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Best Mic / Recorder Combo for Small Groups

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Max Gurel
Best Mic / Recorder Combo for Small Groups
on Dec 6, 2013 at 5:43:16 pm

I have been reading extensively on this forum and found an awesome amount of useful information, but not exactly what I need.

I'm a video person and I'm starting a job where I'll be shooting mostly interviews.
I don't have any experience recording more than 2 audio channels, so I need your help.
I already have a Rode Videomic Pro as a backup shotgun mic.

I need to be able to record sound from 2 to 4 people in wildly varying indoor environments.

I have a flexible budget of $1,000 for a recorder and microphones, and I'll be using two cameras.

I'm leaning towards the Tascam 60D as a recorder, but I'm not sure exactly how to record 4 separate tracks from 4 microphones.

I can't afford 4 wireless lavs, and I can't even afford 4 quality wired lavs (right?)

Is there a practical way to use a single wireless (like Sennheiser G3) system with 2 mics? with a single omni mic?

I realize that I could use 2 boundary mics, but I don't want to limit myself to tables/indoors.


I know that I should spend more money. I know that I should hire a sound professional. I can't right now.

I appreciate any input,
- Max


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Bill Davis
Re: Best Mic / Recorder Combo for Small Groups
on Dec 7, 2013 at 9:26:16 pm
Last Edited By Bill Davis on Dec 7, 2013 at 9:28:42 pm

If you're going to record a single setting with multiple open mics - and mix the result together into a single project - you'd go yourself a favor to google "comb filtering" and become very familiar with the concepts you'll find there.

Overall, the distance between your mics and the sound sources - and the ratio of those to the distances between multiple open mics - is kinda important.

Studying up on this stuff will save you an immense amount of grief over your learning curve.

Good luck.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Ty Ford
Re: Best Mic / Recorder Combo for Small Groups
on Dec 8, 2013 at 12:09:42 am

Hello Max and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

On any number of occasions, I have counseled producers with whom I'm working that X or Y won't work and can't be fixed in post.

You say wildly varying indoor environments. Like what? Perhaps you should consider choosing environments that are not so challenging. Why try to fly in the face of physics? Rethinking your location choices will improve the potential quality of your productions.

Shooting an interview with four people. A bad idea with one camera in any case. Panning, focusing and reframing is not likely to result in an attractive video timeline. What will work better will be to break the interviews up into "two shots", where two people may be interviewed. That's something that most cameras can handle. But even then, care has to be taken so the person not responding to a question isn't just hung out to dry until it's their turn.

The TASCAM DR-60D has four inputs; two balanced and two unbalanced. You could shoot an interview with four inputs and or tracks with four mics and then spend a lot of time in post ducking the tracks of everyone who isn't talking at the moment.

I just had these choices to consider last week. EIght people, three cameras - master shot and two angled cameras. We used two people on booms each one feeding one camera and each one covering four of the eight people. In your case, you could use a stationary boom on one-person interviews and manually operated boom on 2, 3 and 4 people.

Regards,

Ty Ford
Cow Audio Forum Leader

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


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Max Gurel
Re: Best Mic / Recorder Combo for Small Groups
on Dec 9, 2013 at 3:23:06 am

Thanks for the input, to clarify:

I'll be using two cameras 90% of the time, with a 3rd and 4th camera as necessary.

As for the 'wildly varying' environments, I'll be working in many different people's homes, and for the larger groups (4+) we will obviously try to find the best location we can, but with very limited time and options.

I like the idea of using 1-2 boom mics, but I'm concerned about sound quality from a boom mic in varying indoor settings, I just don't have experience with that because when I've worked indoors I've encountered too much echo / background noise and used lavalieres instead. (never worked with more than two subjects.)

Is a single, more cardioid microphone like a (Blue Yeti price range) an option for useable sound from a group? (I'm thinking of hanging it above and in front of them) I just have no concept for how that would compare to the room noise / echo from a shotgun microphone on a boom.

And one last little question: The Tascam has 2 balanced inputs and a single, stereo 3.5mm input. To record from 4 sources can I use a simple splitter on the 3.5mm jack?

Thanks again for the help!
- Max


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Ty Ford
Re: Best Mic / Recorder Combo for Small Groups
on Dec 9, 2013 at 5:31:13 am

Max,

No. for home and office interiors you want a super cardioid like a Audio Technica 4053b or Audix SCX-1HC.

You can use a splitter but there's no way to control the volume unless you have that before the splitter.

Regards,

Ty Ford
Cow Audio Forum Leader

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


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Craig Alan
Re: Best Mic / Recorder Combo for Small Groups
on Dec 12, 2013 at 6:09:50 am

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/967366-REG/zoom_h6_handy_audio_record...

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/513775-REG/Countryman_B3P5FF05B_B3_Om...

together comes a bit over$1000. These guys can probably recommend a cheaper lav that works good.

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Camcorders: Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV30/40, Sony Z7U, VX2000, PD170; FCP 6 certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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