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I'd love some advice about an audio setup

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Noam Osband
I'd love some advice about an audio setup
on Apr 28, 2010 at 4:51:42 pm

So, I've decided to make a go for it as a visual anthropologist (I'm a anthropology PhD student who will be shooting a movie for my dissertation), and I've saved up the money to buy my own equipment in the next week or so. Vis-a-vis audio, my thinking is that I'd like a shotgun mic, two wireless lavs, and a sound mixer. I'm thinking of a shotgun attached to the camera and not a boom pole because much, if not most, of the shooting I'll be doing in the near future will be a solo job.

A few questions then:
1 - In looking at a camera, should I only want something with XLR inputs or is something like a Beachtek sufficient if the camera has no XLR inputs

2 - Even if it does have XLR inputs, is an audio mixer a good idea? It seems from speaking with the people I've spoken to that it is.

3 - In many ways, what I buy depends on my budget which isn't yet set. I'm willing to spend a couple thousand on audio if it is that much of a step up from cheaper things, although I'm not planning on buying top of the line. I have no sense for how much better a $1,000 shotgun is from a $500. With that in mind, any recommendation for any of the audio equipment?

In terms of what I'm shooting, I'd like versatility. The longer project/dissertation is a documentary about migration to Arkansas which will include both individual interviews and crowd scenes at events. I'd love to have versatility with my equipment so I feel like I can have a decent chance at getting good sound no matter what I'm shooting.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!!!

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David Jones
Re: I'd love some advice about an audio setup
on Apr 28, 2010 at 7:14:26 pm

Hi Noam,

Sound IS one of those fields where you get what you pay for; ie: a $500 mic is NOT a $1,000 one; there is a difference.

Before buying equipment, you might be better off hiring a sound person who already has their own stuff, and knows what they're doing. This may, though, depend on how may days of shooting you have.

Running audio through a mixer will give you more control but, unless you're doing all sit-down interviews, it may be hard to run a mixer and a camera at the same time. That said, I would recommend the Sound Devices 302 mixer, and the Sennheiser Evolution g3 wireless mics. Don't get anything cheaper, in terms of the wireless mics. And don't forget good headphones; Sony MDR-7506.


Dave J

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Ty Ford
Re: I'd love some advice about an audio setup
on Apr 29, 2010 at 8:04:43 pm

Hello Noam and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum,

David is right on the money as usual. i will add that if you're shooting interiors, you don't want a shotgun and you don't want it on the camera.

1. You (or someone) need to listen to the audio at all times during shooting. Really, ALL THE TIME.

2. If your interviewee is seated and stable (not figiting or rocking) you can use a light stand and boom with fishing rod holder and rig it just out of frame. If not use a wired lav.

3. You want a hypercardioid or supercardioid for interiors. Something like the Audio Technica 4053b, for example.


Ty Ford

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

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