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Old October 10th, 2008, 03:53 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Brian Standing View Post
Stationary mikes, especially directional ones, on a stand have their problems, too , though. If the subject turns away from the "sweet spot," the audio quality drops off considerably. If your subject is animated (and who doesn't want an animated subject?) this can happen even if they're sitting down in front of the camera.

Best bet is to do BOTH lav and a hypercardioid (assuming you're indoors) on a stationary boom. Feed each mike into a separate channel and use whichever sounds best in post.
Often they'll just use a tighter cardioid pattern mic rather than a full shotgun, which seems work as well. Especially if they've also have a mic on the off camera interviewer - there tends to be only one shotgun mic in most doc sound kits, so they use the two cardioids.
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 06:09 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Steve Sprague View Post
I'm planning on buying some lav mics as soon as I can afford it. Steve
If you're using a lav for a sit-down interview, no need to spend extra money on a wireless setup. A simple, wired lavalliere microphone will give you more reliable performance, simpler setup and better sound quality for much less than a wireless system. The Countryman B3, for example, is a fine microphone for these kind of applications, and costs less than $200 US.
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 09:07 AM   #18
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If you have PAs, pro talent etc. then wired lavs are fine. But shooting solo no way. Tethering amateur talent to your camera with a cable in a room littered with lighting fixtures is a recipe for disaster.
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 11:09 AM   #19
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But shooting solo no way.
Why not?
It's stressful, crazy, insane, I know;
it shouldn't be done, I know -
but that's all I can afford,
so I do it all the time,
and Swiss Public TV keeps on airing my stuff.
In two words: it works.
Avoid it if you can; if not, go for it,
keep your cool, double-check everything,
jot down a memo with all the essential steps.
but first and foremost: don't panic.

Vasco
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 11:45 AM   #20
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good point

if you do use a wired lav, the talent gets up to go to the bathroom and drags a couple of light stands over with the mic cable - don't panic. It won't help at all
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Old October 24th, 2008, 09:53 AM   #21
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good point

if you do use a wired lav, the talent gets up to go to the bathroom and drags a couple of light stands over with the mic cable - don't panic. It won't help at all
Whatever...
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Old October 24th, 2008, 11:53 AM   #22
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Funny thing. I've been using a wireless mic and was thinking of going wired on the next job.
I suppose that talent can do all sorts of crazy things if you let them.
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Old October 24th, 2008, 12:48 PM   #23
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So the key is... DON'T LET THEM do crazy things!

I have both a wireless and a wired lavalliere. I use whichever is best suited to the situation.

I can tell you, though, (risk of sending camera tumbling to the ground aside) that the ease of setup and reliability of a wired, phantom-powered lav -- not to mention the superior audio quality -- makes it a very attractive option for a one-man-band interview.

No worries about dead batteries, no radio interference, no mysterious interactions with SteadyShot. I've had all these problems with wireless mikes from time to time. At a minimum, it's worth having a wired lav in your kit as a backup in case your wireless system goes on the fritz. It's also much easier and faster to rig a wired lav than it is to set up a boom.

Just keep a firm grip on the camera tripod while you're shooting, and be ready to yell STOP! if your talent gets up to take a whizz. ;-)
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Old October 24th, 2008, 12:52 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Richard Gooderick View Post
Funny thing. I've been using a wireless mic and was thinking of going wired on the next job.
I suppose that talent can do all sorts of crazy things if you let them.
Richard,

I always use wired lavs: they make me feel safer.
I try to pay attention to what the talent is doing
when he tries to move around...

All sorts of things can wrong: when you're shooting solo,
you have a higher likelihood of something going wrong.
That's it, period.
You have to evaluate (guess) the probability of having
interference in your wireless vs. the likelihood of your talent
stumbling into something with his wired mic.
Just my 2 cents, of course...

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Old October 24th, 2008, 03:27 PM   #25
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OK. I'm going to live dangerously. Wish me luck :-)
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Old October 26th, 2008, 01:47 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Peter Ralph View Post
If you have PAs, pro talent etc. then wired lavs are fine. But shooting solo no way. Tethering amateur talent to your camera with a cable in a room littered with lighting fixtures is a recipe for disaster.
Have to agree; I shot two docs last year and shooting solo interviews is fairly stressful anyways - if there's no choice then so be it, but be careful (ensure the cables is long enough to be wrapped around something fixed so that someone walking off doesn't pull the cam down).
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Old October 29th, 2008, 07:14 PM   #27
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Chris Barcellos just posted a link to our entry in the documentary contest in this forum. The interview was shot using a hardwired lav (SONY ECM-44 - old film school standby available on E-bay for under $100 frequently, sometimes less) and a hyper on a fixed boom (Oktava MK-012, another E-bay acquisition and later modified by Bill Sitler).

I never once worried about my talent walking off wired... but then I also had him tied to a field mixer and some slack cable between that and the camera. By the time he got jerked by the tether to the mixer had he been trying to escape wired, he'd have realized his mistake.

I was in close quarters and could have gone wireless, but why? When able, use cable is my mantra. I guess I just don't understand the fear of wired talent that I am seeing in this thread.
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Old October 31st, 2008, 09:04 AM   #28
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I interview people as part of my "real" job and recently started incorporating this into my shooting. Here's some things that I find work well:

1. Talk to the subject in a regular conversation as you are setting up, checking levels etc. This way they'll be a little more relaxed when you switch into interview mode.

2) I find that people are a little distracted by me wearing headphones during the interview. So after I've checked levels and asked an introductory question or two to make sure everything is working, I slip the 'phones off. Yes this is risky!

3) Open ended questions are great but some people need a little help to focus; otherwise, they may revert back to yes/no answers. Try this: "Help me understand..." or "Could you explain..." This forces them to construct a complete idea in their head.

4) Eliminate distracting backgrounds, including noise. I ask everyone to turn off their phones, I pods etc.

5) Start with questions that they can answer easily, usually personal stuff like tell me your name for the camera. A few easy ones will loosen them up. Be ethical about it though....I would never do : "What's your name?" followed by "Tell me why you decided to stop beating your wife?" unless I was doing this for 60 Minutes or on trial!!! You don't (usually) want them to feel sandbagged.

6) Be inquisitive. People can tell whether you genuinely care about the answer versus you're just asking because it's on a list of questions someone prepared for the shoot.

Cheers,
Bob
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Old November 2nd, 2008, 04:49 PM   #29
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2) I find that people are a little distracted by me wearing headphones during the interview. So after I've checked levels and asked an introductory question or two to make sure everything is working, I slip the 'phones off. Yes this is risky!
I use Sony in-the-ear earbuds and slip one off to dangle while the other remains in my ear. Subject doesn't seem to notice and I still have the assurance that the audio hasn't crapped out. I've found the Sony's to be the loudest and most accurate of the in-the-ear design (realizing that they are FAR from reference...)
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Old January 4th, 2009, 08:51 PM   #30
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Great thread. The rules of mr Philip Gioja and Bob Kerner are very good. I do a lot of interviews. Ask, mention or say only what is needed to steer your talent into a direction you think is interesting for the goal you want to reach.

I always like to show the true personality of my talent and want situations or problems unfold in front of the camera with saying as less as possible.

But it's a lot more than that. I do all my interviews solo. Me, the camera, the mic and the talent. It's hard to control all of them in my head. I always cut my questions/etc from the interview, so the interview really becomes the story of the talent.

There is a dutch filmmaker called Frans Bromet who is famous for this. It's interesting to watch some of his work... i believe it exists with English subtitles. At least, it did screen with subs on the last IDFA.

Last edited by Chris van der Zaan; January 5th, 2009 at 05:50 PM.
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