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microphone for indoor interviews--lav?boom? wired? wireless?

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Nicole Ford
microphone for indoor interviews--lav?boom? wired? wireless?
on Jun 18, 2011 at 8:31:53 pm

Hi,
I will be doing video biographies/oral history recordings and want to make sure to purchase the right audio for it. I have an hv20 and definitely need good mics. I also have a Juiced Link with phantom power, but am considering returning it if I can figure out an audio combo that works without phantom power.

I will be doing interviews inside people's homes and my clients will be mostly retired.
Based on reading in this forum,and a couple others it sounds like I should purchase a shotgun mic and a lav.

I am looking at ntg-2 or AT 897 since both can be battery operated or phantom power.

Do I really need a shotgun if all my interviews are seated or indoors? I am willing to invest $500-700+ for good audio. (esp. if return juiced link). Should I consider investing in a wired/ wireless lav system ? I am considering AT899 or even a more expensive Senheisser system if it would be beneficial.(I think I can attach a mic into the Sen. system)

I have watched Ty's tutorial on shotgun/lav uses. I've been researching this for awhile and need some professional advice.
Thanks,
Nicole


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Bill Davis
Re: microphone for indoor interviews--lav?boom? wired? wireless?
on Jun 18, 2011 at 10:44:03 pm

Nichole,

Unless there is a NEED to hide wires - a simple wired lavillier is the BEST method of recording sound for a sit-down interview. The proximity of the mic to the sound source (speaker's mouth) keeps the signal to noise ratio robust.

The largest issue you'll be facing is that like most small camcorders, the HV-20 appears to accept unbalanced audio only.

Unbalanced (two-wire) microphones are prone to RF noise pickup - so RF producing fluorescent lamp ballasts and motors such as those found in household refrigerators, aquariums and other common products may create unwanted electrical noise that infects your sound.

Wireless mics are often less noisy - but compromise sound quality themselves in that inexpensive rigs typically don't produce very good sound and you're paying more for convenience than you are for performance.

A wired balanced lav mic is likely your best approach coupled with an inexpensive camera mounted transformer to adapt the balanced mic feed to the unbalanced signal your camera wants to see.

Beachtek, Studio One, and other reliable manufacturers have adaptor boxes specifically designed to solve this issue. They connect to the camcorder with a very short, shielded connection, and from them - you run a inexpensive balanced microphone cable to a balanced microphone.

Specifically, I'd start with something like a Sony ECM-44b mic - into a common XLR microphone cable available from any music store on the planet - to the adaptor box mounted between your tripod and your camcorder.

That would be within your budget. Create very good quality recordings. And be simple and easy to set up and operate.

Let us know how things come out.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Conner


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Nicole Ford
Re: microphone for indoor interviews--lav?boom? wired? wireless?
on Jun 18, 2011 at 11:59:03 pm

Thanks for the reply Bill,
I appreciate the thoughtful and detailed advice. I do have a Juiced Link, which is like the Beachtek. I haven't heard of the Sony EF 44b but it has good reviews on B & H. Would you advise this above the AT899 lav? They both look like they can take battery or phantom power, which is good. It sounds like I should keep the Juiced Link to make sure to get rid of possible hum from the camera, lights etc., to balance the audio, and for better audio monitoring. (The only problem is the connection between the HV20 and Juiced Link is a bit wobbly--maybe I need to look into another adapter)

Some people recommend having a backup boom mic. I have some concern about using a boom indoors because of reflective surfaces etc. -- however the NTG-3, NTg-2 and AT897 sounded good on some tests I heard. Any thoughts on these?
Thanks again.
Nicole


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Bill Davis
Re: microphone for indoor interviews--lav?boom? wired? wireless?
on Jun 19, 2011 at 4:46:54 am

Nichole,

The mic is NOT critical in this class. Either choice - among many others - will do perfectly well. Recording the human voice is nowhere nearly as complex as recording, for example, a typical musical instrument. So don't stress about the "ideal" mic. Just get an affordable one from a major manufacturer. Sony, Shure, Audio Technica, AKG, and many others will do fine.

The JuicedLink should do fine.

As to a boom mic - the typical benefit is that they provide a sense of "live space" to a recording. In a movie, where a largely carpeted and softly furnished bedroom should sound acoustically different than a largely hard surfaced kitchen - the boom sound makes sense.

In a sit down interview, the space is extremely unimportant compared to the subjects voice.

A boom only makes sense if you have multiple interviews in a short time since it will save you time in lav rigging.

Outside that, save the boom for making movies.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Conner


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