FORUMS: list search recent posts

right mic for the job

COW Forums : Audio Professionals

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
Heather Walters
right mic for the job
on Feb 15, 2010 at 6:42:59 pm

I have to shoot a commercial with an actress and while I have been looking at lavalier mics (I narrowed it down to TramTR50, Audio Technica AT899 and Voice Technoloiges VT-500) now I am wondering if I shouldn't go for a shotgun mic. I am using a sony pmw ex3 with xlr connectors and our price point is no more than $300. Would it be better for me to try a shotgun mic so we'd have a more "general purpose" mic or just stick with a lav? And if I need to go with a shotgun mic, any suggestions as to brand/model?


Return to posts index

Heather Walters
Re: right mic for the job
on Feb 15, 2010 at 6:56:42 pm

Ok now I have to backtrack. My boss just informed me that lavalier mics suck and I am required to use a boom mic. So I guess my whole question is now moot!


Return to posts index

Will Salley
Re: right mic for the job
on Feb 15, 2010 at 9:03:45 pm

[Heather Walters] "My boss just informed me that lavalier mics suck"

Tell us how your boss really feels!

Seriously, lav mics suck no more than any other mic. They just have specific uses that other type mics simply cannot match. If your on-camera talent is walking around a wide framed shot with a lot of headroom, you have no choice but to use a lav mic. On the other hand, if your shots are in multiple locations that may not allow for a boom pole being wielded around, again, you have no choice but to use a lav.

An overhead boom mic usually does provide a more natural, "open" sounding track, but if your situation means you can't get within about 18-24 inches of the talents mouth (using the appropriate mic pattern), again, you may be better off using a lav.

Also consider this, when utilizing a boom, you need a boom operator, or a really good sound man to be able to handle the mixer and the boom at the same time. Either way, you're going to spend a whole lot more than your $300 budget in crew fees.

DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE IMPORTANCE OF GOOD SOUND.
Bad sound or sound issues can blow a budget and get people fired.

I would suggest you go split-track. Record a boom on one track and record a lav on another. That way, you can mix between them for the best result.

And lastly, there are very few decent boom mics for $300 although someone here may be able to suggest something in that range - from their own experience.

P.S. - Have your boss read this!




Mac Pro 2x2.8 Quadcore - 10.6.2 - QT 7.6.3 - 22 GB RAM - nvidia8800GT - SATA internal & external storage - Blackmagic Multibridge Pro - Open GL 1.5.10 - Wacom Intous2 tablet - AJA io
SONY XDCAM EX3 - Letus Elite


Return to posts index


Heather Walters
Re: right mic for the job
on Feb 15, 2010 at 9:16:02 pm

Thanks so much for your quick response! I will be using a boom mic as I was told that a lav is completely out of the question, and that the mic MUST be boom-mounted. There will be no one to hold the boom, and they will hire no sound man. So I will have to use a shotgun mic, mounted on a tripod stand boom that the actress will stand under. I also will have to record the audio directly into our EX3. I am going to choose the Audio Technica AT875R (with some cabling, tripod boom stand and mic clip), which apparently stands up really well against its much more expensive counterparts, or so I've read. I hope, with what I have to work with, that this is going to be my best solution.


Return to posts index

Richard Crowley
Re: right mic for the job
on Feb 16, 2010 at 12:05:14 am

Making a logical decision about using a shotgun vs. lav really needs a lot more information than we know about here. Shotguns "really suck" for exactly the same reason that lavs "really suck", but just under different conditions and applications.

In particular I don't recall that you mentioned whether this is outdoors or inside? Shotgun mics are NOT the choice of most sound professionals when shooting indoors. Unless you are in a very large studio with treatment for reducing reflections, a hypercardioid is virtually always the preferred pattern vs. any kind of shotgun mic. Nearby reflections from walls, floor, ceiling will make most shotgun mics sound like a $10 toy from Radio Shack.

I haven't read anything here that actually suggests that a lav is NOT the right microphone for your shoot (except the prejudice of your boss). Now if your boss is an experienced sound person, then your should certainly trust his/her evaluation of the situation. But if it is just a blanket generic statement, it doesn't hold water.

If this is really important, and on a low budget, you should consider renting the proper mic for the job.


Return to posts index

Ty Ford
Re: right mic for the job
on Feb 16, 2010 at 3:50:19 am

Hello Heather and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

Will and Richard have given you good advice. There is no way to tell which mic may be best. These decisions are normally made on site by a professional location audio person with a mixer and a choice of mics.

Your boss is right in a general sort of way, but not all boom mics are alike. The 875R is a good mic for the price. It is not the mic of choice for an professional location audio pro.

Given what I've seen here, my best advice would be to hire a professional audio person and allow them to do the job correctly if this job is important to you. Among other things, fact that you have not mentioned the use of a mixer tells me that you are not adequately prepared for this job. Making audio sound natural is not trivial.

Regards,

Ty Ford



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






Return to posts index


Steve Kownacki
Re: right mic for the job
on Feb 18, 2010 at 12:07:04 am

[Heather Walters] "My boss just informed me that lavalier mics suck and I am required to use a boom mic."

Sorry for joining the party so late, but I'd ask why he thinks they suck. Maybe it's because he simply doesn't want to see a mic. There are plenty of tricks that soundpeople use to hide lav mics and still get great sound.

I'm on the bandwagon for renting mics in your situation.

Steve

Steve



Jump to the FFP Website



View Steve Kownacki's profile on LinkedIn




Return to posts index

Alan Lloyd
Re: right mic for the job
on Feb 16, 2010 at 1:56:58 pm

For your budget I think you're better off renting for the gig.


Return to posts index

Heather Walters
Re: right mic for the job
on Feb 16, 2010 at 3:31:03 pm

Thank you all for your good, sound advice. I would love to take it. My boss is the one insisting that a boom mic is what we will be purchasing and he does not believe we need a mixer, a boom operator, a sound tech, rentals, or anything that would make this shoot better audio-wise. Until yesterday I didn't even know about cardioid, omnidirectional, etc, that is how unqualified I am to do sound. Neither one of us do, but this is how he wants it done. (by the way, the commercial will be shot indoors, inside our conference room. The actress will speak in front of a greenscreen, so no worries about scenery at all. I'm going to try to talk him into at least putting up some egg crate on the walls or something). He wants to buy the shotgun as it's more versatile than a lav, I guess. I posted the question before I found out his final word. It was my bad. Given all of my restrictions, I understand I'll probably have off-axis noise (humming of the lights overhead, building noises, etc) and the actress's voice won't be true, correct? Does anyone know of some basic tutorials on the internet where I can find maybe "how to bring up bass in voice, how to reduce hiss on a track" kind of stuff? I know I'm going to run into problems, I am just wondering where someone can point me right now so I can be more prepared for it when I go into post. I will be using Sony Vegas Pro 9 in post. (Yep, no standalone audio programs either. This commercial is kind of a one time deal for us. Our other commercials generally have no audio whatsoever, or there is a music track playing. Not sure why we're buying a mic and greenscreen instead of renting and hiring a sound person, since this is not our usual workflow, but I'm not the decision maker.)


Return to posts index


Ty Ford
Re: right mic for the job
on Feb 16, 2010 at 4:08:23 pm

Hey there Heather,

Great, so you can be the one to say, "I told you so." :)

Given your description of your boss, that'll probably guarantee you a new job.

There really is nothing I can offer at this point. "A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest." -- Paul Simon

The other aspects of your inquiry require way more space and time than this forum allows. Especially since, he'll not likely take any advice anyway.

Regards,

Ty Ford


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






Return to posts index

Heather Walters
Re: right mic for the job
on Feb 16, 2010 at 4:13:53 pm

Ok, thanks anyways for your time and advice!


Return to posts index

Ty Ford
Re: right mic for the job
on Feb 16, 2010 at 4:30:43 pm

Heather,

for your personal consumption..and not his.

http://web.mac.com/tyreeford/Site/Ty_Ford_Audio_Bootcamp_Field_Guide.html

Regards,

Ty

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






Return to posts index


Alan Lloyd
Re: right mic for the job
on Feb 16, 2010 at 6:35:21 pm

While I'm not familiar with your editing software (haven't got the Vegas idea - where's my rimshot?) Vegas is the video cousin of Sonic Foundry, and ought to have good EQ capabilities in its audio section. Boosting lows and getting rid of hiss are fairly basic operations.

I know someone who works for Sonic Foundry, so if you really get stuck maybe I can ask him a question or two, though I'd think EQ-ing a voice track is pretty basic stuff.

And frankly, your boss is being rather silly - there are boompoles alone that cost over $300. Renting for a one-time thing makes far, far more sense than buying something that isn't even really designed to do what he's asking you to do.


Return to posts index

Heather Walters
Re: right mic for the job
on Feb 16, 2010 at 7:19:26 pm

Thank you, I had heard that Sony Vegas was fairly capable for NLEs with its audio (just don't really know how to use anything other than basic EQ sliders on it). In defense of my boss, I think he wants eventually for us to really build our own studio in the future, a bit at a time, with me being the one in charge of all the studio work. I am just beginning to get a handle on the video side of it. I think he knows that we would really have a long way to go, both with me learning the audio skills, and audio equipment that we would add down the line. I'm pretty sure he doesn't know any more than me about audio at this point, but I believe he is just trying to get the check writer to approve as much equipment as he can for us so that we do everything "in-house" as opposed to renting and hiring outside help (which is the unofficial policy of our parent company).


Return to posts index

Bill Davis
Re: right mic for the job
on Feb 16, 2010 at 7:36:14 pm

Not that it will make any difference...

But you might try to help you boss understand all of this by telling him that buying a scalpel does NOT make someone a surgeon. And he would NEVER ALLOW someone to cut on him that didn't understand that basic concept that tools are tools - but what produces good surgical results are PEOPLE (doctors) with the training and experience to know how to use the tools to drive results.

Clearly, no one in your organization actually understands how to use these tools - clearly demonstrated by his quite ignorant comment about lavs verses boom mics. So any money you spend on equipment is a crapshoot.

Listen, nod and learn. But also prepare yourself to move on. This boss is NOT going to help you learn how to practice your craft intelligently - simply because he obviously has little practical experience in this stuff himself.

Good luck.





Return to posts index


Rob Neidig
Re: right mic for the job
on Feb 16, 2010 at 9:57:28 pm

Heather,

I feel for you. You are in a tough situation. Here is one final? attempt to provide some info for your boss.

This is a list of the gear that a "typical" pro sound person would bring to the gig. I've used industry standard brands here, though there are others in use. The prices, which are off the top of my head but should be pretty close, would be similar.

Sound Devices 442 mixer with case, cables ,etc. $3000
Sennheiser MKH416P48 short shotgun $1200
Schoeps CMC-641 hypercardioid mic $2000
Lectrosonics wireless lavalier mic systems (2 of them @ $2500 each) $5000
K-tek boom pole with shock mount, pistol grip, etc. $700
Sony MDR-7506 headphones $100

We're already at $12,000 worth of gear, and that does not even include things like sound blankets, stands, specialty mounts, handheld mics, additional cables, battery distribution systems to run the whole shooting match, etc.

Not to mention years of experience in how to use it properly to get professional sound.

So if your boss would like to set up your office with sound gear, he can go spend $12,000 to $15,000. Or he could hire a sound pro for the day of the shoot.

Just saying...

Rob



Rob Neidig
R&R Media Productions
Eugene, Oregon


Return to posts index

Bob Cole
Re: right mic for the job
on Feb 21, 2010 at 1:03:43 pm

[Heather Walters] "The actress will speak in front of a greenscreen, so no worries about scenery at all."

I know this isn't the appropriate forum for this, but if you haven't done much greenscreen work, that will be another issue. You may want to search some other forums about how to execute a chroma key shot.

You're not alone by any means. As video cameras and editing systems have come down in price, lots of companies have started "in-sourcing" their production work. Your EX3 camera is a magnificent machine for creating images, and nobody will be able to tell what computer/software you're using to edit. But audio tools are a whole different story. Your boss may not notice any inadequacies; you may be lucky in terms of the audio environment; and a cheap mic, direct into the camera, may work.

But if success is absolutely critical, hiring a sound recordist is an extremely business-like and rational thing to do -- CERTAINLY the first time. Rarely do sound recordists use all $12000-up in their kit on a shoot - but you'll be able to observe WHICH tools are appropriate for your "studio" and your blocking, THEN buy more appropriately. The most essential tool in the whole kit may turn out to be the sound blankets, and they're cheap. The knowledge you and your company will gain: priceless.

In a few months, maybe you'll get sick of this company, become a freelancer like many of us, and start wondering why so many companies are in-sourcing their video/audio work.

Please let us know how it turns out. Good luck.

Bob C


Return to posts index

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
© 2017 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]