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Microphones: lav or shotgun?

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Andrew Lanier
Microphones: lav or shotgun?
on Feb 13, 2011 at 10:52:32 pm

Hi, I am getting started in the film world and just have a few questions.

I am going to get the Nikon d7000 in a few months and will mainly be using it for documentary/interview type work. I am planning on getting the Rode NTG-2 shotgun and running it into a Zoom h4n recorder. But I do not know if that would be the best thing to do. Should I go wireless lav setup? And if so, what kind? I want solid, legit, affordable equipment. nothing too cheap, but still affordable on a small budget.

Please voice your input!
Thank you.


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Noah Kadner
Re: Microphones: lav or shotgun?
on Feb 14, 2011 at 2:40:14 am

Really depends on the situation- both have their purposes and sometimes at the same time. For example if I were doing a sit down interview I'd usually wire or wireless setup a lav and then back that up with a shotgun mounted on a c-stand. Then run those into a single channel each. The Xoom is nice but it has a very low level so running a pre-amp/outboard mixer into it will give you much better results than mics directly into it.

And don't forget a slate so you can sync easier in post- bonus points for a slate running as an iPhone or iPod app such as: http://www.pureblendsoftware.com/movieslate

If it were running and gunning I'd have someone following along with a shotgun on a boom pole. It's *really* hard to get good sound as a one-man operation. So I'd highly recommend looking into getting a sound mixer (a person) to help you get good sound, at least initially. Nothing sinks a video project faster than bad audio and it's *really* easy to achieve bad audio. Just hang a mic on the front of your camera and start shooting. Echo and heavy noise city. Don't let it happen to you.


-Noah

Unlock the secrets of 24p, HD and Final Cut Studio with Call Box Training. Featuring the Canon 5D Mark II and 7D.


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Chip Thome
Re: Microphones: lav or shotgun?
on Feb 14, 2011 at 8:16:47 am

What were you planning on doing with the Rode ??? Put it on the cam, or a boom or going to go handheld ??? Going wireless into the Zoom, to me sounds a bit like a waste of money. If you are going wireless into the cam, then I'd look at a Senheiser G3 set up. If you can bury a recorder on the subject, a lav into a recorder works well too. I've done that with a Giant Squid mic into a Yamaha Pocketrak CX recorder and was very satisfied with the results.

Of course if you want real first rate Audio, Noah has dialed that in precisely for you, can't argue at all with his description.


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Andrew Lanier
Re: Microphones: lav or shotgun?
on Feb 14, 2011 at 11:24:53 pm

by mixer, do you mean something like a beachtek or juicedlink adapter? I'm sorry, I'm just a noob at all of this and i am a stickler for clear audio. I just want to know exactly how to set everything up. And i probably will not be able to have a sidekick holding a boom for me, it will most of the time just be myself and the subject. Sit down interviews mainly, however i am working at a summer day camp for kids this coming summer and would like to record them alot and have good audio in that sense as well (not always interview type things, but maybe 20 feet away while they are playing a game or something)

I know it's a lot of questions, i'm just starting out and want to know how things work


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Chip Thome
Re: Microphones: lav or shotgun?
on Feb 17, 2011 at 7:19:52 am

This is off topic as far as audio goes Andrew. One thing you really should investigate first is the entire permission/legality aspect of recording children without their parents around. I honestly would check with your camp ahead of time and get their opinion/permission before going ahead and doing this.


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Allen Roulston
Re: Microphones: lav or shotgun?
on Feb 14, 2011 at 4:38:32 pm

In my opinion, you'll get better results with a wireless lav mic.
You can hide it under the shirt, behind the jacket, if you don't want it seen.
(It does take a little co-operation from your subject.)
I use Sennheisser wire lavs with good results.
You can dial down the sensitivity on the mic and generally hear nothing but the voice of your subject even when there is some background noise.

~ Allen


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Noah Kadner
Re: Microphones: lav or shotgun?
on Feb 14, 2011 at 9:51:32 pm

Only in emergencies in my opinion. Wireless lav mics pick up radio noise and generate static when low on batteries or near something that generates interference. Any of those things will ruin your day.

Noah

Unlock the secrets of 24p, HD and Final Cut Studio with Call Box Training. Featuring the Canon 5D Mark II and 7D.


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Allen Roulston
Re: Microphones: lav or shotgun?
on Feb 14, 2011 at 11:56:01 pm

I've never had a problem with poor sound quality with a wireless lav mic.
I always listen to what I am recording with a good headset.
I keep fresh batteries in the transmitter and receiver.
There are LOTS of channels to pick from in the transmitters and receivers.

Best of all, you don't need someone to operate a sound boom.
Shot guns work best when aimed at the mouth of the talent,
as close as possible without being in the shot. Not always an easy option on a one person shoot.

~ Allen


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Steve Crow
Re: Microphones: lav or shotgun?
on Feb 15, 2011 at 2:52:20 pm

As a one man band I also do both....some type of shotgun mic placed on top of the camera (cold shoe mount) which plugs directly into the camera...this is just so that I have a decent audio track to sync with later on.

Next, I use wireless lavs that transmit their signal to a receiver plugged into the Zomm H4N. I always monitor the sound live using a pair of headphones plugged into the Zoom.

To sync the sound I either use Plural Eyes or do it manually in the timeline. I rarely use a clapperboard but can sync manually just matching waveforms. To confirm that both tracks are in sync I play them back both at the same time, any echo and you know you are not in sync.


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Allen Roulston
Re: Microphones: lav or shotgun?
on Feb 15, 2011 at 3:17:22 pm

Ah yes, the use of a shot gun mic to synch the audio recorded externally is a very good idea.
Even if you only use the wave forms during editing.
It can get you really close to the right synch point very quickly.

~ Allen


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Phil Balsdon
Re: Microphones: lav or shotgun?
on Feb 15, 2011 at 9:33:33 pm

Ultimately you'll need both a lav and a shotgun.

A lavalier won't be much use shooting run and gun style in the street, you won't be able to stop people fit them with a mic and then start recording. It won't be as good for atmos sound in those environments either. That situation is for a shotgun mike.

If however you are shooting set up interviews or ptc without a sound recordist a lav mike is better.

I use a Sennheisser wireless mike that also has the optional adaptor that plugs into a powered xlr mike (NTG-2, it won,t work with the NTG-1 which requires phantom power). This makes it possible to use the NTG-2 without a cable or use the wireless lav mike.

It's also possilbe to link sound out of the Zoom H4n to the camera via the wireless system for an audio guide track on the camera that can be synced in post.

Choose the system that suits what you do most, but plan to purchase the other at sometime in the future.

Cinematographer, Steadicam Operator, Final Cut Pro Post Production.
http://www.steadi-onfilms.com.au/


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Brent Dunn
Re: Microphones: lav or shotgun?
on Feb 28, 2011 at 7:52:48 pm

I use the Sony Lav's. We did a side by side comparison with other lav's and the sound quality was better.

I also did a shoot with over 12 wireless mic's running in a hotel conference center with no interference or issues.

Wireless into the Zoom and into the camera.

Or as a backup, shotgun on camera, wireless to Zoom.

If you are doing run and gun interviews, hand held wireless mic being held by the interviewer. It looks cheesy to have subject hold their own mic's, but you have to do whatever you're budgeted for.

Brent Dunn
Owner / Director / Editor
DunnRight Films
DunnRight Video.com
Video Marketing Toolbox.net

Sony EX-1,
Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 7D
Mac Pro Tower, Quad Core,
with Final Cut Studio

HP i7 Quad laptop
Adobe CS-5 Production Suite





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Andrew Lanier
Re: Microphones: lav or shotgun?
on Feb 28, 2011 at 11:39:33 pm

Thank you for your input. As i stated, I am just getting started in filming. How exactly do you go about running a lav setup through a mixer or the camera itself?


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