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Old April 4th, 2007, 11:41 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Steve House View Post
Good advice but a minor clarification for our readers ... there is no such thing as a "cardioid shotgun." A mic may be cardioid with a wide hemispheric pattern, or shotgun (more properly called 'super-cardioid') with a narrow spotlight beam-like pattern, but they're mutually exclusive.
Woops, sorry typo on my part.
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Old April 4th, 2007, 11:50 AM   #17
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If you're in spain, you should be able to get hold of a Sennheiser MKH-416 for pretty cheap. Easier than an Audio Technica.... The US-based guys have to pay a premium for the 416, so usually recommend the AT. K6/ME66 and MKH-416 shouldn't be mentioned in same sentence.

The Senn 416 is an absolute workhorse-- it'll work fantastically well on-camera, or on a boom... plus you'd be unlucky not to get 20 years of use out of it ... not many bits of kit you can say that for.

ps, I use a second hand senn 416, plus an akg blueline hyper ... the blueline sounds better indoors when v close to your subject with not much ambient noise, ALL other situations the 416 wins. I say that the 416 has a habit of capturing better audio than it has any right to, in lots of "not ideal" circumstances.... in europe, it's affordable and ubiquitous.
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Old April 4th, 2007, 11:54 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Erik Norgaard View Post
My budget is 4.000 euros, the 3.500 has been spent on the cam and I need a tripod too. So for a mic I can't spend a fortune.
Well, if audio doesn't matter very much then you're right on track. Buy something with whatever money you have left over (if any) after camera and sticks. A camera-mounted mic is extremely versatile for consistently mediocre sound.

If the quality of the sound does matter, you'll need to find more budget.

Yes, you can afford a good omni dynamic handheld mike, and that will be fine for the use of putting it in someone's hand for an interview.

Or, a wired lavalier for interviews, you might be able to afford passable quality for that.

None of these mics is appropriate for a stage production. Sorry. You can search other threads for stage productions, concert recording, or whatever else you might be shooting.

If you have 100 euro buy a rode videomic and put it on your camera - maybe it will be acceptable to you for a while. While you're at it, figure out what kind of audio will come from a mixing board in a stage production, and buy some quality cable and whatever interface you need (again, this has been answered in other threads, depending on the specifics of your situation).

************************
You'll get the most value from the experience of contributors to this forum if you ask specific questions. Ask "what mic is the best mic?" and everyone has a different answer because everyone is shooting something different. What matters is what is the best mic for what you're shooting.

Ask "the sound engineer told me he can give me a line level xlr feed, how do I get that into my camera?" and you'll get a very specific answer - but you'd better tell us whether you have a canon a1 or a sony a1.
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Old April 4th, 2007, 03:53 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Martin Saxer View Post
Great post, rather against conventional wisdom though...

I am curious. Do you really use a dynamic mic on camera or on a boom? Please post a recording done like this and let us judge with our own ears.

Dynamic mics are good for situations where the sound source is very close to the mic. They are good on stage to prevent feedback. But I have never seen anybody using dynamic mics on camera or on a boom in film or video, appart from TV style interviews where the mic is held by the reporter and visible in the frame. Have you?

Martin,

Of course not. That't not their purpose. A good dynamic mic is designed to be a simple, robust, dependable and reasonably accurate transducer of acoustical energy into electrical impulses. No more nor less.

THAT is the basic "square one" definition of audio recording.

Which is why they are where many people START. But no one suggests anyone should END there.

There are NO mics, dynamic, cardiod, hyper-cardiod, PZM or otherwise that record quality sound at a long "camera to source" distance. NONE. Period.

It's the physics of the inverse square principal.

The only reason you see mics mounted on camcorders is that it's the convenience position of last resort. It's NEVER for audio quality. And everyone who knows anything about sound recording will likely agree that the FIRST thing you do to improve your sound quality is to get your mic OFF the camera and closer to the subject you want to record.

You can do that by putting a hyper on a boompole. OR you can do that by hiding your cheap stick mic in a plant between two character. BOTH will outperform an expensive, sensitive mic mounted on a camera.

Don't get me wrong, so-called "shotguns" are great - for what they're good for. But lousy for a lot of things as well.

The best you can hope for is that in a quiet environment, in a not very reflective space, a tighter pattern or more sensitive pickup element on a mic will allow you to get SOMEWHAT farther from you source than a less sensitive dynamic and not mess up your audio too much.

This is the point of boom positioning. To get as CLOSE as pracitical while remaining off camera.

In regard to maintaining a good signal to noise ratio, mic to subject distance is pretty much the whole ball game.

Fine quality microphones do somewhat better at distance because their self noise is lower - allowing higher gain before problems - and because their pickup patterns SOMEWHAT SURPRESS off-axis sounds.

But even that "rejection" is typically limited by both frequency and environment.

For example, mic patterns do practically nothing to reject long wavelengths (low frequencies.) Take your hyper next to a road with truck traffic, point it 180 degrees away and you'll see what I mean. The hiss will diminish, the rumble will not. (Ever notice how many "shotgun mics" have a low cut switch?)

Sound is complex. If you learn sound by watching or talking to digital moviemakers - then just "buy what they use", then find out that the current market will really only PAY you for recording "lecture hall" audio - don't be surprised if your shotgun mics and wind socks (perhaps sensible gear for outdoor dialog scenes) underperform a $50 stick mic on a stand near the house speaker, or a $40 pad and a $50 XLR cable tapped off the FOH board.

To get sound right you MUST know that kind of recording situation you're going to face and equip yourself to do THAT kind of sound recording properly.

And that means that there will NEVER be single a "best" mic. Period.

For the OP, just keep learning. And don't spend more than you absolutely have to until you learn what you're REALLY going to need for the kind of recording you'll REALLY be doing.

That's why I recommended what I did. It's the cheapest way to get started learning the reality of SOUND, and when you do eventually decide the kind of work you're going to primarily do, it will not only hold it's value incredibly well, it will likely STILL be useful to you.

Something it's MUCH harder to say about sensitive battery powered hyper-cardiiod condensor that may be fine with the "camera X you own today, but languishes in your bag when you get a smoking deal on camera Y in two years which requires phantom power and a different connector.

For what it's worth.
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Old April 4th, 2007, 04:27 PM   #20
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Bill,

Great post. Lots of wisdom there.

Still, I would only recommend a dynamic mic for recording a person, drum or guitar amp up close. They're great for that. They handle high SPLs and aren't so sensitive that they pick up too much background noise. We use a dynamic for voiceovers and the results are just fine - even in an uncontrolled environment. Pick up a Shure SM58 and it'll hold its value forever.

But if you want the mic to not be seen in the video frame, I'd go for a lav, shotgun or hypercardiod. Get one that accepts batteries and you don't have to worry about phantom power. One problem with a dynamic is that the signal is so low that at distance, you have to crank the gain. Even if the self noise is low, the noise of the preamp and the limited range of your DAW gain controls come into play.

Every mic has its strengths and weaknesses. Our latest film, Milk Battle required ADR (long story). We recorded the voices with our dynamic. But I needed some background ambiance. So I pulled out my $30 omni measurement mic, set it out doors, and recorded between planes and traffic noises. I rolled off the highs, looped it, and, voila, the ADR voices were no longer in a sterile environment. (Then again, once I added all of the lightsaber sounds, it didn't matter!)

Anyway, a dynamic mic is a great tool, but if you don't expect to get it within inches of the source, I'd choose something else...
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Old April 4th, 2007, 07:51 PM   #21
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Get one that accepts batteries and you don't have to worry about phantom power.

IMO... I'd rather run off phantom than battery. If the battery is dying, it will impair sound quality. You don't have that problem with phantom. (Although I suppose you could argue that you could drain your field mixer faster, and THAT will impair sound quality. Some mixers don't warn you early enough.)
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Old April 5th, 2007, 07:51 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Bill Davis View Post
There are NO mics, dynamic, cardiod, hyper-cardiod, PZM or otherwise that record quality sound at a long "camera to source" distance. NONE. Period.
That is absolutely true. However, there are differences in how well different mics can record sound at a distance and what the distance is. The original poster stated that he is recording stage and theater productions. So the best way is to put everyone on their own wireless lavalier. However, it doesn't seem like that is realistic considering budget and logistics.

So what is the alternative? I'd say use a couple boundry/stage mics that lay flat on the stage. Get ones that have a 180 degree pickup pattern to reject the audience and room ambience. Space them at the front of the stage to reduce the distance between any one point of the stage to a microphone. Then in post, select the best mic for a given line rather than having them both up at the same time. You could get two Audio-Technica PRO44 for about $100 a piece (they have to be phantom powered like most boundry mics)

Then for interviews. To use a shotgun properly, it really needs to be mounted on a stand and just 16-24 inches from the mouth. That's more setup time and money. It might be better to just get a lavalier. You could probably skimp a little on quality here to save some money. You could get a Samson QL5-CL for $70 or a Shure SM93 for $150.

So I'd say for your purposes, get two boundry mics and a cheap lavalier.
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Old April 5th, 2007, 08:00 AM   #23
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Brett, Mt. Ranier!!! Wow, we're not that far away.

You can fly mics on monofilament above the stage. Lavs are less intrusive, but their small diaphragms mean more self noise. A network of small omnis pointed straight down can work.

I've also mounted shotguns at several places; stage left, right and under the balcony all alimed at the stage and run through an automixer.

If the theater is small enough (and with a little wall treatment to take the sting offf the reflections) you can get something pretty good.

Wireless lavs are best, though. If this is for a one time thing, you can rent the wireless lavs for the gig.

Regards,

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Old April 5th, 2007, 08:03 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Brett Sherman View Post
That is absolutely true. However, there are differences in how well different mics can record sound at a distance and what the distance is. The original poster stated that he is recording stage and theater productions. ...
You are quite correct. The problem is that so many people are incredibly optomistic as to what those distance are. Even the best professional mics have effective working distances that range from a few inches out to a few feet. Even the best shotgun mics working in a controlled environment perform optimally out to a maximum of perhaps 6 to 10 feet from the talent at most.
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Old April 5th, 2007, 09:19 AM   #25
 
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Originally Posted by Steve House View Post
Even the best shotgun mics working in a controlled environment perform optimally out to a maximum of perhaps 6 to 10 feet from the talent at most.
Nah, that can't be true. I saw the movie "Airwolf" and they used a shotgun on the front of a helicopter to record sounds up to a quarter mile away, with special phase-based denoising software to eliminate all ambient noise (even inside the heli) so that only the dialog was crystal clear. ;-)

The misconceptions about shotguns are surprising
-stereo shotguns
-cardioid shotguns
-reach of shotguns
-magical abilities of shotguns
-short vs long
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Old April 5th, 2007, 10:48 AM   #26
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Nah, that can't be true. I saw the movie "Airwolf" and ....
Ah, that's great, and it got my day off with a good laugh. Thanks Douglas! We should start an entire thread on Technology as Hollywood sees it :-)
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Old April 5th, 2007, 04:32 PM   #27
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Get one that accepts batteries and you don't have to worry about phantom power.

IMO... I'd rather run off phantom than battery. If the battery is dying, it will impair sound quality. You don't have that problem with phantom. (Although I suppose you could argue that you could drain your field mixer faster, and THAT will impair sound quality. Some mixers don't warn you early enough.)
Hi Glenn,

Yep. Phantom is best. Many mics give different specs for battery vs. phantom and, in general, the phantom specs are best. Our shotgun (an AT815b) works on both, so we can use a battery and transformer into the camera today, and phantom into a mixer tomorrow.

And you're right about dead batteries. We have a few recent ADR scars to prove it!

If you don't have the budget for a mixer today, get a mic that accepts batteries - and phantom as well. If you already have a phantom source, or the budget for it, then there's no need for the battery feature. (Then again, if your mixer dies in the field, the battery feature can be part of "Plan B"...)
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Old April 5th, 2007, 06:58 PM   #28
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Lots of advice here for you to consider. THE MOST IMPORTANT consideration for you is to get the mic -which ever one you choose- as close to the sound you want to record as possible. No mic will deliver great sound if it is too far away. So, having said that, consider what you will be shooting most and get the best mic you can afford that will get you closest to the action. A good mic will last years and not go out of style like the camera. As you save more money, get another mic that will give you additional capability. Over time you'll have the tools you need for most any job.
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