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Type of mic for one on one interviews?

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Ingo Weigold
Type of mic for one on one interviews?
on Jun 1, 2012 at 8:15:28 pm

Can anyone suggest a microphone or type of microphone for recording one on one interviews with audio only. The setting would likely be sitting at a table or couches with microphones on a desk or coffee table recording a casual conversation.


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Richard Crowley
Re: Type of mic for one on one interviews?
on Jun 1, 2012 at 10:52:53 pm

Not clear whether you are talking about a microphone just for the interview subject, or a single microphone to be used for both interviewer and subject? Also not clear whether you are shooting video and whether the mic visible in the shot is acceptable or not?

1) It may be possible to find a microphone such as a (relatively exotic) figure-8 microphone that can be placed on a table with interviewer and subject on opposite sides facing each other. But this typically requires constant vigilence to be sure that both people remain within the working distance (no more than 18 inches) from the microphone. I wouldn't recommend this for a beginner.

2) I can't think of anything you could place on a coffee table and expect to get decent sound from someone on a couch. Way too far away. Unless you are talking about "transcription grade" audio where the only purpose is to transcribe the speech into written word (i.e. nobody is going to hear the recording)

The time-proven methods of doing this kind of interview is one of these options:

1) Use a sensitive hyper-cardioid (indoors) or "shotgun" (outdoors) microphone on a boom which is kept aimed at the subject's mouth. The reasonable working distance is rarely greater than 2-3 feet depending on how loud the subject talks and the acoustics of the room and the ambient noise and how good the microphone is (sensitivity and self-noise, etc.) If the subject and the interviewer are close enough together, and if there is little incidence of talking over each other, it is possible for a good boom operator to use the same mic for both the interviewer and the subject. If you are using the mic for only one person (the subject, typically), and the subject is not moving, it is reasonable to put the microphone on a boom stand. But if you are using the mic for both subject and interviewer, or if the subject is moving around, you really need a skilled boom operator with headphones to monitor the microphone signal.

2) The interviewer can use a hand-held "stick mic" and hold it up to the subject's mouth when they are speaking, or bring it back to their mouth when they are speaking. Again, it is possible to get good results with this method as long as the interviewer remembers to ALWAYS hold the mic close to the mouth of whomever is speaking. Note that most amateur interviewers quickly forget to do this and ruin the audio.

3a) Use a clip-on lavaliere microphone on the subject. Although most professional production sound people prefer the sound of a good boom mic (hyper or shotgun), the clip-on is the most sure-fire way for someone with limited experience and/or resources to get decent results. It is highly unlikely that you could expect to get decent sound from a single clip-on lav mic shared by both the subject and the interviewer. The interviewer needs their own microphone if the sound of the questions is important for the production. (Some styles edit out the interviewer and use only the subject's dialog.)

3b) A variant of the clip-on lav is a "headset mic" which clips around the back of the head and rests on the ears (like a pair of eyeglasses worn backwards).


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Ingo Weigold
Re: Type of mic for one on one interviews?
on Jun 2, 2012 at 1:53:08 am

Thank you for the feedback on this, I already have two Shure clip on wireless mics but was considering something more boom like. So for your suggestion two shotgun mics pointed respectively at the interviewer and subject would get the job done?


Oh and as far as how many mics, one for each subject. For this purpose it would be audio only but could also be video down the road.


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Richard Crowley
Re: Type of mic for one on one interviews?
on Jun 2, 2012 at 3:48:00 am

I already have two Shure clip on wireless mics but was considering something more boom like.

Why? What are you trying to accomplish? Is there some problem you are trying to fix?

So for your suggestion two shotgun mics pointed respectively at the interviewer and subject would get the job done?

1) I never suggested two shotgun mics. It is very rare to see two shotgun mics except on larger scale cine/video productions. Again, I have to wonder what you are trying to achieve by replacing your clip-on lavs (wireless or not) with shotgun(s)?

2) You never confirmed indoors vs. outdoors (or any of the other clarifying questions). But if this is indoors, you won't find much favor for shotguns. There are typically too many close reflections indoors to permit shotgun mics to work properly. Please review my response where I mentioned hypercardioid mics for use indoors.


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Ingo Weigold
Re: Type of mic for one on one interviews?
on Jun 4, 2012 at 2:55:39 pm

1) The mobile recorded we have has XLR inputs which would allow me to use microphones that don't need AC power like the clip on Lavs making the set up truly mobile.


2)Sorry, the interviews would likely all be indoors


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Richard Crowley
Re: Type of mic for one on one interviews?
on Jun 5, 2012 at 2:00:03 am

What kind of clip-on lavs require AC power? I've never heard of such a thing.


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Ingo Weigold
Re: Type of mic for one on one interviews?
on Jun 5, 2012 at 2:04:27 am

They are wireless shure PG81's. I think we have figured out the problem from reading these forums and some of your responses.
Thank you again for all your input.


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Jordan Wolf
Re: Type of mic for one on one interviews?
on Jun 5, 2012 at 4:20:22 am

Ingo,

The PG81 is an instrument microphone that requires a mic clip and some sort of stand. I think you have your model number wrong.

In this situation, I would like to see each person with a lavalier microphone. They would be sent through a mixer and the mixperson would ensure that their relative levels are maintained for the recording.

If there isn't a mixperson available, you could use an automatic mixer like the Shure SCM410 (with some adjustments to the default settings) or just record each person straight through and edit the cuts in post-production.

If you've found your solution, good. If not, keep asking questions. Actually, even if you HAVE found your solution, keep asking questions. :-)

Wolf
<><


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Ingo Weigold
Re: Type of mic for one on one interviews?
on Jun 5, 2012 at 3:39:01 pm

Sorry you are right, we have the PG188/185 dual wireless set.


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Craig Alan
Re: Type of mic for one on one interviews?
on Jun 5, 2012 at 4:38:22 am

No matter what type of mike you use the basic physics is the same. They need to be close and directed at the speaker's mouth. A major variable is the talent. If the talent knows how to use a mike that helps a lot. If this is run and gun and not professional/experienced talent then I would go with the clip on lavs. With those you can experiment with where to place them and basic settings. Then when you actually use them in the field you can adjust the levels to the speaker.

Booms require a boom pole operator for each mike. This is a difficult job that requires skill. For an interview I do not see the point unless its in a crowded news event and you do not have a feed from the mike stand.

MacPro4,1 2.66GHz 8 core 12gigs of ram. GPU: Nvidia Geoforce GT120 with Vram 512. OS X 10.6.x; Camcorders: Panasonic AG-HPX170, Sony Z7U, Canon HV30/40, Sony vx2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Ingo Weigold
Re: Type of mic for one on one interviews?
on Jun 2, 2012 at 2:02:25 am

duplicate


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Richard Crowley
Re: Type of mic for one on one interviews?
on Jun 5, 2012 at 5:42:10 pm

The Shure PG88 Dual Wireless Receiver runs on "12-18V DC". That means you can operate it from battery power. No power mains AC required. Dunno why you would want to fool around with inferior substitutes when you have a perfectly good pair of wireless clip-on lavs? Doesn't make any sense to me. Unless there is some other factor not disclosed here?


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Ingo Weigold
Re: Type of mic for one on one interviews?
on Jun 5, 2012 at 6:14:54 pm

Hmm, is there a link to a battery to be used with this receiver?


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Richard Crowley
Re: Type of mic for one on one interviews?
on Jun 5, 2012 at 7:53:47 pm

We don't know what other equipment you are using? Are you using other professional equipment that operates on external 12V battery? You can get/make a simple cable to go from your 12V source to the receiver.

If you don't already have a 12V source, you could use anything that provides 12-15V. Like a car or motorcycle battery, or a couple of battery holders from Radio Shack or a pair of "lantern batteries". We don't know enough about your situation to make any more specific recommendations. Where are you shooting that has a couch and a coffee table but not power?


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Ingo Weigold
Re: Type of mic for one on one interviews?
on Jun 5, 2012 at 8:32:43 pm

Hi Richard,

Sorry I need to be more specific, this would be the full set up

Two mics
One Interviewer
One Interviewee
One Zoom H4N for audio recording

The setting could be couches but also places like an MMA gym or training facility. The reason I don't want to rely on "plug-in" power is for ease of use. Nothing worse than going somewhere on a shoot or interview to find out you need power when there is none available.

Hope this makes sense, and again, thank you for your input.


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Richard Crowley
Re: Type of mic for one on one interviews?
on Jun 6, 2012 at 12:34:18 am

The preferred solution would be to use "ENG style" wireless receivers which are typically around the size of the belt-pack transmitters. But if you want to use that Shure dual receiver for portable use, here is what I would do:

Get two of these battery clips from Radio Shack:
http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062253
each holds four AA cells (each adds up to 6V).

I would get a power connector also from Radio Shack that fits your receiver. You will have to use their sample plugs to select the correct one for your gear.

I would wire the battery packs in series (to produce 12V) and connect that plug so it powers the receiver.

Note that you can get a cable that plugs into the power plug if you don't want to solder directly to the power plug. http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3807941

I would use self-stick velcro strips to fasten the battery packs onto the receiver. That makes it into a portable unit (although a bit of a kludge).


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Ingo Weigold
Re: Type of mic for one on one interviews?
on Jun 7, 2012 at 3:40:22 pm

Thank you, this sounds just about DIY enough for me to give it a shot :)


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