too often overlooked. You MUST monitor your sound as you shoot with a GOOD pair of well isolated headphones, NOT walkman-style earbuds, computer multimedia headsets, or consumer hifi headphones. The industry mainstay is arguably the Sony MDR7506 and you'll find them in use on 90% of the film productions in the world. There are other professional headsets that some favour and there are professional in-ear monitors that are especially popular with musicians, but whatever you decide on don't skimp! And to go with the headphones you might find you need a small battery-powered headphone amp to clip to your belt.

Fellow DVInfo member Ty Ford has a mic tutorial video in the shared folders section of his web site - www.tyford.com - that I *strongly* urge you to dl and view.

HTH
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Last edited by Steve House; August 30th, 2006 at 09:03 AM.
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Old August 30th, 2006, 08:48 AM   #6
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Also tell us what XLR adapter you have since that can influence the mic recommendations we make.
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Old August 30th, 2006, 09:01 AM   #7
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I use the ME66 with a GL2 and I'll share my experience. First, unless you have already done so, there are a couple of accessories you need to get these two working together.

The GL1 wont accept an XLR cable from the mic. So you need to convert the connector to a minijack the GL1 will take. You dont want to lose the interference protection, "balancing," the XLR format provides so you need a transformer protected adpater. I reccomend the Shure A96F ($37 and B&H photo). Plug the XLR cable from the mic into the A96F and the A96F into the minijack on the camera. However do not let the A96F hang from the minijack as it will break it shortly. I usually tape the A96F body to the outside of the hand grip and that works great.

The ME66 is a very high output "hot" mic that will easily overload the inputs on a GL1 and there is nothing you can do about it in the camera. So you need about a -20db attenuator, "pad," to bring the level down (assuming the GL1 has the same audio circuits as a GL2). I use the Shure A15AS variable pad ($39 at BH) set to -20. I usually connect this to the back of the mic and the plug the cable into that.

The ME66 is good for focusing on one voice in a very noisy environment. It is not a good mic for indoors, especially in a small room as it will really color (in a bad way) sound that is not coming directly from the front. I actually use the ME64 for most dialog recording, especially indoors. However in a very noisy wedding reception, especially in a large hall or outdoors, or outdoors at Disney, the ME66 may not be a bad choice as long as you are recording a speaking voice. I think these mics were really designed for new gathering where the ability to hear what someone is saying is more important than the quality of the sound.

the ME66 is also a lot fun for sound effects. Stick it up to machinery around the house or against your chest for some entertainment. Placed in the ice maker opening on my fridge makes a great tornado effect.

I also totally agree on picking up a pair of Sony 7506 headphones and always using them. Just keep telling yourself you look like a "pro" not a "geek" :)
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Old August 30th, 2006, 10:17 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Massengill
Also tell us what XLR adapter you have since that can influence the mic recommendations we make.
I have the Beachtek two-mic adapter.

As far as headphones, I use a set of Sony Digital Studio headphones. I don't have them with me at the moment though, and can't remember the model number. They are great headphones though, I spent a long time trying out all the headphones in the store (Fry's) before deciding on these.

This ME66 is just the start, I am aware. I was looking into lav mics also, of course there's more hundreds of dollars for one with good sound. I'm glad, it seems I was right about the use of the ME66. I've been planning all along to get more then one mic, but need to go one at a time. I figured the ME66 would be a good start though, definately better then the crappy sounding on-camera mic.

Sounds like I'll need to be getting a couple windscreens though.

I was thinking - for ambient sound at disneyland - what about an off-camera digital recorder (Sony Hi-MD or some such) hooked up to a super-cardioid mic. I could match the tracks up in post, but that way I could get good ambient with the recorder and good vocal with the shotgun. What do you think?


Thanks you guys for all the info so far.

~ Lisa
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Old August 30th, 2006, 10:47 AM   #9
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I think maybe you are missing the point of going to Disney- To have fun. Trying to schlep around a portable studio and make a broadcast production will destroy the experience... and kill you in the end.

Keep your gear and techniques light. Carry the cam, use a better mic, but keep it simple.
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Old September 1st, 2006, 10:01 AM   #10
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aww crap

Ok, so I got the package from B&H yesterday. Seems the mic was listed on the website wrong. It was listed as "ME66/K6". However, I open up the package and the actual mic is "ME64/K6".

The price was about $275

My question to you all is, should I keep it or send it back? I haven't done any research on the ME64 and have no idea if it's something I should keep or not. Not even sure if that is a good price for it or not.
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Old September 1st, 2006, 01:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa Shofner
Ok, so I got the package from B&H yesterday. Seems the mic was listed on the website wrong. It was listed as "ME66/K6". However, I open up the package and the actual mic is "ME64/K6".

The price was about $275

My question to you all is, should I keep it or send it back? I haven't done any research on the ME64 and have no idea if it's something I should keep or not. Not even sure if that is a good price for it or not.
The ME64 is a decent general purpose cardioid mic picking up in a roughly hemispherical pattern in the direction the mic is pointed, not a highly directional "pinpoint beam" like a hypercardioid or a shotgun. B&H lists the new price at $365 for the ME64/K6 set compared to $409 for the ME66/K6 set so it's not as good a deal as you thought you were getting. If you keep it you only saved $90 over new instead of the over $135 you were expecting. You can certainly find uses for it, just not for quite the same purposes you were ordering the '66 for. Only you can decide whether you should keep it or not, personally I'd insist they send me a '66 as advertised even if they have to pull one from new stock <g>.
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Last edited by Steve House; September 1st, 2006 at 02:38 PM.
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Old September 1st, 2006, 01:23 PM   #12
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Yeah steve, I think i'll call them today. I noticed they did have the ME66 listed again with a higher price. Doublechecked my "order status" email and it does indeed list the item as the ME66/K6.

I'll have to give B&H a call. Thanks for the info on the 64 though. It could be useful too.
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Old September 1st, 2006, 01:36 PM   #13
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Can't you replace the me64 capsule with an me66 capsule, and use it for either?
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Old September 1st, 2006, 02:24 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Keith Forman
Can't you replace the me64 capsule with an me66 capsule, and use it for either?
Except she paid for a '66/K6 combo and got a '64/K6 combo worth less. Though B&H's pricing is kinda strange - there's a $25 difference in the two capsules by themselves, but when they're each mated to the same K6 power module there's $50 difference between the two kits.
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