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Documentary Techniques
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Old February 11th, 2005, 01:11 PM   #1
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Audio for documentary

I am shooting a history documentary this summer and I will have an on camera person talking where I need to record her voice talking via a wireless lavalier and than I would like to record the ambient noise and "room tone" via a shotgun mike...the 2 microphone will not interfere with each other???????
I mean the shotgun will not pick up the voice of the on-camera person also and cause problem???
Thanks
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Old February 11th, 2005, 02:40 PM   #2
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It can cause a problem if the two tracks are mixed together at full strength. If the two mics are recorded to separate tracks, and this separate control is maintained during the editing process, then the two signals can be carefully selected or blended at varying strengths to give the best sound as the situation changes.
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Old February 11th, 2005, 04:56 PM   #3
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Here's a thought. Record your on-camera personality with the lavalier mic, THEN record an equal duration of ambient sound from the room, which you can mix together with the dialog in post. You will have the flexibility to use just the right level of ambient sound, and the dialog won't conflict.
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Old February 11th, 2005, 05:03 PM   #4
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I would use the camera 2 XLR in connection 1for shotgun 1 for the wireless.....If I have to do as Joshua suggested it would be really hard...!!
How the pros do it on the discovery channel and so ?? They use boom poles ? When they talk in front of the camera but you can still hear the street noise and the ambient noises I dont think they all added in post...!! Or you can hear then through the wireless lavalier ???
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Old February 12th, 2005, 11:45 PM   #5
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You will hear some background noise with the lav. If you know how much ambience you will need and the lav isn't picking up enough, Joshua's suggestion is a good one.

In very noisy environments, you might hear too much noise with just the lav. The first step to controlling that should be to position the talent with their back to the noise. If there is still too much noise, you'll have to consider using either:

1. An RE50 handheld omni held about 4 inches from the mouth.

2. A Countryman E6 headworn mic.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old February 18th, 2005, 10:02 PM   #6
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mic solutions for my documentary???

hey there, i was hoping someone could shed some light on audio solutions for the GL2 for me. heres the scenario.....
iam shooting a travel documentary, kind of an adventure thing...think "amazing race" but slower. Iam definetely not going to have a sound man and besides going the wireless lav route, i was hoping to get a mounted mic setup on my GL2. shots will be generally between 3-10 feet from the "personality" and basically be a "moving interview". (oh, and outdoors)
does anyone have a good all around solution in terms of a mic setup?
it'd be a great help!
Jeff
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Old February 19th, 2005, 08:50 AM   #7
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The opportunities for audio disaster with your proposed camera-mounted plan are many. Wireless lav will be much less problematic. Why not use one?

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old February 19th, 2005, 12:15 PM   #8
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I think he meant in addition to going the wireless lav route, at least that's the way I took it. If he didn't mean that, then I agree with Ty, I would use a wireless lav as a primary and then a camera mounted mic as secondary and ambient.
For on-camera I'd vote for the AT897. Plus you'll need an XLR adapter to use both mics together and have some additional control.
There are several candidates for wireless. You should work with a dealer who is familiar with where you're traveling and the frequency rules for those locales.
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Old February 19th, 2005, 01:07 PM   #9
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Hmm. Jay I may have to hire you as my interpreter..:)

If that's the case, I wouldn't bother with the 897.

There is this thing with some producers who want to lav and boom the same person so they'll have a safety or a choice.

I'm not sure whre it started, but most sound people sort of snicker (to themselves) when this is requested. First, to use pieces of each mic on the same final track, you need a boom mic and lav that are somewhat similar. Second, due to placement, you're not going to get a good match.

That sort of matching is usually done with great care by post production people with lots of toys and experience.

Third, monitoring a boom in your left ear and a lav in your right ear is very disconcerting. Most audio people end up choosiing to listen to one and forgetting about the other.

Record the wireless to both tracks of the camcorder. That way, if you have drop out, you can hope to pick the same audio up on the other channel. If you don't have a mixer with a good limiter set one channel to 5 dB lower than the first in case someone SCREAMS.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old February 19th, 2005, 01:10 PM   #10
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Okay, so going the wireless lav route, what would be a good choice for failsafe equiptment?
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Old February 19th, 2005, 04:34 PM   #11
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How much money do you have?

Start at the top with Audio Ltd., Lectrosonics, Zaxcom, and top shelf Sony, Sennheiser.

come on down to AT, Shure, Sennheiser G2 and , hmmm someone chip in here.

Regards,

Ty


Do a frequency scout to make sure whatever you get works in your area (or where you'll be shooting) NTSC and DTV stations can kill wireless qiuckly, as will other rf sources.
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Old February 20th, 2005, 01:16 AM   #12
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Be careful with the Audio Technica, I had a rather long one (Mod # escapes me but it was $250), depending on how you mount it, it will drop down in to the frame of view. You won't see it in your lcd monitor, but when you look at your NTSC monitor...oooops! And you definetly need an adapter such as the MA-300 that will give you two xlr inputs. When I first got the AT for my GL2, the sensitivity was so low that it was almost useless, untill I got an MA300 then it was much improved.
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Old February 20th, 2005, 11:04 AM   #13
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Um, we're talking about wireless mics at the moment. I can only presume you're talking about a camera mounted mic.

As for low level AT mics into a GL2, I'd suggest something was wrong with the hookup.

Perhaps you chose a mic that required phantom power. It appears the GL2 doesn't provide phantom power.

Please also note that phantom power isn't as easy as yes/no. Without giving it all away and boring the pants off some folks. Some mics require a full 48 V DC phantom supply, others are designed to operate on less.

You need to supply the industry standard Sennheiser 416 with a full 48 V DC or is just doesn't wake up. Other phantom powered mics may sort of work but sound like crap. Still others may work, but sound like crap because they are designed to sell to meet market demands instead of quality demands.

There's a lot more to good audio than plug and play.


Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old February 20th, 2005, 02:20 PM   #14
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iam looking at about 500-1000$ for my audio budget. iam definetly looking at canons dual xlr hookup, but besides that, iam not sure about the boom or wirelass lav.
any other suggestions or a list of good products would be appreciated! but you have all been a real big help already!
cheers
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Old February 22nd, 2005, 02:50 PM   #15
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Jeff,
I bought the Canon XLR adapter (I think it's the MA-300) for my wedding vid business, and I've always wished I'd gone with a Beachtek instead. Check out this link for a good place to get that:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=WishList.jsp&A=details&Q=&sku=136400&is=REG

Or, just search for Beachtek DXA-4P (and others) at www.bhphotovideo.com

Depending on which mic you go with, you might need another of Beachtek's models, but I would definitely stay away from the MA-300. It fits awkwardly on top of the camera and the built-in shotgun mount isn't that great (picks up camera rumble). What's worse, it's made of thin plastic and doesn't feel like it would stand up to the rigors of a trip like you describe in your first post. Plus, the Beachtek and the MA-300 cost about the same.

/my 2-cents
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