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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old October 16th, 2005, 07:26 PM   #1
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Mic's?

Hello everyone,
I am going to be filming my first wedding in less then a month. Thank you all for the great post already in here. One big thing I am not sure of is Mic's. I want to use wireless Mic's but I don't know anything about them. I am going to use the XL2 and GL2. I am thinking of plugging the wireless mic's into the XL2 and tripod it in the center and then use the GL2 to walk around with. I am looking to spend no more than $350.00-$400.00. What kind of wireless mics do you guys suggest?
Thanks
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Old October 27th, 2005, 02:00 AM   #2
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Justin,

Probably the most popular mic close to that range is the Sennheiser
Evolution G2 100. It sells for $400-$500, depending on where you buy. I've had mine for about six months now and it's been great so far.

I might suggest having the GL2 on lockdown and walking around with the XL2 which sits on your shoulder. You should be able to keep it steadier and have better close-ups that really make the video.


Jeff
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Old October 27th, 2005, 07:18 AM   #3
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Justin,

Here's a quick lesson on wireless: There's VHF and UHF. Don't waste your money on VHF.

VHF wireless units generally sell for less than $100 or $200, which fits a beginner's budget. However, expect background hiss, interference from just about anything electrical nearby, and signal breakup. Listen to a weak AM radio station, or one during a thunderstorm, for an example of VHF wireless. Your client will not be impressed with, "Do you hissssss ta... [garbled]..." Well, maybe it won't always be that bad, but you get the idea.

UHF wireless units generally sell starting for maybe $400-500 and go straight up from there, but sound quality is excellent. The obvious comparison here is a FM radio station.

Then there's XLR, which is another layer of electronics for getting outstanding audio. This is another big bump up in cost. If you're not familiar with that, do a search here or with google to educate yourself on this one.

I use the Evolution G2 100 that Jeff mentioned above. However, it gets complicated, especially if this is all new to you. There are many choices. You can do your own research, but my guess is the camera mountable rather than table top/rack mountable is what you'll need for starters. Then there's the choice of channel set A, B or C. Pick C. Each channel sets covers a set range of broadcast frequencies. These frequencies might also used by businesses or government services in your area. The A & B frequency sets are the most used; the C set generally has the most open freqs.

Then there's a choice of an ME2 mic or ME4. The 4 is directional. If you're considering wiring only the groom, you want the ME2, which is omnidirectional. It'll pick up the groom, bride and officiant.

This is not an endorsement, but check out bhphotovideo on the internet for your equipment needs. They have an excellent reputation and often the best prices.

An alternative or an add-on for capturing sound is the iRiver with a Giant Squid mic. The iRiver is one of those cigarette lighter shaped MP3 players, but it's also good as a digital voice recorder. Do a search in this site for a lot of discussions on it. I read so many good reviews I decided to get one and will be trying it out this weekend.

Justin, with less than a month to go, you've got a lot of research to do and hopefully you have a bucket of money available to spend.

Finally, if you do get new stuff, practice, practice & practice with it every day you can before the event. Try to anticipate every problem and how to solve it. Let's say you get the G2 100, and just before things get started, the officiant's wireless system is jamming your wireless system. How do you change freqs -- FAST!. There's not enough time to start browsing thru the user's manual.........

Tom T.
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Old October 27th, 2005, 07:48 AM   #4
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Justin,

You should ainty up just a few more $ for the Sennheiser G2. [Everything Tom said - his post was very thorough!]
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Old October 27th, 2005, 09:10 PM   #5
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I agree 100% with what tom has said, but you may also want to get a shotgun mic for ambience and in worse ase scenario a backup mic.

i use a Senny K6 with an MK64 capsule which sits on the camera, I also run either a G1( for the lectern) and G2 lapel with ME2 capsules (on the groom)

I thought about an iriver, but im yet to really put time into the research on that.

But enough of wireless.. going back to shotties.

ok well if ur wireless mics get ried br a passing truck or boat with a UHF radio (which has happened to me) the shotgun wil come in handy
also when doing interviews a tthe reception, it will be a godsend.

Notable mics are
SEnnheiser -
K6 (Power module)
ME64 (short mic capsule. Shorter pick up range, and slightly wider. Good for table top interviews and most other shotgun related audio capture.
ME66 (longr capsule. May even be long enough to get into shot, so be aware.
Awesome pickup range for what it is, but may be overkill for weddings considering that the long pickup will really only come in handy during the cremony, which in this case, ur running lapels anyway, so its obsolete..

Rode
NTG1
Awesome bang for the buck mic. Great pickup, very VERY flat response. Only works with phantom power though (Rodes answer to the ME64)

NTG2
Another one as above, but with a longer pickup. Awesome performance, required 1xAA battery. (rodes answer to the ME66

Now the Rode mics are flat, but very clean sounding mics, however teh Sennys are far FAR richer, and teh dynamic range pickup (to my ear anyway) is much more precise, albeit it a little bit too hot.
I prefer the Sennys, but the Rodes are great if ur on a budget.
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Old October 28th, 2005, 02:22 AM   #6
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agreed

Yeah I would agree with the:
Sennheiser Evolution G2 100 Series
comes with all that's needed even a transmitter for you shotgun mic.

I've used both and they are clean and clear

Shotgun I used was the:
Sennheiser ME66/K6

links

Shotgun: http://tinyurl.com/898vp

Wireless: http://tinyurl.com/62d6e
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Old October 28th, 2005, 07:55 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Jefferson
Now the Rode mics are flat, but very clean sounding mics, however teh Sennys are far FAR richer, and teh dynamic range pickup (to my ear anyway) is much more precise, albeit it a little bit too hot.
I prefer the Sennys, but the Rodes are great if ur on a budget.
To echo what Peter said, but he left out the new VideoMic -Rode... this is the most awesome mic you can buy on a low budget. Just $149. I own one - the sound is just awesome for the price range.

http://www.rode.com.au/?pagename=Pro...c688d0b7c9c569

See the multimedia link on the bottom right of the page.
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Old October 28th, 2005, 08:03 AM   #8
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One other bit of advice... monitor the audio or at least check it initially with ear muff style headphones jacked into your camera. If you don't drop the input sensitivity enough during loud reception music, you're headed to the digital audio school of hard knocks. You don't want to go to that school.

Just a couple years ago at a reception, everthing (me included) was behind the 8-ball on time, it was rush, rush, rush, and I just checked the OSD audio levels bouncing below peak and really I had my mind on other things, and when I got back I realized I forgot to put the damn mic input to attenuated! You know that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach when you know you've just screwed something up beyond belief? (sorta like those "wanna get away?" commercials) Yep, that was me. I can't be the first videographer to make that mistake. Be very careful with loud audio! Learn from me. (I ended up using cam2 audio for much of it - but when cam2 left for the night, my camera audio was a total loss.) eeek! Gave that customer some extras.
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Old October 28th, 2005, 08:59 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Terott
To echo what Peter said, but he left out the new VideoMic -Rode... this is the most awesome mic you can buy on a low budget. Just $149. I own one - the sound is just awesome for the price range.

http://www.rode.com.au/?pagename=Pro...c688d0b7c9c569

See the multimedia link on the bottom right of the page.
hehehe
did u know that the original design DIDNT have that rubber shockmount??
These units were designed and made in australia and when the Rode video mic first came out (to compete with the MK300) we took it for a preproduction test..
it failed abysmally.. it would pick up EVERY tap knock and bump... even when mounted on a cam, the cam on a tripod and all we did was rub our finger along the leg of the tripod, it picked up that vibration.

6 weeks later our rode rep came back with that ugly looking shockmount, but hell it worked a treat :)
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Old October 28th, 2005, 09:39 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Jefferson
hehehe
did u know that the original design DIDNT have that rubber shockmount??
These units were designed and made in australia and when the Rode video mic first came out (to compete with the MK300) we took it for a preproduction test..
it failed abysmally.. it would pick up EVERY tap knock and bump... even when mounted on a cam, the cam on a tripod and all we did was rub our finger along the leg of the tripod, it picked up that vibration.

6 weeks later our rode rep came back with that ugly looking shockmount, but hell it worked a treat :)
...thanks to you then, they've got a quality mic now. The shockmount works. The draw back is that the shockmount attaches only to a camera shoe and I needed that shoe for other things. So what I did was... remove the microphone holder (two screws) on my PD-170 and with those two screws, attach a small 2-1/4" long plate to offset the mic just enough that I can still use my camera shoe. Viola!
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Old November 5th, 2005, 07:53 PM   #11
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•With all due respect to Tom, the issue between UHF and VHF has more to do do with the quality of the electronic componets than anything else. I recently had to sadly retire a VHF system due to unavailability of spare parts I have had since since 1988. It's quality would put most current UHF and VHF systems to shame. I paid $1200 US for the system in 1988. At least $1600 today. VHF will transmit the same 20-20,000 Hz audio frequency range just as well as UHF.
• If you want the best there is, buy a Lectrosonic system, with an unconditional lifetime guarantee. VHF, UHF, it doesn't matter. You won't be disappointed. Lectrosonic is not interested in being anything other than the best, and you pay for it. Even so, the best is not necessarily the perfect match.

Also note that a wired audio connection will always be superior to a wireless connection. "Wireless" also means "vulnerable to interference from just about anything".

•The VHF frequency band for commercial use is about 176-216Mhz. This is the carrier frequency, and has nothing to do with the 20-20,000 human hearing range referenced earlier. The strength of the broadcast is limited by law for unlicensed use, the category nto which we users fall, also true for UHF.
VHF uses a longer wave length than UHF. This has an advantage in range, as longer radio wave lengths resist the breakup that can be caused by solid objects, like walls and ceilings. Note that all US police, fire, and other agencies use frequencies below 160MHZ, and they can't, and usually don't have radio communication issues on a regular basis.
•The disadvantage for VHF in interior spaces, is minimal reflection of radio frequency off of solid objects, like walls and ceilings.
•Also because of the lower frequency, VHF is more vulnerable to the wide variety of radio frequencies emitted by electrical devices, which include unshielded AC wiring, electric motors that manage airflow in heating/air-conditioning system, and some kinds of electrical transformers, like the kind used in flourescent lighting. Note that in sayng "more vulnerable" I do not suggest UHF to be immune.
•VHF has also been in commercial use for 30 or more years, and is heavily populated. Just one other user on the frequency you are using can disable your system, if they are close enough to you.
•Broadcast television also uses the same frequency range. A broadcast TV station could disable a VHF system. The same is true for the UHF frequencies available for commercial use, and the range of frequencies used by TV statons will expand when HDTV broadcasts become more common.
•UHF offers a tighter, shorter wavelength; less range, but more reflectivity off of solid objects. A good thing for indoor events, not so good for outdoor events (although the deciding factor between the two will have more to do with antenna placement than technical specifications...again personal experence). Less expensive UHF systems tend to experience less "drift" in regard to holding onto a broadcast frequency than similarly priced VHF systems. This is personal experience, and a plus for UHF. However, a carefully selected VHF frequency will perform just as well as a carefully selected UHF frequency under the same conditions.
•Tom's reference to FM radio is inaccurate. FM refers to "frequency modulation" as opposed to AM "amplitude modulation". These are broadcast techniques, and FM delivers a wider and more natural sounding audio dynamic. A strong AM radio broadcast can be received for thousands of miles compared to less than 150 miles for an identical FM broadcast. VHF and UHF are both "frequency modulated" broadcasts.
•XLR. I use NADY wireless systems, among the least expensive available, and all have XLR connections. I have no complaints with performance. Neither do I push operatonal envelopes. XLR is a method of insuring audio quality by incorporating shielding and phase reversal to eliminate the most common causes of magnetic field contamination of audio cables. It is always the first choice, but not necessary if one pays close attention in system set-up.

•I prefer to use wireless systems because I don't like to sync audio in post, but I do own and use an iRiver as a back-up.

•FIXES:
1. Visit wireless system manufacturers (my favorite is audio-technica), and search their support sections for imformation on wireless frequencies, particularly in relation to TV broadcasts. Usually a zip code entry will tell you all you need to know.

2. Examine the pros and cons of using wireless vs separate recorders, like iRiver and Mini-disc.

3. If purchasing a wireless system, think about how you will use your system most of the time. I, for example, because of my rural location, use a rack mounted system of two single channel UHF systems and two single channel VHF systems. I did my homework and know exactly who uses what frequencies and the strength of their broadcasts. In a metro area, I would have chosen a "frequency agile" system, allowing me to choose from a variety of frequencies.

4. Choose the best system you can afford, and initially purchase fewer systems in favor of quality. Do your frequency availabilty homework first. In the low to mid price range I don't favor any manufacturer. All make good systems and bad systems. Price appears to be the defining factor. That said, Sennheiser and AudioTechnica seem to get the most favorable comments. I've used them as well as Shure, Samson,and many others for years professionally and find all the professional product lines to be rock solid. It ultimately boils down to familiarity, ease of use, and personal preference.

Tom's final comment, emphasising "practice, practice, practice", is the most valuable piece of imformation he, I, or anyone else could give to you.

Good luck, and don't hesitate to privately, or publicly contact for assistence.
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Old November 7th, 2005, 05:37 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Terott
...thanks to you then, they've got a quality mic now. The shockmount works. The draw back is that the shockmount attaches only to a camera shoe and I needed that shoe for other things. So what I did was... remove the microphone holder (two screws) on my PD-170 and with those two screws, attach a small 2-1/4" long plate to offset the mic just enough that I can still use my camera shoe. Viola!
LOL we actually tried a Sennheiser double rubber shockmount which didnt do much to fix it (rubber was too dense) ...but Id gently run my finger along the tripod and it sent our scales through the roof..almost blew my headfones... lol
well, thats how we picked up the problem anyhow..
I still thing they could have sorted out that chunky power block issue with a AA battery, and THEN mount the mic on the shockmount (which would also have the shoemount)

anyway, the way i got around this double shoe mount issue (i run a light with a 2x wireless mic setup (one mic on the mount with a light, and the other cliped over the hand grip),
I use a "Y" mount typically found for video lights.. the bugger cost me 75 bux, but its worth it.. it also comes with a ring so i can mouint it to my 12ft manfrotto stand and run a small cam light off a stand as oppsed to running an 800w lowel tota kit.. which id prefer but is always frowned upon..
For camera only usage, u can get yourself a foldway camera grip, which mounts to the tripod mount of the cam, and gives u a 90 degree L on top of the grip is another mount, so it effectively allows to mountable items.

I agree with Waldemars comments on interferance... unfortunately no amount of wireless kit, irrespective of distance, range, and signal strength make, model or product brand will be perfect.. unfortunately in the game we play, theres really not much more we can do without tripping people over our 30mt XLR leads....
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Old November 9th, 2005, 02:19 PM   #13
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After having nothing but nightmares with my VHF Azden WR-PRO wireless mics, I purchased a pair of Olympus digital voice recorders. While they offer less sound quality than a nice UHF or XLR system, they are also only about a $100 each, and they cannot be interfered with by anything as far as I know.

So, if you're on a budget, this might be a really good option for you.

One thing to consider, I've noticed that for some reason there is lag in the audio. By this I mean that if you have a 20-minute ceremony, and you match up the audio from the Olympus at the very beginning, and then check it at the very end, it will be off.

I've learned to adjust the speed percentage of the audio clips to help correct this problem. Again, I'm sure a nice $600 UHF system would be better, but for $200, the ability to mic 2 people AND use my on-camera mics AND get decent sound quality made it a good deal for me.
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