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Audio for intense, varied run-and-gun 9 month trip.

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Nick Broad
Audio for intense, varied run-and-gun 9 month trip.
on May 18, 2011 at 6:51:26 pm

I'm filming an intense RTW indie doc with two others. Lots of different situations (we're filming street artists). So, in one week we filmed a sidewalk magician, went to a small garden in a slum to film about 20 kids singing and playing the drums, filmed an interview in front of a packed train station, did indoor interviews in offices (one and two people), and went through a Rajasthani theme park full of strange and wonderful sounds (mainly staged 360º acts with drums and stringed instruments). We're filming on boats and balconies, sometimes one person, sometimes 20, sometimes staged, mostly run-and-gun. Wahey!

Audio is difficult, as is time, manpower and space. But I know I have a little more strength in my legs, and a massive area to improve in getting good sound. So although we're carrying 9 months of equipment and clothing on our backs and fronts, I would like to get more audio kit. Still, as little as we can!

3 people with no audio experience
3 cameras (the HM100 and two rebel t2i/550d's). If absolutely necessary, we could turn one of them off and have one of us solely focus on audio.
2 tripods (perhaps we could free someone up for audio by putting a stationary cam on a tripod).
A wireless mic Sennheiser thingy
DXA SLR mixer (we've used this once in 2 1/2 months, attached to a DSLR)
The Zoom h2
The HM100's near-useless shotgun mic

The HM100 has "dual mike inputs with professional grade XLR connectors and a full range of manual audio level and mixing control".

After seven billion months of research and fundraising, I'm now ready (and in Singapore where everything is cheap) to buy. This post seems to have a good general list of what we need. Here's what we have, what we're lacking, and some questions:

Shotgun, hyper cardioid or cardioid microphone?
A shotgun (the MKH 416) looks good, but without any experience, are we going to miss sound because of the phasing when it is off axis? Okay, I used the word phasing, but I'm only half sure that means "getting quiet". Also, perhaps considering the craziness of our shoots, a shotgun wouldn't be as desirable as a cardioid mic?

Microphone mount
The HM100 comes with a microphone mount on it, but it's too big. If I want to stick the mic to the camera, how can I make the camera's mount smaller? Wrap the microphone base in gaffer tape, like the dodgy man in the shop suggested?
$40.00 to $200.00

Boom Pole
I know you're going to say yes, but is this absolutely necessary? It has many downsides: requires continual attention, is big and heavy in our bags, needs skilled use, attracts attention (we often don't have permits), intimidates the talent (street performers)...
$150.00 to $900.00

Again, absolutely necessary?
$350.00 to $400.00

Um…totally necessary? If we get the zeppelin as well?!
$100.00 to $250.00

Wired lavalieres (2)
We already have a wireless one, Sennheiser thingy. And there have been times when I've thought we could really do with a second one. But do we need another one?
$250.00 to $500.00

Two channel mixer
I assume that's the thing that comes with the HM100. But we also have the DXA-SLR in case we need to attach the DSLRs to the audio
$650.00 to $900.00

XLR adaptor (Beachtek or Studio One)
I don't know what this is, or why it is used
$180.00 to $230.00

Mixer harness
$225.00 to $225.00
I don't know what this is, either

Cables, accessories
$200.00 to $1,000.00
What? Are the dead cats wearing diamond-studded earrings??

Audio cases and/or bags
$200.00 to $500.00
We have bags. They're not "audio cases" but they are bags. We'll find a way of padding them for the mics. Or is that way too stupid of us? Even if we're careful?

If we get a shotgun mic, and you convince me I shouldn't carry it on a camera, but put it on a boom, then our only choice is to put one of the cameras on a tripod and leave it there, while someone holds the boom with the shotgun, and does the audio themselves. That camera could also be connected to the microphone. So, we'll need a long cable. But that sucks. What about having the audio person wear an audio bag with the zoom h2 in it, and just wire the microphone into that instead? (It doesn't have XLR cable holes).

Thanks all for your time.

Mac OSx 10.5, Mac OSX 10.6, FCP 6
HM100, EOS REBEL/550d

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Andy Balla
Re: Audio for intense, varied run-and-gun 9 month trip.
on May 19, 2011 at 3:06:39 am

Just forget all of that other stuff and hire me!

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