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Old November 27th, 2006, 04:45 AM   #1
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Mic for capturing bird sounds

Hi all,

I am considering a long distance pickup mic on top of my canon xl1s.
Can anybody tell me the differences between those mics. Is one of them not/more suitable for the job?
AT4071
At4073
MKH 416
MKH418
I am considering all four mics because some of them are sold as second-hand.

Thanks
Sassi
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Old November 27th, 2006, 05:05 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sassi Haham
Hi all,

I am considering a long distance pickup mic on top of my canon xl1s.
Can anybody tell me the differences between those mics. Is one of them not/more suitable for the job?
AT4071
At4073
MKH 416
MKH418
I am considering all four mics because some of them are sold as second-hand.

Thanks
Sassi
It would depend on the distances but IMHO none of these would be the first choice for capturing good clear recordings of distance sounds such as bird calls or animal sounds. It's not that there's anything wrong with those mics - they're all excellent choices for what they're designed to do - it's that there simply aren't any on-camera mics that will be up to the job. Even shotguns are designed to be used as close as possible to the sound source, within a few feet of the source at most - contrary to popular notions they're not the acoustic equivalent of a telephoto lens. Your best bet is to investigate a microphone type called a parabolic reflecting mic. They're available commercially or you can DIY. A search with Google will turn up a number of sources and if there's a naturalist or birder supply store in your area they may even have something in stock that you can see first-hand.
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Old November 27th, 2006, 05:28 AM   #3
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on camera mic...

Thanks Steve.

I guess you are correct. But in my case I had to stick with an on camera mic
as I am shooting alone and my main interest is the video.
It can be the stock mic or one of those....

BTW
Most of the time shooting distances are 10m-30m.

Sassi
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Old November 27th, 2006, 07:38 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sassi Haham
Thanks Steve.

I guess you are correct. But in my case I had to stick with an on camera mic
as I am shooting alone and my main interest is the video.
It can be the stock mic or one of those....

BTW
Most of the time shooting distances are 10m-30m.

Sassi
Shotguns are intended to be used at between 1/2 and 1 or 2 meters from the sound source unless the source is very loud and even 3 meters is pushing it for optimal performance with normal sounds. Hypers the same and other type of mics such as omnis and cardioids need to be even closer. I don't think you're going to be happy with your results with any on-camera mic. A parabolic such as I recommended doesn't necessarily require a second person to handle it, although it certainly would be to your advantage if you could get someone to assist.
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Last edited by Steve House; November 27th, 2006 at 02:27 PM.
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Old November 27th, 2006, 01:58 PM   #5
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Website of another member...

In another thread, I found a website by Andy Joyce, another DVinfo member. And when I saw your post it made me think of his site.

http://www.geocities.com/amjoyce2004

Maybe shoot him an email and see what results he's had with a custom parabolic mic...

Just a thought...

Kevin
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Old November 27th, 2006, 05:50 PM   #6
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Sassi, I do most of my filming alone. I do a lot of recording with 2 sennheiser MK67 shotgun. It's very important to get good ambience sound.

I found that the onboard mic at my XL2 will not give me the quality I want it's pick up to much noice from the operator and the comcorders internal noice.

I know that it's much work to prepare the external mics, so my trick is to do some ambience shooting, where I'm recording for some minutes at the set.
Then I can move without the external mics and shot from other angles, do close ups and so on.
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Old November 27th, 2006, 10:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sassi Haham
Hi all,

I am considering a long distance pickup mic on top of my canon xl1s.
Can anybody tell me the differences between those mics. Is one of them not/more suitable for the job?
AT4071
At4073
MKH 416
MKH418
I am considering all four mics because some of them are sold as second-hand.

Thanks
Sassi
The 4073 is very sensitive. Moreso than the others you mention. The ratio of ambient noise to bird sound is very important. Don't expect any mic to act like a telescopic camera lens. They just don't work that way.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old November 28th, 2006, 12:11 AM   #8
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Thanks all,

Ty and Steve, I understand your point.
The better way would be to capture the video and the sound separately probably with a parabolic mic/setup.
Kevin, interesting link. But working outdoors in the 'wilderness' with windy conditions I think it will not work for me.
Per Johan, thanks for the idea, I will try it.
But I have questions though...
I am shooting more 'run and gun' style then you (I am a birder), so your technique better suits your style.
You said that it's much work to prepare the external mics, why aren't you leaving one of those mics permanently attached to your XL2 instead of the stock mic ?
On one of your lovely Musk Ox trailers there is a close up with some grumblings, it would be great to have that moment's sound track.
Second, do you record those sounds on another device or directly to the tape ?

Thanks again
Sassi
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