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Old August 24th, 2017, 01:52 PM   #1
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X70 on-camera mic boom experiment


I got busy and built this experimental mic setup to see if such a setup could improve my run and gun audio needs, which is mostly travel related and personal. Or, would it be more fuss than it is worth? I saw something vaguely similar (but not extendable) years ago in a video magazine and wondered about it ever since. My normal on-cam mic (Sennheiser ME64/K6), works fine except it tends to pick up more ambient audio than I'd like, especially traffic and crowd noise. I don't like to ...or often have time to mess with a wireless setup since action is often spontaneous and there are usually multiple people in the shot. The goal was to produce a unit that was lightweight but strong, could be installed/removed in seconds, extendable to various lengths and be fairly compact when extension is not needed. So this is what I came up with:

The body is made of steel, the base formed to fit onto the X70's flat mic handle base securely with a single bolt (I made a nice, knurled knob, which I lost last weekend!). It's very robust with no wobble or play whatsoever and the whole thing can be removed or reattached in seconds. The boom easily lifts with just a gentle tug and spring-locks securely at the top of it's travel. The boom can then be extended or retracted to whatever length and mic set to whatever angle you want. When extended, the angle is of such that the microphone will be always be just outside the video area. A $5 selfie-stick with a 1/4" thread mount swivel base was used as the boom and the internal selfie wiring was used as the mic wiring with the appropriate 1/8" fittings attached. The Sennheiser MKE400 you see here has a shoe mount with a 1/4" threaded base inside the shoe so it can easily be removed and put on the camcorders w/o the boom if I need to go more rogue. In the pictures above, it's not quite fully extended or retracted.

I've only had a chance to use it a few times to see if it's thumbs up or more trouble than it's worth. Overall it does succeed in picking up a lot less ambient audio because the MKE400 is less sensitive than the ME64, plus it's pointing downwards. If a person were shooting street audio with a one talent as shown and didn't need to stuff it in a case/backpack a lot, it would probably be a great solution. If you have multiple people, I've found that unless they are next to each other (which they rarely are), it's a little too directional compared to an on-cam mic, or wireless and one person or the other may sound faint. On the other hand, it can be retracted a little and both should be able to get mic'd well enough. It doesn't make the camcorder very front heavy and in fact even adds a little stabilizing effect. The setup/take down is nice and quick as I was hoping it would be, but if you're moving the camcorder into and out of a backpack a lot (like I do), then it's somewhat ungainly and the mic sticks out and is at risk of being damaged as these MKE's are fairly delicate. It works fine retracted as well. I could use a shorter selfie-stick which would make it more compact which I might try. The viewfinder can be used but will only lift up 80% as made and one must be aware of microphone boom shadows on talent which wasn't a concern with an on-camera mic.

I bought a tiny Que-audio pencil mic that I was originally going to build a micro-blimp around to combat fierce winds. Thats really the missing piece. It's a neat little mic about 5" long, seems well built, and not highly sensitive which would be great for a close-miked application like this.
However, the mic I received (Ebay) is inherently noisy for some reason or bad design ...or maybe I just received a faulty one (it was a 'good' deal). Maybe I need to try another (anyone have experience with these Mics?). Otherwise, a similar small mic like this would be a perfect to build a micro-blimp for the end of a boom. If you know of a good, powered pencil-mic, please let me know. I'm going to continue to play with this setup and see how it goes. I just thought I'd share the Rev1 camcorder boom mic project and see what you all think.

Again, keep in mind this was built for MY kind of shooting needs. Weddings, corporate, action and other types of shooting situations would allow (necessitate) using different types of mics or recorders. I'm not in the business of making these, it's just fun to play around with different ideas and see how they turn out.

Thoughts, suggestions??

Mark Goodsell

Last edited by Mark Goodsell; August 24th, 2017 at 05:21 PM.
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Old August 25th, 2017, 07:46 AM   #2
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Re: X70 on-camera mic boom experiment

We see nothing ;>)
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Old August 25th, 2017, 10:39 AM   #3
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Re: X70 on-camera mic boom experiment

What a novel idea, good work!
Jeff Pulera
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Old August 26th, 2017, 05:07 AM   #4
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Re: X70 on-camera mic boom experiment

For interviews (such as shown in the picture) I use a wireless lav mic System such as the Sennheiser AVX. The lav mic is a Sony ECM88. For protection against wind noise I use Rycote Overcovers.
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