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Old August 21st, 2011, 09:11 PM   #1
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Audio suggestions for an adventure race

I filmed an adventure race documentary last February and got great stuff, but my audio needed improvement. I brought my own equipment - my 5D and EX-1 and said I needed audio gear, but all I was handed was a wireless lav, sent into the remote wilderness of Patagonia to do my best.

The EX I planned on using for interviews and the 5D for beauty shots and timelapses. Well, the incessant rain killed my EX for a night (even with my rain guard there was no escape) so I was reduced to using my 5D for OTFs where I'd just jam it in the subject's face and hope for the best. You could hear the person, but I want better.

Anyway, I want to do a better job. I'm thinking of getting a wireless lav for when I have the opportunity to do actual interviews, but for the purpose of my job, there is NO time to mic anyone - I'm trying to follow racers and get soundbytes in the moment - so I figure a camera mounted shotgun with a deadcat would be the best. I also need the gear to be capable of enduring extreme elements.

I am confident with cameras but am admittedly no audio expert. If anyone has any suggestions on a shotgun mic (to either mount to an EX or 5D - I feel my 5D served me better because of its weather resistance and on a wireless mic system I'd love to hear them. I need as good as audio as I can get given the circumstances, because without it I have some meaningless images. I need to capture the raw emotion of the moment.

To sum up, I am looking for:

1. Shotgun mic for 5D/EX
2. Wireless lav setup
3. Equipment must be able to endure elements (I've researched tactics like using unlubricated condoms but would like good gear to begin with)
4. To be told something different if there's a better option given my limitations (1 man band chasing down athletes)

I'm not looking for the cheapest route but rather the best route. Granted, I don't want to overspend, and I know mic placement is far more important than the gear itself (it's how you use the tool not the tool itself), but I don't want to waste money on gear I'll have to replace because it wasn't robust enough. I've been down going the cost cutting route and it always seems to cost more in the end.

Thanks for reading through my lengthy post, and I am looking forward to some suggestions.
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Old August 22nd, 2011, 01:02 PM   #2
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Re: Audio suggestions for an adventure race

Maybe I should make the post more succinct:

Need 2 mics for job. Must be able to get wet. One mic will be camera mounted for catching action, scenes, and OTFs when there's no time to mic the subject. The other mic will be used for interviews when time permits hooking mic up. This will all be outdoors. I'd like the mics to be as small, light, and as rugged as possible, as I'll be backpacking for days in rough terrain.
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Old August 23rd, 2011, 12:23 AM   #3
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Re: Audio suggestions for an adventure race

The NTG3 is known for being a good all around shotgun, and able to handle moisture. There might be smaller options though.

You might also consider handing the athletes a handheld mic like the RE50: faster than putting a lav on them, but does tend to make the viewer aware of the camera.
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Old August 23rd, 2011, 12:47 AM   #4
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Re: Audio suggestions for an adventure race

Well, you could do a lot worse, but consider this option............

A Senny ME 66/ Rode whatever, hand held support handle of some sort, - condom cover, with a dead cat over, Senny butt plug transmitter and get the talent to hold it, receiver on the camera and another rig for the interviewer (you?) if necessary.

Er, by the way, racing what - exactly? In Patagonia? Icebergs? Glaciers?

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Old August 23rd, 2011, 02:06 AM   #5
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Re: Audio suggestions for an adventure race

Thanks for the suggestions. I'm looking into the NTG3 - but it seems it needs phantom power (which would work with my EX but won't with the 5D unless I record separate sound with my zoom. Done it before with a sennheiser lav, but it's a pain operating that alone.) After the race I had done in February, I had always gone with separate sound - either with the zoom or using my EX to record sound, but given the taxing elements and situations, I want the option to go directly into my 5D - this will be uncharted territory for me.

I definitely don't want to go the handheld mic route. I don't want to disrupt the racers, and with the camera mounted shotgun, I'm looking to catch them in the moment - whether they be kayaking, rock climbing, bicycling. I'll be facing lots of wind for sure, so a deadcat is a must.

I was thinking a wireless lav for when I have a chance to do formal interviews before the race or after they get eliminated, but maybe the shotgun could take care of that as well if I place it close to the subject. A reason I was leaning towards a wireless is in case of any walk and talk interviews that I might do.

The immediate race I have coming up is in northern california - the Gold Rush Adventure race. I expect the weather to be decent, but I want my gear to be good enough for when/if I return to do the Patagonian Expedition Race (formerly hosted by Wenger but not sure who is taking the reins this year). Down there it's the turbal - the peat-bog-like terrain that is tough to deal with. Constant rain and condensation. I wasn't one of the lucky ones dropped by the glaciers - I got left in the dense forests on some island in the middle of a fjord.
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