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Old January 28th, 2006, 03:34 PM   #1
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Wired Lav Microphone help needed, please.

Hello, I have a GL2 and am going to be making an instructional DVD. Much of the basement will be in a staged area in the basement and the rest will be on the farm and possibly at some shops. I am going to play it safe and say that I'll need a microphone for higher quality on what I'm doing. I've seen a lot about wireless and wired lavs, zeppelins, etc. I don't want a microphone to be visible, or at least a small lav would be ok.

Could someone recommend quality wired lavs that would work with my Canon GL2 and what accessories I'll need for it? ALso, what is the longest wire run of microphone wire I can have between the camera and the microphone? I am guessing I'll need 25 feet for the farm countryside footage.

Thanks and have a great day, all guidance is greatly approved.
Joel Sommer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 31st, 2006, 07:54 AM   #2
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anyone? I really need to order something no later than this week so I can start next week.

Any assistance is greatly appreciated.
Joel Sommer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 31st, 2006, 08:24 AM   #3
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Hi Joel,

In my experience wired Lav mics are fine for sit-down interview situations but the minute you start to walk around the cable is a major pain... Besides the fact that the budget ones are unbalanced minijack mics, you're likely to get crackle and interference... I use a cheap Audio Technica ATR35's on occasions and the above restrictions aside, it is unbeatable for it's price...

If you are doing location stuff and walk around on a farm yard, you're far better off getting a Sennheisser Ew100 G2 wireless set up or similar. These really are an excellent piece of kit and are so much more versatile than a wired mic...

The other alternative is to use a mic on a boom and get a second sound person to record the voice audio for you... The easiest way is to plug a mic like a Audio Technica 897 into the camera and place it on a boom pole.. This can then be fed by a cable to the camera..If you want to use XLR jacks a Beachtek adapter or such like will be needed...(the GL2 doesn't have XLR's ? right?)
With this set up the sound person can get good audio from two or more speakers by simply moving the boom closer when each of them speaks...

Finally you'll need to monitor the audio on headphones which ever route you take... It is more than a luxury to get the sound person rigged up to be able to hear the audio... by way of a small field mixer..

I tend to have a set of walkman type headphones so I can listen to what is being fed to the camera too.

I've managed to set up the Sennheisser wireless out fit to work with the AT897 too thus avoiding long cables dragging in the mud..by fiddling with the settings this produces pretty nice audio...

you'll no dounbt get advice from more experienced shooters than I ... but having gone through the audio learning curve last year.. I'm just about coming to terms with the basics..


Gareth Watkins is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 31st, 2006, 11:23 AM   #4
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hi joel,

not sure how much you want to spend, so here it some generic advice.

25 feet of cable should be ok, even with a low cost "unbalanced" mic. just make sure the connectors at the extension cable are secured well with tape or something. if mini plugs turn while moving they can create noise in the mic, sounds like crackle or popping. make sure the cable is secured to your talent so it doesn't pull the mic off him/her while they are moving. if they take a few steps i usually tape the wire to the back of their shoe to keep it out of sight and from under foot. unless they are running or flailing about, a wired lav can work very well.

on the low cost side of things, a lav found at radio shack/bestbuy/etc will probably have a 1/8" mono mini plug that will connect to your GL2. Since it's mono it will only feed sound to the left channel. An adapter (female 1/8 mono to male 1/8 stereo) will feed the mic to both channels if you need to. 1/8 male-female extensions can be had, be sure to get "shielded cable", NOT an extension for headphones-wire that looks like small lamp cord or you will prob pick up interference in the microphone.

quality usually follows price, so on the high end you'll find some of my gear. i use sony ecm-77 and sennheiser mke-2 lav mics. they are "balanced" XLR outputs and great quality. they are also some of the smallest mics avail, easily hidden. you'll find these same mics on most broadcast sitdowns. the XLR outputs allow for long cable runs, with some other help i've had them over 2 MILES from my console. they start around $300-400 and go up from there. xlr cables are much more expensive too, but are much more pliable and managable that their unbalanced cousins. i also run mics through some sort of mixer so i can manage sound levels and have an easier point of monitoring, both level and sound. then you would need a way to convert the pro XLR back into 1/8 mini for your GL2.

wireless, as mentioned, is another option. most of the sub-$500 systems are worthless IMO, so now you are spending more than a wired mic. most of that money is for the radio system, so now you are back to a cheap unbalanced mic plugged into the transmitter. even the most expensive wireless ($5000+) with a quaity mic feeding it does't quite sound as good as that same mic on a wire. and there is the problem of radio interference in the wireless path. don't get me wrong, i use wireless a lot, but usually only when the talent activity demands it. i don't take those chances with someone sitting stationary in a chair.

in any event, i've gone a lot of ways over the years and always managed to make something work and sound good. always monitor what you are doing so you KNOW if it's working or not. listen BEYOND presence of audio, check for noise (static, hiss, crackle, distortion) extraneous sound (cell phone, tv, airplanes, traffic, baby...) and intelligibility of the voice. if it sounds "funny" or "not right" stop and make changes until it does. sometimes moving the mic 1/2" so it doesn't rub on a colar or something makes all the difference in the world. if it doesn't sound great in the headphones it will only be worse on some other form of monitoring.

I know you are ordering with a shooting deadline, but take the time to plug it all in before you start shooting. test connections by shaking/tapping them while you are talking, make sure they don't produce any noise. record a bit and then play it back to make sure you are happy with it. you will save yourself countless time on the set.

good luck.
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