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Best mics for foley work?


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#1 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 03:53 AM

What are the best mics to use for foley work and in what situations would you use the various mics? Thanks-Steve B)
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#2 Hal Smith

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 08:14 AM

Hi Cap'n,

Nobody? Okay, I'll put my couple of two cents worth in (=$.04?)

I've recorded sound effects for radio broadcast from time to time so I've got a few suggestions.

Any good mike with good overload characteristics will do. I've got a Sennheiser MD421 that's good for effects recording since it'll take a gunshot at close range. If you are recording extremely loud sounds be sure to use a recorder or mixer with an input mike attenuator option to avoid overload in the mike preamplifier itself. There are people who like to use surface effect microphones for effects recording, I've never used them but there are pros who do.

As a rule, it's best to be as close a practical to the sound you're recording. No mike has perfect directivity and the closer you get to the sound, the better the desired to undesired sound ratio. Unless you're in a sound deadened studio you can easily get too much room reverberation along with your desired sound. You can always add ambience and reverb later, but you can't remove it.

Don't record effects in stereo, you can always position the sound later in post.

Use a really good pair of closed back headphones when recording foley and effects. Learn to listen very carefully to the sound for imperfections like cars passing, radios and tv's, computer fans whining away, etc. in the background. It's amazing how much sound you don't hear when recording that bites you in the butt later. My closed back weapon of choice is AKG K271's (for open back I like K240's). You can probably find an old pair of Koss Pro4AA's on eBay for cheap money. They're uncomfortable to wear but they're pretty good since they amount to a pair of hearing protectors with little speakers in them.

Wikipedia has a foley article with some pretty good links.

http://en.wikipedia....ley_(filmmaking)

Hal
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#3 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 26 November 2010 - 07:11 PM

AH HA!! After doing some more research, I ran across this quote:

The key to recording Foley is to match production sound as closely as possible. To do this we use microphones typically used on production sets including Neumann KMR 81’s and Sennheiser 416’s to make this happen.

that came from this place:

http://www.alchemypo...m/aboutalchemy/

That coupled with what Hal (the Sound Magician) Smith wrote, it gives me an idea of what I'm looking at. I'm doing some research to see if we can set up a small Foley studio here. I'll continue to add to this as I learn more because I don't remember much discussion on the technical aspects of Foley work and seeing as sound is often MORE important to create emotion on screen than the image, as film makers, it might be nice to learn how the sounds are made rather that relying on canned, overused sound FXs.
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#4 Dino Giammattei

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Posted 27 November 2010 - 06:07 AM

As a compliment, not an alternative to microphones such as the KMR 81, 416, & MD421, you should consider a Bock 195. (Formerly Soundelux U195) It’s a mid priced microphone sold as an all purpose utility sound picker upper, and is a favorite of many recording engineers. I seem to recall it being mentioned as a good foley mic. I purchased one for home recording, but have found it useful in many applications. If something needs to sound big, this mic will not disappoint. Just make sure everything downstream is robust or this microphone will crush it. It’s equipped with a huge transformer that gives it a little extra mojo. YMMV… dino
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#5 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 28 November 2010 - 12:11 AM

"you should consider a Bock 195. (Formerly Soundelux U195) It’s a mid priced microphone"

Whoa, nice mic but I'm not sure about mid priced. I took a look on Ebay and found 2 examples, BOTH were "buy it now" granted but both were over a grand less shipping. I don't know, maybe 1000 bucks is mid range when it come to professional mics. I guess I'm gonna have to save my pennies cuz I sure ain't gonna go half assed on my sound package or anything else to do with my film making equipment. :D
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#6 Tony Koretz

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 02:20 AM

The MD421 would be fine for gunshots or thunder, but not detailed enough for some foley. The 416 shotgun is better in that respect. Something with a wider polar pattern (cardiod for example) can also be handy, espeically when gathering atmos type audio.
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#7 Tapio Liukkonen

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Posted 10 December 2011 - 05:48 AM

DPA and Schoeps have good microphones too.
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#8 Hal Smith

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Posted 10 December 2011 - 08:54 PM

Not familiar with DPA but have used Schoeps Colettes to record classical music and I'll agree, they're phenomenal. Unfortunately they're also VERY expensive over here.
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#9 Tony Koretz

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 02:11 AM

I mentioned previously the Sennheiser 416. I would like to also add that I have used AKG c451 mics a fair bit for capturing ambiences and the like. These have the facility to unscrew and fit different capsules, such as the CK1 cardiod or CK8 shotgun capsules. With The ck1 capsule fitted they offer good sound for many applications, but be aware that because the polar pattern is wide-ish you can pick up sounds from round about. The CK8 shotgun is more focused, but not as nice sounding as a Senn 416.
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#10 Dino Giammattei

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 04:41 AM

While looking for info on alternatives to the trusty Senny 416  for use on boom, I stumbled back to this rather old thread. Low and behold I realized that I had posted to this subject before! And to respond to Mr. Beverly, the Bock microphone could be considered more than a mid-priced mic I guess. But compared to the other products from Mr. David Bock, Neumann, Gefell, Schoeps, Sanken, and the like it's certainly more affordable. My vantage point is the grey area between music recording, film style video, and television sound, all of which I'm at best a jack of trades and far from a master of any. I certainly don't claim to be as qualified as all of you guys. My mic locker tends to be somewhere in the lower middle of the price range with much of my stuff being obscure used stuff I have acquired over many years. I use a lot of stuff rarely mentioned as film makers microphones. That being said, here's a few products I have had good results with that many of you real sound guys may not have considered for Foley work. #1 Royer R121 ribbon- a microphone usually mentioned as a guitar amplifier mic. I have used this for ambient sound and found it to be extremely useful in capturing what a space actually sounds like. It too is an arguably mid priced product, although James is probably going to debate that. Another secret weapon from the dark corner of my bag is the long since discontinued Sennheizer MD211. They can be had for comparatively cheap on the used market. The mic itself appears to be a standard small diaphragm condenser but is in actuality a dynamic microphone hence the the D in MD. More interesting is the fact that it's an omnidirectional microphone which makes it very useful in capturing the space it records in. Added to that, the darn things are nearly impossible to overload. Speaking of cheap small microphones, I still find myself reaching for my little Oktava sdc's for use as plant mics. I almost never touch my Rode NT5's any more, even though they cost considerably more than the Oktavas. beyond that I constantly find the trusty Electrovoice 635's, RE10's and RE15's indispensable for the above purposes. These too can be had for peanuts compared to other more well known microphones. I humbly hope the suggestions are of use to you all and wish you happy recording. Respectfully Submitted, Dino Giammattei.....


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