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Old June 19th, 2007, 10:40 AM   #1
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In continuation of an aspiring film maker

Hello all - As some of you may know, I am absolutely new to film and have been working toward becoming a film maker for the last 6 months. I've frequently posted on this forum in hopes that the professionals who also use this forum could mentor my progression toward creating films.

My current interest focus is in an archaeological site called Angel Mounds in Evansville Indiana. I to am an archaeologist with great interest in Pre-Columbian North America. My goal is to create a documentary film which illiterates the lives of the people and the archaeologists who tell their story. It will include both actor recreations and documentary style footage of actual archaeological field schools working on site.

What I am trying to gather is the equipment that will atleast allow me to shoot short documentary films on a professional level as a training seminar that will ultimately prepare me to create higher quality films with the same equipment. I am searching for the gear that will both fit my training needs and my professional needs in a single kit. My goal with that is to eliminate extra expenses when equipment needs to be replaced simply because it's capabilities are not to the standard of my increased abilities.

I have been informed by some very helpful comments in a previous post on tips to becoming a better film maker. Steve House and Andy Gram have been helping me along the way and have given me some examples of what I should purchase as my first film maker's kit.

Here is what is in my B&H shopping cart as of now:

JVC GY-HD110U 1/3" 3-CCD Professional HDV Camcorder Kit with 16x Fujinon Lens, Extra Tape and Battery, Soft Case, and UV filter ($4,999.95 + $53.40 shipping).

Sound Devices 302 Portable 3 Channel Field Mixer - with Mic or Line Level Input and Output ($1,295.00 Shipping Free)

Sennheiser ME66/K6 - Shotgun Condenser Microphone Basic Kit - Includes: ME66/K6 Shotgun Microphone, Universal Shock Mount, Rycote Softie, K-Tek Boompole, Universal Hand grip, Right Angled XLR Cables ($749.95 Shipping Free)

Total = $7,098.30

I have not yet found a pair of head phones. I am also in need of an editing program that is at a reasonable price (we discussed Avid in the previous post). I am also looking into building a PC that will host this program. Two months ago I built a crane and dolly track. The crane looks similar to the kessler 12" crane and the dolly track and crane work confluently as the jibb can attach onto a tripod mounted to the cart. I'm pretty impressed with my design and will have pics posted asap.

With this post, I hope to discuss my choices and encourage suggestions on this equipment meeting my needs.

Thank you DVI Family!
-Terry Lee
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Old June 19th, 2007, 10:50 AM   #2
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For headphone, Sony MDR-7506's are standard issue.

For software I would recommend the new Final Cut Studio or Sony Vegas, depending on your platform.
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Old June 19th, 2007, 10:52 AM   #3
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I would like to stick with PC. I'm not a fan of MAC.
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Old June 19th, 2007, 11:37 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry Lee View Post
I would like to stick with PC. I'm not a fan of MAC.
Then Sony Vegas or Adobe Premiere are excellent professional choices, with the edge probably going to Vegas at the moment. The Vegas suite with Vegas, SoundForge, Sony Noise Reduction, and DVD Architect is a heck of good buy.

I would suggest a bit more thought to your microphone selection. The rest of the kit is fine but there are nicer sounding mics that the ME66 in the same general price range. And doubling the base price to the ~1000 range would get you something like the MKH-416 that is much nicer.
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Old June 19th, 2007, 03:00 PM   #5
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Terry... will you have a separate person doing sound for you? If not, drop the mixer and the boom pole.

2- In terms of the microphones... you'll be better off with a mix of microphones rather than spending a lot of money on something like a Sennheiser 416.

If someone is speaking in a training seminar, a wireless lav on them will give you good sound.

For run and gun type stuff, your only choice is a mic mounted on the camera. I really am not a big fan of the ME66 as it can sound really weird indoors if there's lots of reverb (worse than the built-in mic on the DVX100 IMO; I think that says a lot). A hypercardioid mic would do better in that situation, though I haven't tried them out much.

You ideally want to get the mic to about 2 feet to the speaker. If the background noise is too high then you won't get good audio if your mic is too far away. (*Though in really quiet locations like the wilderness, a camera-mounted mic can be fine. But I would never count on that.)

- Check out videoguys.com too (they sponsor this site, as does B&H)... it looks like they have some good bundle deals on Vegas.
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Old June 19th, 2007, 05:25 PM   #6
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Can you guys specify which mics at the same price (and how much they are) point you like better than the ME66? Are they super-cardioid as well?
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Old June 19th, 2007, 11:24 PM   #7
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The AT4073a is also a short shotgun like the ME66. The AT mic is about $80 more and a better buy.

The 416 is definitely better than the ME66... but if you're cash strapped, you may be better off spending your money elsewhere.

Haven't heard much of the stuff on the cheaper side, except for the AT815 and some Apex shotgun knockoff mic. The Apex is not very good (it happened to break too), the AT815 is ok/meh (it's a cheap shotgun and has off-axis coloration). I haven't used the AT897 and the Rode NTG-2 (or Rode Videomic), which others mention.

2- I don't have much experience in the way of hypercardioid microphones, though the schoeps cmc6/mk41 does sound good.

To me, it seems like the Oktava would be a strong choice if handling and wind noise wasn't a big issue with them in practice (which those clips don't show unfortunately).
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Old June 19th, 2007, 11:34 PM   #8
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For booming, both indoors and out, a good hypercardioid is often a better choice than a shotgun, Several good candidates are the A/T 4053a hyper ($500), the AKG Blueline SE300B/CK93 modular combination with hyper capsule ($478), or AKG's ULS series modular combo with the C480 & CK63 hyper capsule ($1058). Glenn mentioned the Schoeps CMC641 modular set - it's arguably the film industry's go-to mic but it might strain your budget a bit at $1600.
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Old June 20th, 2007, 01:20 AM   #9
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That sample doesn't seem to link to anything anymore. The ME66 has always served me well. Most people not used to it always comment on how narrow the pickup pattern is when they first listen to it in action, but that's really the only thing about it. Seems like, outdoors or in, if you just keep it pretty close to actors (0-3 feet, maybe) it works just fine. It does get reverby at 6 feet or so.

What do they like about the AT mic more? I'm not really looking to upgrade, but I am curious.

By the way, what do we mean by "shotgun" vs hypercadioid? I thought the ME66 was a shotgun, and was also known as a supercardioid. Hypercardioid just has a wider pickup pattern than a supercardioid (or something like the ME66), but is still mostly directional and meant to pickup sound from a distance, right?
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Old June 20th, 2007, 03:37 AM   #10
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Terry,

That's nice equipment and all, but I personally think for a newbie it's total overkill.

I would strongly ecourage you to re-think about what you're buying. An $800 mic, yet no tripod????

You're looking at spending almost $10,000 after you have to buy an editing setup to handle the HD.

If you would re-think what you NEED as opposed to what others would like to see you get, you could drop that number down to around a total of $4,000 total.
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Old June 20th, 2007, 03:44 AM   #11
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I've listened to both and the AT4073a clearly sounded better. I think it is the lack of off-axis room reflections and what does come in doesn't sound unnatural. The 4073a is the very first shotgun type microphone that actually impressed me with it's abilities. It also sounded better at greater distances, perhaps up to 4 feet. We used it in a large room with a wall-unit type air conditioner and it still sounded good. The background noise stayed in the background and voices sounded natural.

I can't see any reason to get that mixer for your type of shooting, especially since you are only buying one mic. Save your money or get a good wireless instead. A mixer might be nice if you have a complex ENG setup with various feeds or you have a plan to have zones of mics on your set, but for low budget stuff it doesn't seem to make sense. Besides, you probably want to keep your mics on their own channel and your camera has two inputs already.
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Old June 20th, 2007, 09:15 AM   #12
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Well, to be fair, I got a mixer just so I could use a shotgun mic and have a line level input. I got a Behringer MXB1002 ($100), and indoors (or wherever you can get power), that's what I use it for.
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Old June 20th, 2007, 03:09 PM   #13
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Quote:
By the way, what do we mean by "shotgun" vs hypercadioid? I thought the ME66 was a shotgun, and was also known as a supercardioid. Hypercardioid just has a wider pickup pattern than a supercardioid (or something like the ME66), but is still mostly directional and meant to pickup sound from a distance, right?
In my terminology anyways...

shotgun refers to mics with the line+gradient design, where there are multiple ?vents?/holes in the side of the microphone. This kind of design is more directional than hypercardioids and tends to have a lot of off-axis coloration (sound hitting the mic off-axis has a different frequency response / sound different).

Though some people call hypercardioid mics shotguns.... or they might say that the schoeps cmc6/mk41 is a supercardioid microphone. (Which would be wrong and confusing IMO.)
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Old June 21st, 2007, 05:12 PM   #14
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There is alot of information here to consider. Thank you all for your information.

Most of my filming will be outdoors. However there will be some instances where I will be indoors filming in a documentary style (where a single person is talking sitting in a chair etc...) I don't know the term for that type of shot.

I'm just alittle confused as to what I actually need. Some tell me that I need a portable mixer with a boom pole/shotgun mic and now others are saying that it is not necessary. (help!)

I took a look at the AT4053a hypercardioid mic. ( http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...icrophone.html ) It seams to be in the same price range as the ME66 but the the 4053a doesn't come with the boom pole, shock mount etc..

No one has commented on my camera choice...I was also trying to consider the XH A1 but unfortunately I could not get that camera if I wanted an external recorder (no time code out put) so I took a look at the G1 but the G1 is 6k where as the HD110u is 5k so I thought that would be the better buy since i've been advised that if I do not get the mic off the camera then I will have inadaquate sound (the HD110u does have timecode output right??).

I'd love to just stick with the A1 and just shoot docs with single system sound but if the pro's are telling me that it isn't a good choice, I don't want to buy a camera that I can't use with a external recorder in the long run.

Sorry if this is a bunch of rambling, i'm traveling and I have a band practicing on the floor in front of me :)

thanks for your time!
Terryh
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Old June 21st, 2007, 05:26 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Chan View Post
shotgun refers to mics with the line+gradient design, where there are multiple ?vents?/holes in the side of the microphone.
Science Sidenote: The vents/holes in the side of the mic are for sound wave cancellation and are very precisely placed in relation to the mic element:

This popular light experiment illustrates the nature of this principle:
http://www.britannica.com/eb/art-53640

The element is placed such that it has a pickup path where the valleys of the sound waves intersect. If you didn't, now you know.
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