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Best kind of equipment for an 'all-around' approach

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Gord Stephen
Best kind of equipment for an 'all-around' approach
on Jul 28, 2009 at 2:51:29 am

Hey all,

I'm looking to invest in some audio hardware and 'upgrade' my current setup, having acquired the capability to work with XLR microphones (as opposed to 3.5mm plugs) a little while ago. Given that my current setup consists of a Rode VideoMic and onboard audio, I think there's plenty of room for improvement... ;) The catch is, I don't really want to spend more than $500... (not including headphones for monitoring) and the equipment would be used in a fairly wide range of situations.

I think the most frequent application would be static, single talking head type shots, which might work best with a wired lav, but from what I can tell if I wanted a decent lav mic then I wouldn't have money left for anything to deal with other scenarios (multiple people in the shot, run and gun, etc...).

That leads me to think about a handheld, ENG style microphone, which would be less ideal than a lav in specific situations (ie sit-down interviews) but be more flexible overall. I could get one of those for $100-$150 and still have funds left for something else (a cheap shotgun) to use for wider shots.

Shotguns would seem to be the most versatile - less ideal for indoor sit-down interviews, but universally useful. So spend everything on something like an ME66/K6 or Rode NTG-2? It would be primarily camera mounted for now, but I would have the capability to add a pistol grip/boom pole + operator later.

I suppose another option would be to go out and buy a 3.5mm-XLR adapter, keep the VideoMic as a camera-mounted shotgun, and spend everything on a decent wired lavaliere... Then I'd have both ends of my usage spectrum covered. I'm kind of leaning towards this solution right now. The downside would be that I'd still need to get a 'real' shotgun for use on a boom down the road.

Just to put things in context, I view what I'm using now as 'ok'. Not great, but certainly passable. If I had to, I could live with it.

So does anyone have input into what sort of equipment concept/combination would work best to be the most appropriate in the most situations? I know there's no universal solution... but I'd like to get as close as I can. ;)

I really appreciate it!

Thanks,

Gord


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Ty Ford
Re: Best kind of equipment for an 'all-around' approach?
on Jul 28, 2009 at 3:08:04 am

Hello Gord and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

Basically what you're asking is what throwing $500 at your audio setup will do. You don't say anything about a boom or wind protection, so any mic you get will be a problem.

I'd get one of these: http://www.audio-technica.com/cms/wired_mics/af0ced13084351f0/index.html

and use it with a boom or pistol grip.

Regards,

Ty Ford



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Gord Stephen
Re: Best kind of equipment for an 'all-around' approach?
on Jul 28, 2009 at 2:46:44 pm

Hey Ty,

Thanks so much for your quick response and recommendation. You're totally right, I am looking at 'throwing $500' at my setup... but I'd like to do it as intelligently and strategically as I can.

I know that I won't get superb audio out of a camera-mounted solution, but as far as I can tell, right now it's my only option (other than a lav or handheld). I just don't have an operator for a pistol grip or boom (and if I did, chances are it wouldn't be the same person every time, but someone new who I'd be thrusting the gear at and hoping for the best). It's not ideal, I know, but for now it's the reality of my situation.

Wind protection is a good point, I've neglected that so far. Should I be looking at investing in a dead cat wind filter then?

This is the particular setup I'm thinking about now. What's your reaction to it? (Bearing in mind that I've just been working with onboard audio or a camera mounted VideoMic in the past, but have been satisfied...)

1. Keep the VideoMic as a camera-mounted shotgun (buy an adapter to use it with XLR inputs)

2. Buy a Rode DeadCat windshield to put on the VideoMic

3. Buy a wired lav for more controlled situations (spend $300-400... for that will I be able to get something that will sound better than just pointing the VM at a subject?)

Thanks again for sharing your expertise.

Gord


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Sam Mallery
Re: Best kind of equipment for an 'all-around' approach?
on Jul 28, 2009 at 3:12:09 pm

The adapter you need to use your Rode VideoMic with an XLR input is $8.99. I think it's a no-brainer to pick it up so you can keep using it:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/387850-REG/Rode_VXLR_VXLR_Mono_Mini_J...

You don't have to think that hard about it. You are satisfied with the VideoMic. Keep using it.

As far as what mic to get next, you'll just have to accept that there is no silver bullet solution. Get a good mic, be it a wired lav or a better shotgun. My advice is that if you decide to spend money on a lav, go all the way and get the best.

A few years ago I bought a wired Tram TR-50. It has served me well, but when I bought it I knew that the Sanken COS-11 sounded better. I really wish I had bought the Sanken the first time around.

Buy the Deadcat if you plan on shooting outdoors. Don't even consider taking a shotgun outside without wind protection. If you are strictly doing indoor talking head stuff, you may not need it. If there is a possibility that you are going to shoot outdoors someday, you should definitely have the wind protection.



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Ty Ford
Re: Best kind of equipment for an 'all-around' approach?
on Jul 28, 2009 at 3:17:04 pm

Gordon,
\
Yes. I use the dead cat also on my Schoeps cmc641, over top of the B5D foam filter for outside work in moderate wind.

I like Countryman B6 (hard to see) and EMW mics. If you know which wireless you're going to get. Order the Countryman with a "link" so you can go hardwired XLR OR to a transmitter.

The Sanken COS-11 is also a good sounding lav.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Gord Stephen
Re: Best kind of equipment for an 'all-around' approach?
on Jul 28, 2009 at 10:05:58 pm

Thanks for the input guys. I think I'll stick with the VideoMic for a shotgun for the time being - I do shoot outside so I'll be sure to get a dead cat to use with it.

I'll check out those lavs, thanks for those suggestions too. I'm in Canada though and the video equipment stores I generally buy from (Vistek and Henry's) don't seem to carry Countryman or Sanken... I'll keep looking though. Seems to make a lot of sense to get something that I a) won't want to replace later and b) can use with a wireless transmitter in the future. Ty, I looked at the Countryman site but couldn't find anything about the 'link' you mentioned - could you expand on that?

Thanks again,

Gord


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Ty Ford
Re: Best kind of equipment for an 'all-around' approach?
on Jul 29, 2009 at 3:13:28 am

Gord,

Call countryman. Talk to Rosa.

Say HI for me.

Ty

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Gord Stephen
Re: Best kind of equipment for an 'all-around' approach?
on Jul 30, 2009 at 12:50:45 am

Ok, thanks Ty, I will.

Gord


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