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Human Rights Group trying to decide on a field recording setup

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Darrin Koreman
Human Rights Group trying to decide on a field recording setup
on Oct 12, 2012 at 10:04:15 pm

Hello All,
I know there are a million messages on recording interviews, and I'm parsing through them, but I wanted to enlist your help as we are slightly limited on time.

We are a group that is creating an archive of interviews with witnesses/relatives/victims of human rights abuse, we have a team of non-AV professionals that conduct these, and capture video as well.

The interviews are usually 1-2 hours long, and are between the interviewer and the interviewee, though we sometimes get an extra person chiming in in the middle

We would like the interviews audio to be good enough to splice into future documentaries and research projects.

Our current setup of zoom h2s facing the person contribute too much noise, and render it pretty useless for splicing.

I do not know if it's possible to get decent audio running a lav mic to the h2's mio-in, especially since it would need a Y-adapter to get two omni mics, one going in the left, and the other going in the right channel.

My suggestion was going to be a recorder such as the dr-40, h4n, or the dr-100 along with two phantom powered wired lav mics. It is not crucial for us to not have it visible in the shot, and we cannot afford a boom operator (too much travel to sometimes dangerous areas)

Our budget is a little flexible, but I wanted to keep it under $120 per mic, though ideally, they would be around the $60 mark. Vampire clips would be a plus.

ps. Is there a way to have it so that there is an extra mic recording the room for unexpected people chiming in, or in cases where are two interviewees and we want to interviewer for information purpose? I know some recorders will multitrack internal and external mics, but I also heard that causes a lot of noise.

Thanks a lot for the suggestions!


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Darrin Koreman
Re: Human Rights Group trying to decide on a field recording setup
on Oct 13, 2012 at 11:32:26 pm

As the interviews go on for quite a bit, would it better to get a mic with a battery inline and turn off phantom power?


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David C Jones
Re: Human Rights Group trying to decide on a field recording setup
on Oct 14, 2012 at 4:10:18 pm

Hi Darrin,

In terms of getting good sound, mic placement and environment are more important than what recorder you use.

In general, any mic you use shouldn't be more than 2 feet away from the interviewee's mouth. And you want to be in a room (or place) where there is little or no noise ie: others talking, air conditioners, motors running, traffic, etc.

What type of mic you use really depends on where you'll be conducting the interviews. Your budget is very limiting as even a basic hand-held mic like the ElectroVoice 635 is over a $100 dollars (a good rugged all-purpose mic, I might add). Lav mics will cost more but can also be better at rejecting background noise, esp. one with a cardioid pattern. You might look at used gear as it will serve you as good as something new and cost less.

Dave J


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