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-   -   Microphone for wildlife sound capture (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/all-things-audio/76618-microphone-wildlife-sound-capture.html)

Dave Stiles October 2nd, 2006 10:49 AM

Microphone for wildlife sound capture
 
I'm currently taking a year long class entitled Mediaworks at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. During this course I will be doing a documentary on Coyotes in urban environments. For Equipment I own a XL2 and a Marantz PMD671 (Marantz unit being shipped today).

What would be the best microphone to use as I may be up to 1/4 of a mile away from the animal when capturing audio for later dubbing?

Should I obtain a parabolic system, or would a shotgun microphone work?

Also being new to this, what would be a good microphone to purchase (Brand, model)?

Thank you,

Steve House October 2nd, 2006 11:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave Stiles
I'm currently taking a year long class entitled Mediaworks at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. During this course I will be doing a documentary on Coyotes in urban environments. For Equipment I own a XL2 and a Marantz PMD671 (Marantz unit being shipped today).

What would be the best microphone to use as I may be up to 1/4 of a mile away from the animal when capturing audio for later dubbing?

Should I obtain a parabolic system, or would a shotgun microphone work?

Also being new to this, what would be a good microphone to purchase (Brand, model)?

Thank you,

Even shotgun mics are designed to be used within a few feet of the sound source - other than parabolic there really isn't anything like a telephoto lens for sound. A shotgun doesn't magnify sound, it just reduces pickup of sound from other than the direction the subject is in. At 1/4 mile and better distances you probably should be looking at parabolics.

Gabriel Yeager October 2nd, 2006 11:20 AM

Hi dave,
I to would like to know this... I will soon be getting into wildlife videography.

This is a little of topic... but I would still like to know; How do you like the class that you are taking? Is it very helpful, learning, and so on?

Hope you find what you are looking for!
~Gabriel~

Dave Stiles October 2nd, 2006 01:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve House
Even shotgun mics are designed to be used within a few feet of the sound source - other than parabolic there really isn't anything like a telephoto lens for sound. A shotgun doesn't magnify sound, it just reduces pickup of sound from other than the direction the subject is in. At 1/4 mile and better distances you probably should be looking at parabolics.

I was afraid of needing a parabolic, as the Gibson unit I have been looking at online means way too many months of a ramen noodle diet ;), unless I get lucky like this weekend and sell a few more of my wildlife still images for publication...

Would the shotgun mike be a decent choice for documenting Ospreys nesting when the distances will be around 40 feet, or should I just bite the bullet and get the Gibson parabolic? I have a mike budget right now of around $800, the balance left from buying the Marantz unit - after selling 13 images for one-time useage in publication over the weekend.

I searched the threads here and it seems like everything is used for working at close distances...

Tom Vaughan October 2nd, 2006 01:36 PM

Big Ears is probably a much better parabolic mic
 
As far as I know, the pros use Big Ears parabolic microphones. The Gibson unit looks like a cheap toy compared to Big Ears. A friend is director of engineering at a major cable TV station, and he recommended Big Ears for sporting events.

Take a look... the price is nearly identical. You will notice Big Ears microphones at every NFL football game. You'll find them at parabs.com.

Dave Stiles October 2nd, 2006 01:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tom Vaughan
As far as I know, the pros use Big Ears parabolic microphones. The Gibson unit looks like a cheap toy compared to Big Ears. A friend is director of engineering at a major cable TV station, and he recommended Big Ears for sporting events.

Take a look... the price is nearly identical. You will notice Big Ears microphones at every NFL football game. You'll find them at parabs.com.

Thanks for the tip .. it looks like a big ears unit is good for distances up to 500 feet. For the coyotes it may work. My only question comes back to the best type of microphone to use with such a unit and big ears only sells the dish portion of the set-up.

If I went with the big ears it would drop my mike budget to $500. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Jay Massengill October 2nd, 2006 02:46 PM

It appears on their website that they are using lav mics on the dishes they equip with a mic, but I would think you could get much lower self-noise with a good cardioid small-diaphragm condenser. For example an AT3031 cardioid would have low noise and reasonably high sensitivity along with a very flat frequency response for use with one of these parabolic dishes.
These are available for about $160 to $170 online and you'll already have phantom power from either your camera or Marantz.
You could also look into a high quality preamp like the SoundDevices MP-1 or MM-1 for about $299 to $350. The MM-1 would give you a separate headphone out if you're using someone to remotely point and handle the dish.
And you'd probably need a small furry and some black no-exposed-rubber hairbands for wind protection. These range from about $20-$50.
If you're still thinking about a shotgun by itself, $800 is kind of a deadspot budget wise. There are several right below that (plus accessories at extra cost) like the AT4071a. The Sennheiser MKH-60 or MKH-70 are well above $1000 unless you bought one used.


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