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Old September 27th, 2006, 10:09 PM   #1
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When buying a shotgun mic on ebay...

I'm doing a project this fall which will require dialogue to be taped on my Sony consumer MiniDV camera, so I need to get a cheap shotgun mic.

when i'm looking at the cheap mics on ebay, ie 50$ to 100$ what do i need to be sure of so that it works with my camera?

ie my camera has a mic input on the side, but from past experiences i've always found there to be a lot of noise when i plug in cheap handheld mics into it.

Do the shotgun mics automatically record to both channels when I plug them into my camera?

http://cgi.ebay.ca/AZDEN-990-Super-C...QQcmdZViewItem

i saw this mic had a mixer that comes with it, so i was thinking of bidding on that one because my camera gives no control of the audio levels.
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Old September 28th, 2006, 07:24 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Cowley
I'm doing a project this fall which will require dialogue to be taped on my Sony consumer MiniDV camera, so I need to get a cheap shotgun mic.

when i'm looking at the cheap mics on ebay, ie 50$ to 100$ what do i need to be sure of so that it works with my camera?

....
IMHO your best bet wuld be a Rode VideoMic. They're excellent quality, designed to work with a mini-jack mic input, and reasonable in cost, altogether a good mate to your consumer video camera. You might even find a new one is in your budget, though a bit higher than the price range you mentioned for eBay, it's not dramatically so. Don't go too cheap as sound quality is arguably more important then picture quality when it comes to audience impact and acceptance.
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Old September 28th, 2006, 12:58 PM   #3
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WOW!
Quote:
ECZ-990 has a range of 35 feet
Gotta love that line off the eBay description!

I agree with Steve though, a RODE Videomic is studio grade quality sound for a bargain price and would be your best bet for the money.

If you need to keep searching used though, a Sennheiser MKE-300, which is a very similiar mic to the RODE might be something to "add to Favorite Searches" on eBay. Keep in mind though, it doesn't have a built-in shockmount.

Both of these mics will record mono onto the Left and Right channels via the 1/8" miniplug jack.
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Old September 28th, 2006, 05:02 PM   #4
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I looked at the Rode VideoMic, but i saw that it is camera-mounted. I'm planning on having the camera fairly far away from the subjects zooming in, so i wanted to run a mic up close with an extention cable. My camera also makes a considerable amount of tape motor noise, so i have to keep it away from the camera because of that too.


can I assume then that all video shotgun mics will plug directly into my camera and record mono on both channels, without lots of noise?

ie the one in the ebay link, which i can see from the picture has a miniPlug jack.
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Old September 28th, 2006, 05:33 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Cowley
I looked at the Rode VideoMic, but i saw that it is camera-mounted. I'm planning on having the camera fairly far away from the subjects zooming in, so i wanted to run a mic up close with an extention cable. My camera also makes a considerable amount of tape motor noise, so i have to keep it away from the camera because of that too.


can I assume then that all video shotgun mics will plug directly into my camera and record mono on both channels, without lots of noise?

ie the one in the ebay link, which i can see from the picture has a miniPlug jack.
No, you cannot make that assumption at all. Most shotgun mics - indeed, most pro level mics of all sorts - use XLR connectors and will require an adapter to use with a miniplug. The adapter will have to be wired correctly to convert a balanced, mono, XLR mic to an unbalanced, stereo, mic-in jack and also block the 5vDC mic bias often present on consumer camcorders.

Condensor mics require some form of power for the mic element - most better quality mics require a 48v phantom power supply (something quite different from the mic bias mentioned above), but some, like the Rode, use an internal battery for that purpose. Others have the option of either phantom plus an internal battery for those situations where phantom isn't available. Since your camera doesn't provide phantom, looking for mics with an internal battery is for you unless you're also going to get a mixer that does provide it.

You're right on the mark with your intent to get the mic off of the camera and close to the subject - this is how all mics, including shotguns, usually should be used. Congratulations on getting off to a good start and avoiding one of the most common mistakes beginners make. Rode makes an accessory boompole and extension cable for precisely this purpose. Or you can use a regular mic stand placed just out of frame - you can get an inexpensive one for ~$25 in most larger music stores.

Re your eBay find - Azden mics have a less than sterling reputation. Sorry.
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Old September 28th, 2006, 05:49 PM   #6
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The RODE Videomic has 1/4" 20 threading and 3/8" threads located on the bottom for quick and easy attachment to either a tripod or boom pole. You'll need a 5/8" to 3/8" adapter to use it on a typical mic stand.

Manfrotto also has the 3102 "Rapid Adapter" that does 5/8" stud to 3/8" so you can attach the Videomic to a light stand. These work great with the RODE SM3 shockmount too for attaching "normal" shotguns to a lightstand. The SM3 has 3/8" threads.

If you order a RODE Videomic from the DVeStore just say "DVinfo sponsor special: free adapter per Guy" and include the name of which ever one you want and I'll make sure you get one included at no cost. That should help you get the mic on some sort of stand to get it closer to the action and further away from the noisy tape transport and zoom motor noise.
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Old September 28th, 2006, 08:53 PM   #7
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Then there's the whole question of why you think you need a shotgun over, say, a hypercardioid or supercardioid........

Take a visit to my On Line Archive and watch the Ty Ford Mic Tutorial.mp4.


Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old September 29th, 2006, 08:36 AM   #8
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thanks for all your replies, i'll keep looking around on ebay, and hopefully a VideoMic will come up at a good deal.

i'd buy brand new from that store you suggested, but i hesitate because i always get screwed at the border with duty taxes and stuff when shipped.

are there any good Canadian Retailers that would sell the VideoMic?
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Old September 29th, 2006, 09:37 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Cowley
thanks for all your replies, i'll keep looking around on ebay, and hopefully a VideoMic will come up at a good deal.

i'd buy brand new from that store you suggested, but i hesitate because i always get screwed at the border with duty taxes and stuff when shipped.

are there any good Canadian Retailers that would sell the VideoMic?
Long & McQuade carries it and they had one in stock when I was in their Burlington Store a month or so ago. Also DV Shop in Toronto, Vistek, and I think Trew Audio in Toronto as well (Trew is well worth a visit to drool over their high end pro-gear and pickup their rental rate card.)
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Old September 29th, 2006, 05:47 PM   #10
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Saved By Technology lists the mic for $159CDN. Not sure if that helps (it seems like their prices are generally very good though).
http://www.savedbytechnology.com/main2/search.htm

2- When importing goods from the States:
A- You have to pay brokerage fees (if you are getting charged customs). The slow UPS and Fedex shipping options have exorbant brokerage fees. Fedex invoices you months later.
You should aim to ship with USPS, not UPS. USPS will come to you via Canada Post (I think), and the brokerage fees will be $5 for slow shipping and $8 for express/priority.
B- For customs, you have to pay GST and PST.
C- Items under $20 do not get charged, unless your entire order is over $60.

Sometimes customs will open your package and delay the item for weeks, and other times they will re-assess you or something like that.

2- And yes, Trew Audio is a good place to visit. :)
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