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Old February 4th, 2010, 12:40 PM   #1
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Best Shotgun Mic for indoor weddings, but can use outside?

I'm searching for a shotgun mic that does an excellent job of picking up sound indoors without picking up noise that bounces off the walls. Most of my weddings are indoor but I do get a few outdoor. So I'm looking for a balance mic that can do both but is better for indoors. $300 - $700 range.

Thanks.
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Old February 4th, 2010, 01:27 PM   #2
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I don't think what you want exsists. First off a shotgun indoors is lousy except within a couple of feet of the talent. The farther back from the talent the less it will pickup the talent and the more ambient sound it will gather. Outdoors a shotgun can work well but again there are distance limitations.
Having said that, here's what I do for most weddings. On my B camera I DO use a shotgun but that is only used to pickup music. I can get away with it becaue the music is generally quite loud and the camera is usually not too far away from the music. If it is too far away or the design of the venue won't allow for the camera to get a clean "line of sight" as it were, I'll pull the mic, put it on a stand and run some XLR cable back to the camera, so the mic could be 20 feet or more away.
On my A camera I use an AKG Blueline hypercaroid mic BUT for a typical ceremony I don't evn use it as I run 2 wireless back to the camera. For the reception though I use the hypercaroid and a Sennheiser E604 drum mic placed by the DJs/bands speaker, with a plugin transmitter back to my camera. Great sound.
But getting back to the ceremony, a shotgun has definate limitations indoors and again I have never seen one that would fit the description you want atany price.
Perhaps someone else knows of one.
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Old February 4th, 2010, 05:37 PM   #3
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As shotgun mics go, I really like my Sennheiser ME66. I've been asked by at least two other videographers I've shot for, "Hey Alec...what type of shotgun were you using? I want to buy the same one."

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Old February 5th, 2010, 02:31 AM   #4
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Kelly, unless we are suffering from being divided by a common language I would strongly advise against Don's suggestion of a hyper-cardiod microphone, simply because in my (and Sennheiser's - German) use of the term, you will get exactly what Don describes, sound other than from the "front" of the microphone.

Firstly you need to understand that direction microphones don't increase the sensitivity from the front but reject the sound from elsewhere. Specifically, hypercardiod microphones have virtually no rejection from the rear, which is one reason Don picks up more ambient sound than he would like.

On the other hand, cardiod (or what Sennheiser calls Super-cardiod microphones) reject sound from the sides and the rear, greater in face from the rear than the sides.

In general the longer the microphone is physically, the more sensitivity it will be from the front. Against that, if you're camera-=mounting it, the longer the microphone is the greater the chance you'll have of catching it in the frame. If you can afford it no-one would argue against the ME66. On the other hand if your "main" microphone is a radio channel you might feel as I do that it's too expensive for the job. We've been very satisfied with our Audio Technica AT897's.

Incidentally, sound bounces of all walls unless their specially treated as in an anechoic chamber, indeed it is the fabric and design of the walls which largely give a room its "sound" and certainly give the sound its "life". Even if you achieved it I don't think you'd like the sound of bounceless walls! If an echo really is a problem eg in a cathedral with a huge echo delay, the only solution is to close-mic the subject - which in weddings almost certainly means radios.

One final point, buy microphones that match. We've just bought a new Sennheiser miniature and the new model simply doesn't match the three older ones we have. We're now having to look at buying three more new model microphones.

Hope this helps.
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Old February 5th, 2010, 03:03 AM   #5
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I think the Sanken CS3e is better indoors than most shotguns.
But it's outside your budget.
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Old February 5th, 2010, 05:48 AM   #6
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Hmmm, I don't think I said to use the hyper, "On my A camera I use an AKG Blueline hypercaroid mic BUT for a typical ceremony I don't even use it as I run 2 wireless back to the camera. For the reception though I use the hypercaroid and a Sennheiser E604 drum mic placed by the DJs/bands speaker, with a plugin transmitter back to my camera. Great sound.
But getting back to the ceremony, a shotgun has definate limitations indoors and again I have never seen one that would fit the description you want at any price."

So yeah I guess I do advocate the hyper BUT only for receptions where I do want the ambient sound and where the drum mic will give me the stronger sound. It's my personal preference.
But let's remember what the OP wanted. A shotgun that would reject all sound from the sides and back, be able to grab quality sound from distances and work great indoors and out.
Once again, as far as I know, It doesn't exsist.
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Old February 5th, 2010, 06:10 AM   #7
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Sorry for misunderstanding you Don, but the OP also gave a price limit which your two radios simply wouldn't fit.

I therefore assumed you were recommending the hypercardiod to Kelly. I guess we'll have to agree to differ about the value of that. I'm perfectly happy with the ambient I get from three AT897s located around the reception (one on the camera taking the reaction shots of the guests), but that's just my view.

We do agree however, that what Kelly was seeking doesn't exist, indeed as I wrote, even if it did, neither she nor her client would care for the sound.
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Old February 5th, 2010, 06:15 AM   #8
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Hi Guys

I used to use an AT in the one camera days but after going thru a batch of shotguns I still seem to come back the Rode Videomic for great all round performance!! Yeah, I know it's only a $150 mic but it's a great backup mic if the wireless mics failed!! The only issue I have found is that outdoors I need to kick in -20db attenuation on the one XLR channel otherwise it's just too hot for loud sounds!! (It also has it's own -10db and -20db attenuators)

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Old February 5th, 2010, 09:44 AM   #9
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Hey Phillip, no problem. I got a bit carried away in my description. Yeah the wireless won't work for Kelly because of money and yep, the hyper will pick everything including someones cold. ;-)
I use an 897 on my B camera and it does a great job at the church for the music and get just enough voice to be a decent scratch track to sync the cams.
I used to use it for receptions but then started playing around with different mics and found the hyper and a wireless in front of the speakers worked nicely for me.
Just goes to show there are many ways to "skin the cat"
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Old February 5th, 2010, 03:05 PM   #10
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You ever tried using a stereo shotgun mic? One channel picks up from the front and the other channel picks up from the sides (more omni like).
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Old February 6th, 2010, 06:14 AM   #11
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Cody, I think perhaps you're confused by terminology and maybe I can help you out. There are stereo shotguns which are designed for a M/S (mid/side operation) which needs a mixer and allows the engineer to manipulate the stereo imagery in post so is unsuitable for sticking on a camera. However some if not all offer a matrixed L/R effect which will give you a stereo shotgun you can plug into your camera.

But before you invest in an expensive piece of kit, may I suggest you ask yourself why you need a stereo shotgun. Most of us use a shotgun to capture a specific sound source so you only need a mono microphone. If you need to put that source into a stereo image, use a general stereo mic and mix the two in post.
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Old February 7th, 2010, 12:08 PM   #12
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Phillip, I'm not confused, that's exactly what I'm talking about. Imagine you are shooting some bridal prep stuff and there is a conversation happening... you're focused on the bride, but a bridesmaid from the side says something that is priceless... the only problem is, she is off screen to the left. With a traditional hyper cardioid or uni-directional shotgun mic, it would not pick up the bridesmaid well at all. With a stereo shotgun (M/S) you can split it into two channels so it records the mid in the left and the side in the right (or however you like using a 5pin dual xlr). Now, when you get into post you can split the channels and have the best possible audio. I don't really like how a "matrixed" stereo signal sounds... personal preference though. I hope this clears up any confusion.
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Old February 7th, 2010, 01:35 PM   #13
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Cody, I can do no better than refer you to a description of M/S technique see Mid-Side Microphone Technique - WikiRecording.
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Old February 7th, 2010, 04:07 PM   #14
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As an example here is the Sennheiser MKH418S: Sennheiser | MKH418S - Stereo Shotgun Microphone | MKH418S | B&H

For me, I use a 5D Mark II with dual system audio, but if you use a camera that has a left and right channel mic input (mini plug with TRS or XLR) then you can split that out. I typically split out 2 different wireless systems into the left and right of a mini plug cable so I can go back in post and make the left an individual fake stereo signal and the same thing with the right. With the sennheiser MKH418S (I believe audio Technica has a M/S mic too), it comes with a 5 pin XLR that you can split out into two channels so you can do just what I described above, OR you can just leave them as a mixed pair.

If I'm not making any sense as to why this would be beneficial (or I just don't make any sense at all!), then I apologize.
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Old February 8th, 2010, 09:09 AM   #15
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Cody, AT make four stereo mics which might interest you. AT8022 ($499) is a stereo line/gradient non-shotgun providing X/Y stereo (like the now unavailable AT825 which we have). The BP4025 is a higher spec ($799) but similar.

The BP4027 ($660) and BP4029 ($664) are stereo shotguns in M/S layout with switchable X/Y matrixed. They differ in length and are otherwise are very similar.

But please don't misunderstand the way they work; if you raise the level on one leg of an X/Y mic it will raise the sensitivity on that side but also completely unbalance the stereo image.

As I tried to explain before,an M/S mic is effectively three microphones which is why you need to put it through a mixer (and reverse one phase of the figure-of-eight element) and can't just plug it into your camera.
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