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shot gun/boom mic question


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#1 Lukeo

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Posted 04 September 2005 - 01:26 AM

Hi, I have a minidv cam that has a 1/8 mic input . Can you get a shot gun mic with a boom pole for this, or do they only have shot gun mics with an 1/4 XLR connection? If they do have one for the 1/8, which mic would you recomend? Something from Senheiser or would something from sony or panasonic be ok? Is there any kits that include the boom pole? or am I better off getting one of those mics that attach onto the camcorder and they call them like a zoom mic, same thing as a shot gun except they don't go on the pole?

Luke
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#2 Gordon Highland

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Posted 04 September 2005 - 09:44 AM

The first thing I'd do is get something like this to get XLR input over 1/8" and give you a lot more flexibility.

http://www.studio1pr...om/xlr-menu.htm

Then, if you can afford a boom pole/shotgun mic system, that's going to give you the best sound in pretty much any situation. I've had very good experience with Sennheisers, but they're expensive. Keep in mind that someone also has to operate it, of course. Although I'll often mount one on a C-stand for sit-down interviews.

These guys just released a line of shotgun mics. I haven't heard them yet, but their studio mics are a great value for the money:

http://www.rode.com....ba593135cbea4d7
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#3 Lukeo

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Posted 04 September 2005 - 11:04 AM

Do you have to get an xlr adapter? I'd rather not have any more stuff to buy than i already do haha. Is it not possible or do they not have shot gun mics with boom pole kits for 1/8 inputs? Do all shotguns requrice phantom power? what do most people put in the 1/8 jack in camcorders?
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#4 Gordon Highland

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Posted 04 September 2005 - 01:53 PM

All condenser mics require phantom power (some can run on a battery), and all good shotgun mics I've seen are condensers.

I don't know what your purposes are. I assume if you're on this forum you want to do professional work, not home video. If you're just looking for a replacement for your camera mic, you could just get a better camera-mounted mic that has a 1/8" plug, and you can do your own research on the web to find one. But if you're going to be interfacing with other crew and/or have someone running sound, you need to be in the XLR world. Using a boom implies this. An on-camera mic is not acceptable for dialogue scenes in most situations.

Or I suppose you could stipulate your sound person provide their own gear and be sure whatever they mix down to can be adapted to provide you a 1/8" output. For instance, you can get a dual-RCA to stereo minijack cable. I'm assuming you have a way to monitor and control your levels manually and individually on your camera, otherwise this is all pretty pointless. Whomever is running the boom needs to be able to monitor levels from their position and be sure they're calibrated with the camera. They don't just plug it directly into the camera. Well, they COULD, but that's not enabling them do their job properly.
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#5 Stas Tagios

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Posted 04 September 2005 - 10:13 PM

As Gordon says, an XLR connection is preferred, since its more robust and less prone to introducing noise into your recording, say, from the cable getting jiggled (the XLR connection sits firmly in its mount, versues a 1/8" plug, which can easily rotate and potentially cause unwanted noise.

That said, if you're looking for a shotgun with a 1/8" connection, the Sennheiser MKE-300 has one, and was designed specifically for the prosumer/small handycam market. Of course, its integrated shoe mount suggests the mike is intended more for on-camera use than as a pro mike shock-mounted on a boom pole.

If cleaner, more professional sound is your goal, it's better to invest in a higher-end shotgun and boom pole set-up. The Sennheiser ME-66 (with K-6 module) is a popular choice for a decent shotgun mike at a reasonable price.

Keeping the mike mounted on camera will do in a pinch, or if your audio source is near camera, but generally, getting the mike off the camera and on a boom is the first step to recording better sound.

Check out the MKE-300 here:

http://www.sennheise...?transid=003171

and here:

http://www.bhphotovi...tlist&sku=47031

And the ME-66:

http://www.sennheise...?transid=003284
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#6 Lukeo

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Posted 05 September 2005 - 10:16 AM

Hey thanks very much to both of you for your replies. I appreciate it. Another question. Is the information you record with the boom mic mono? And do you have to do a lot of mixing later to seperate and pan the sound? Or can the microphones capture in stereo? What usually happens sound recording wise on most indie or professional sets? Sorry for the questions, I just have a lacking knowledge when it comes to the audio side of movies.

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#7 Gordon Highland

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Posted 05 September 2005 - 02:49 PM

If I have only one person doing the sound (without another person to be mixer), this person will be the boom operator, and wear a sound mixer around his neck with a cable snake that feeds into the camera, and a return cable from the camera's headphone jack to him. Whenever practical, I capture all the sound with a single boom panned center on the mixer into both channels on the camera, and on the second channel of the camera I will turn the level down a little bit to give me some more headroom in case of an unexpected peak (the analog mixer can handle the overload cleanly, but at 0dB on a digital camera you get distortion). Another option is to put the boom on one camera channel and the camera mic on the other for a worst-case backup.

If it's not practical to capture everything with a single boom (ie. too much distance between subjects), I'll put a wireless lavaliere on one person (or plant the mic) and boom the other. Each one will get panned hard left or right opposite the other on the mixer. This will give me separation to two different channels on the camera and provide greater postproduction flexibility, both with editing overlap and EQ to compensate for the different tones of the mics. If there are more than two live sources (I do up to four at a time), you have to decide which ones it makes the most sense to group/pan together.

For my purposes, I usually edit all dialogue in mono anyway and add in ambiences and sound effects to fill out the stereo picture. But that's just me.

The first several times times I ever worked with a professional sound guy with lots of movie credits, he was driving me crazy with his particulars that kept affecting my shooting or blocking technique, and as difficult as it was to admit at the time, he was always right about the improvements to the overall production. It's worth doing right, as sound quality is one of the biggest giveaways of amateur productions from pro ones.
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#8 Lukeo

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Posted 05 September 2005 - 11:33 PM

Gord

Thanks very much for the info. I will take your advice and buy the 1/8 to xlr adapter, and then purchase a boom mic and pole and a lavalier. But do I need a mixer as well, since the mini dv camera I'll be using i don't think has seperate levels, I don't think you can control anything except monitor the sound with headphones. Would that yield me just a flat mono recording then? What mixer would i have to buy? any recomendations on any for a video maker with a low budget? can you use the mixers they use for pa systems? like an 8 channel mixer? Thanks for listening to my bombardment of questions. I appreciate it.
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#9 Alvin Pingol

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Posted 06 September 2005 - 02:50 AM

Hi Lukeo,

Keep in mind this is a Cinematography forum, so do not be surprised if many of your questions go unanswered or recieve tardy response; I recommend you check out the forums at studentfilmmakers.com, DV.com, or similar generalized movie production forums if you can't find the answer you're looking for here.

In the meantime... Since your camera only has a 1/8" mic input, it wouldn't surprise me if it also had a built in compressor/limiter/autogain combo, which will irreversibly modify the audio signal (though sometimes it can help!). If you plan on using two mics, the previously posted XLR adapter (http://www.studio1pr....com/xlr-bp.htm) will work as your mixer, and it should also be able to send output from each mic to its own channel so you can modify them independently in post.
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