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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
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Old September 28th, 2002, 10:07 AM   #1
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sennheiser 62vs64vs66

i have been using the sony ECM?? hot shoe zoom mic with my VX2k all though this really isnt a bad mic for the $75 tag i feel i need to step it up and ive read all the mic posts on dvinfo and all over the web but i am unsure of which model of sennheiser to purchase first.
i will be using the mic mainly mounted to the cam with a lightwave minimount for as of right now im a one man crew shooting WW2 re-enactments and some of my own shorts etc. run and gun style .im going more for the 64 since it is less directional and will pick up more ambient sound but then again will the 62 work just as well if not better for an over all sound pickup? voices, gun firing, vehicles etc.
no XLR box will be used just plugging the mic directly into cam and i hear that the sennheiser are better suited for this over the AT.
i have an AT stereo mic which ive made decent recordings INDOORS straight to minidisc and this mic would work well but since i will be outdoors i might as well forget it the mic picks up wind and handling noise way to much and the supplied windscreen does not help at all .
any info is greatly appreciated
matt
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Old September 28th, 2002, 11:18 AM   #2
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I've used both Sennheiser and AT plugged into a VX-1000 with an adapter cable with no problem. The VX-2000 is similar in this regard. I don't think there is any advantage, one over the other. Pick the microphone you like best.

Neither the Senn or the AT shotguns have internal shockmounting so they will be no better than your AT stereo in this regard. You will need to mount them. The mini-mount will work OK although you need to test to see if it allows the microphone tip into the field of view.

Neither the Senn or the AT are any more wind resistant than your AT stereo. To truly kill the wind noise, you will have to use one of the furry wind covers. You can use a half-cover (which is the only one that will work on-camera) or a full blimp if you have a sound boom. Light Wave sells a half-cover for around $150.

There are 3 problems you will face:

1. The longer microphone may show in your frame at wide angles. You might want to dummy the setup and check before you buy. Dont' forget to check it with a dummy wind sock installed. :-))

2. Many people think that shotgun microphones are directional right across the audio frequency band. Not so. Shotguns are omnidirectional to low-frequency sound. So an idling tank or truck will sound just about as loud behind or next to you as directly in front. The only solution to that is the very nice $3500 AT directional microphone. That truly does work.

This means that you are going to have difficulties with the spoken word on a mechanized battlefield with the microphone arrangement you wish to use. The only solution is to get the microphone much closer to the people.

3. Gunfire is difficult for most microphones. I find that the extreme sound pressures distort them. And the shots frequently sound puny. Especially shotgun microphones. The only microphone I've found that handles gunshots really well is a Shure SM81. It is designed to handle loud noises and voice equally well. But it is hard to handle as it does requires phantom power for operation. It is not a shotgun.

I recently covered a SWAT team competitiion out in the hills of Northern California. The wind was gusting to 40 mph as was the dust. Because I had to be really mobile, I used the PD-150 along with its standard microphone with a Light Wave mini-sock over it. Although one can hear the stronger gusts of wind, the sound is quite clear and the gunshots are actually fairly 'real.' That is, one can tell the difference between a 40 cal handgun, a shotgun, a sniper rifle and a MP5 assault weapon. I haven't tried the sound in a large venue but it sounds OK on my home theatre.

I was expecting to have to Folley the gunshots as I have in the past. I don't think I'll have to on this one.

The bottom line may be that the on-board VX-2000 microphone may well be quite good for battlefield use as long as you don't need clear dialog other than shouts. Perhaps a wind cover for the microphone would be all you need. Certainly, in the general noise level, you will probably never hear any camera sounds.

Consider using ADR for any speach you need to be clear. This isn't as difficult as it seems. You 'just' blend the battlefield dialog with the dialog captured in the studio so it sound realistic.
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Old September 28th, 2002, 11:47 AM   #3
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mike thanks for the in depth reply!
the SWAT comp sounds nice i bet they fire live rounds? that would be interesting to see and record.
i think im gonna stick with the on board mic for the event i have in a couple weeks to just try it out or maybe the sony hot shoe which is what ive used in the past on my PC110 with ok results as far as gun shots go
(BAR,garands,carbines etc) but then again these guys are shooting blanks and most often blanks just dont give off the same sound as live rounds except for those manufactured for hollywood and such used with modified guns. as far as voice goes i wont be focusing on any kind of scripts just battlefield yells and commands etc.so i will save my $ for now.
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Old September 28th, 2002, 12:31 PM   #4
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Yes, they were very live rounds. The pistol rounds would ricochet off some of the steel targets. While I got hit by bullet fragments, the camera did not. I don't think the fragments would have penetrated the UV filter but they certainly would have messed it up.

The plastic bullet and bean-bag rounds can be seen bouncing off the target dummy. Only the lead splash can be seen when the other rounds hit the targets.

You can get a wind sock for the 2000's microphone. I think Light Wave makes them. If not, then the wind sock made for the Shure SM58-style microphone would work too.

I too use a PC110 when I ride with the police. Great camera for daylight use and the Nightshot footage is unbelievable. We use SuperNightShot to evaluate back yards before we enter them at night. The add-on IR light source works well.

The PC-110 microphone is mounted on the top of the camera body but I wrap a piece of fake fur over it to kill a lot of wind noise. Not super good but it helps in light breezes. Maybe someday I'll machine a good enclosure for it that mounts firmly on the camera body.
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Old September 29th, 2002, 01:22 PM   #5
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After an extensive search and demo period I ended up with an on-camera mic solution for the VX2000, which I think, is about as good as possible without spending mega-bucks. Actually some of the DVinfo.Net Community helped me a great deal settling on the following mic combo which gives far better sound than the built-in VX2000 mic and cost ~$650.
For a Mic I chose the Sennheiser ME66 with the K6 power supply (with the built in AA battery, not phantom power) and added the MZW 66 Pro Foam windscreen.
For a shock mount I needed to do a bit of jury-rigging. I bought the Senn MZQ6 camera mount and the Senn MZS6 Shock mount. I took them apart (per Senn's recommendation) and use the shock mount top from the MZS6 and the lower part of the MZQ6 camera mount to attach the system to the hot shoe of the VX2000. Very shock resistant and not as obtrusive as some mounts out there.
I bought a XLR to Mini-plug cable from Equipment Emporium (XLR-H8DV) to connect the mic system to the VX2000 mini-plug and control the sound level with manual vol control and use a pair of Sony MDR-706 Professional Monitor Folding Headphones to listen to the sound.
The ME66 does not extend too far over the end of the camcorder so I can't see it in the picture. If you want an even longer shotgun end for the K6, you can screw on the ME67! This might show, however, but you might be able to get it positioned back far enough over the camcorder in the shock mount to keep even this monster out of the picture!
My system cost me about $650 and I don't think I could have gotten as good on camera sound from any other combo for the price.
I am a beginner at all this stuff, so I'm not sure the long term will prove my purchases ideal. BUT, I couldn't see skimping on the Mic System once I had the fabulous video quality of the VX2000!
Good luck in choosing your set-up, but feel free to copy mine and give it a try, if an on-camera system is what you are looking for.
Steven Forrest
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Old September 29th, 2002, 04:56 PM   #6
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steven sounds like aninteresting setup.
do you have a photo link of your mic setup attached to camera?
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Old September 29th, 2002, 05:16 PM   #7
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No, not yet. If I get a picture taken, I'll attach it to an E-mail as a JPEG directly to you, if that's OK. But, I don't have a time frame yet for taking a picture of the setup, due to OBLIGATION overload! I'll keep you informed if I get a photo. In any case, the setup is easy to construct and all the parts fit together like LEGOs!
But as one of my new DV mentors said to me, make sure you can return everything if you don't like it. The biggest problem I have had with this is the return policy for Audio equipment is often 7 days only. That is a tight time line. I bought my stuff from B & H and the Equipment Emporium, but others may have more liberal return policies and it might be good to look into a local shop for a longer test period if 7 days won't work for you.
Steve
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