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Old January 23rd, 2005, 06:40 AM   #1
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Lapel Mics et al


Can anybody give me some advice on lapel Mics?

I am using a Canon camcorder and want to film a documentary/martial arts instructional video. The problem is with the first video we shot we just used the internal mic on the camcorder. The sound was adequate but think it could be better. I was thinking of maybe using a lapel mic but I am not really sure how these work. Are the on a wire connected directly to the camera or do I have to use a mixer? Are wireless mics available? Or are there better methods to use?

Any help would be appreciated.


Simon Kenny is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 23rd, 2005, 07:29 AM   #2
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Hi Simon

First off search this site and the net in general for useful info on improved audio... There is a lot of good info out there...

this will be the stock and valid answer on the forums.

Mic Choices:
Lapel or Lav mics are very good for interviews but would not be adapted for sport IMO... noise from clothing and certain damage to equipment would rule them out.

There are two sorts, you can get a nice wired one by Audio Technica for about 40 or a set of Senheiser Wireless for about 400.

I would go with a shotgun mic on a boom pole fitted with a shockmount, and a cable running to your camera. A mic like the Audio Technica 897 would be a good choice. cost about 200.

These mics are very directional and do a good job of recording the sound you want while minimising any general background noise. Get your mic as close to the subject as poss.. for best quality pick up.

You don't say what camera you have (other than Canon) and that will have a bearing on how you connect a mic ....if you only have a mini jack mic socket you'll need to get an XLR adapter or cable.
Best choice would be something like a Beachtek... Try here for a UK dealer I would doubt you need a mixer at present, as the Beachtek can take two mics and has volume controls....(it will cut off your inboard mic though)

Another very good audio place is Pro Audio in Bradford... very professional and quick service... they are very helpful on the right choice of gear.

Hope this helps

Gareth Watkins is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 23rd, 2005, 10:37 AM   #3
Fred Retread
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Good info from Gareth. Let me add, in case it isn't clear, that if you go with a boom pole you need a boom pole operator to keep the mic pointed at the source from a distance as close as possible without showing in the shot.

Room acoustics make a huge difference. Pick or create a space that isn't "live" (full of room echoes)

A few other alternatives that would sound better than what you're already getting:

If it fits with the plan of your presentation, a good approach without a boom operator would be a laveliere (lapel) mic when the instructor is talking to the camera, and a camera or stand mounted cardiod or hypercardiod mic when he is demonstrating moves. Viewers will easily accept a difference in sound characteristics for the two situations. I say cardiod or hypercardiod because while they are directional, they have wider acceptance patterns that tend to make them sound better indoors than shotguns. Done with care, this approach could sound quite professional.

My last choice would be a camera mounted directional mic, shooting as close as shot composition would allow in order to get the mic close.

[Edit: Oh yes, and a single XLR mic can be plugged into your cam's mini mic jack with an inexpensive adaptor cable.]
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David Ennis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 24th, 2005, 03:43 AM   #4
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Thanks for taking the time to reply guys and thanks for the greta information. I will research what you have told me. For your information, I am using a Canon DV 700i Camcorder, which is better than the camera we used for the last video so hopefully we should get better results and we were quite happy with the last tape. I guess other people were as it as sold 500 copies to date, but then with these sorts of things the quantity is more important than the quality. :-)

Thanks again

Simon Kenny is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 24th, 2005, 04:20 AM   #5
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Hi Simon,

I think Fred is right the cheapest route for you is a better quality directional mic and an XLR/mini Jack adapter cable... you can get these over the net...

Keene Electronics is a good mail order place in the UK.

I personnally found better audio and steady (ie.use of a Tripod) footage.. made my films vastly better...
you'll need headphones to listen to what you are recording also.

I got hold of a book on amazon a while ago called "The Video Production Handbook" by Gerard Millerson. Some of the info is a bit dated now as video, especially DV has moved so fast.

But the basics are there and don't change... ie.Audio recording, composition, camera use... etc. well worth the 25 or so i paid.

As a professional photographer by career, I found audio far trickier than the camera work.

Best of luck

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