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Old August 8th, 2010, 09:14 PM   #1
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Boundary layer mic comparison

I hope this is the clip - I confess I've never attempted to insert a video here before so if it doesn't work please accept my apologies.

Contrary to what I said in my original message, the programme isn't edited - this is the sound from a raw, unedited, ungraded clip from Camera 1 normally held tight on the speaker. I selected this shot because it starts wide and thus gives an impression of the sound of the domed room.

My groom was a typical bridegroom. He spoke clearly and well but wasn't trained to project or to enunciate for the stage or public speaking.

At the start of the clip the audio is 100% from the AT897 gun on the camera, with gain up. When the sound image changes it is to mostly the AT851RW boundary layer mic with a little audience participation from the AT897.

To my mind the 851 gives a natural, uncoloured sound and although there is a slight paper noise, that would probably have been present if I'd used a Sennheiser MKE2.
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File Type: wmv boundarylayermics.wmv (482.3 KB, 108 views)
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Old August 8th, 2010, 09:56 PM   #2
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They sound fantastic...to the point it makes your shotgun sounds like a deal from a Walmart closeout bin.

Would you say Phillip all your audio is of that caliber, or do you have variations in the quality you are able to grab ???
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Old August 8th, 2010, 10:01 PM   #3
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Hi Philip

I was about to say the first half was very "boomy" then I read the post!!

Nice audio.... where is the mic positioned on the table in relation to the best man??? approx distance???

Chris
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Old August 8th, 2010, 10:11 PM   #4
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Chip, thanks for the compliment. I hope it doesn't sound pompous but frankly if we don't aspire to and achieve that standard then frankly we shouldn't be in business.

But it doesn't come cheap. It seems to me that people often don't spend either enough money or enough time on their sound - at least compared to their images. It starts with great mics, through good sound software to good speakers in the studio. Monitoring with PC speakers is daft. Our finished ceremony and reception sequences typically have 12 sound tracks in the mix - 6 live mics, a stereo zoom for the choir/ensemble/organ, plus two stereo music beds.

It's also why I wouldn't (yet) give house space to a DSLR, wonderful though their pictures are. What's the use of brilliant pictures if the sound is crappy - and no-one's yet convinced me that without a great deal of extra gear, that's what the sound from DSLRs is.
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Old August 8th, 2010, 10:16 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Hi Philip

I was about to say the first half was very "boomy" then I read the post!!

Nice audio.... where is the mic positioned on the table in relation to the best man??? approx distance???

Chris
Chris, I bet you're like that with manuals!!

It was the groom speaking and the mic was about 1 foot from the opposite edge of the table say 2ft horizontally from the groom and his table to mouth distance vertically, say 3ft - I think Pythagorus will give you the actual mic to mouth distance. There was a separate unit (mic and transmitter) in front of each the groom, father of the bride and the best man.
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Old August 8th, 2010, 10:38 PM   #6
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Hi Philip

I clicked on the link first!!! I used to do scale maintenance for an appliance company in my earlier years and they never used to print the words "User Manual" on their instructions. It read instead "If all else fails and you cannot operate your Microwave Oven then READ THIS BOOK"

I guess it's a bit of a Male thing??? Sorta - "This looks simple enough to use..I can figure it out" Mind you I always sit down and read my camera manuals!! It's amazing what you find that you never knew about it. In fact if I'm replacing gear I usually download the PDF manual before I buy!!!

In your opinion what sort of range would you expect from a single boundary mic if it was placed in front of the b&g and the best man was two seats down from them?? Would you still get decent audio???? I was looking at PZM's that were claiming a "range" of up to 9 metres!!!!!

Chris
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Old August 9th, 2010, 02:48 AM   #7
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Chris, it doesn't have to be my opinion actually because when I was checking the media files I first happened to play the shot of the Bride's father from camera 1 - that's the channel that should have been carrying the groom's radio mic.

At first I thought I'd confused the transmitter linking in my set up because the response I was getting from channel 1 (the channel recording the radio, whilst channel 2 has the AT897 gun mic) was so good.

Only when I found the groom on the same clip did I realise there was a difference between the two speakers and further checking revealed that my set up was correct, the groom was on camera 1, the FoB on camera 2 and the BM on camera 3. Thus a small, subjective test for you.

The seating was very traditional with the Bride's father sitting on the other side of the bride from the groom. Had I had a failure with his mic, the Bride's father's speech recorded on the groom's mic could certainly have been used, but it wouldn't have been my choice for there is a difference in the level and depth, exactly what you'd expect from an off-axis recording on a cardiod microphone (though of course the AT851RW is strictly a half-cardiod).

What I might be tempted to do is next time I have two Best Men and they're seated together is to put one AT851RW between them. Since we have a fourth radio channel available my original plan was to mic them each BM with a Sennheiser MKE2. The incidence of two best men is not usual so not justifying buying another 851 but I think it might be preferable to share a mic and keep the whole sequence on the same type of mics rather than have the BM sounding very different to the Groom and FoB.

Finally regarding the 9m claim, it all depends on the sensitivity of the channel, the noise level that's acceptable to you, the background sound and direction and frankly whether you want to record from 30ft regardless of the mic.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 04:20 AM   #8
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As a rough guide, boundary mics that are PCCs sound similar to a cardioid at twice the distance. A PZM boundary mic a little less.

In fact, boundary mics are so cheap I'm always surprised more people don't use them. Not specifically video, but in theatre, where I work, we're always being asked to amplify people with pale-pink voices, who just can't project. Often amateurs, or kids. When we have dry hires of the venue - it's big - 1200 seats on one level, people often bring in short shotguns. 416s are quite common, plus the usual ATs. They place these on the stage edge and results are always, er, variable! The problem is that multiple mics exhibit comb filtering where they interact, which sounds quite unpleasant plus as somebody moves across the stage their level goes up and down significantly as they move in front of each one. Video people know that accurate aiming is critical with shotguns, but fixed to a short stand, it just doesn't work. Replace 3 or 5 of these with the same number of boundary mics, for theatre use, PCCs are best as they pick up less to the rear - the results are so much better. Placed on a conference table or for weddings, the main table - they are amazing.

You can buy cheap imported ones that are solid, reliable and good quality, or use things like PCC160s which are our 'standard' - but expensive.

There's a topic about theatrical use here
Mic techniques for children's play - Blue Room technical forum

People always go on about these Crown's being indestructible - so for the UKs own version of them, have a look here.
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