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Boom mic on several people

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clyde villegas
Boom mic on several people
on Sep 19, 2014 at 11:10:28 pm

I've always used lav mics when filming. So for two people talking to each other, I use two lavs.

For shotgun on a boom, I've used them only for recording just one person. If I need to capture audio from two (or several people), what should I do:

1) do I just move the mic from one person to another?
2) put the shotgun in the middle?
3) Or should I use several boom mics?

What do audio professionals do? Thanks! God bless!

ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus


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Richard Crowley
Re: Boom mic on several people
on Sep 20, 2014 at 6:46:09 am

Yes, yes, and yes. There is no generic rule that covers all situations. Certainly there could be situations where you can aim a shotgun (or hyper-cardioid) mic BETWEEN two people dialoging and get acceptable coverage. But i other cases it won't work at all.

And much depends on factors like the boom operator, the ambience, the dialog, etc. etc. etc. Way too many variables to make any generic pronouncement.


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clyde villegas
Re: Boom mic on several people
on Sep 20, 2014 at 9:04:49 am

Thanks a lot Richard!

But about my method #3, in your experience, is this done less than methods #1 and 2 when miking two or three people? I feel that I should ONLY do this when two people are too far apart to use just one mic.

This is the reason why I generally use wireless lav mics (I can count on the fingers the projects I've done using shotguns). It's adaptable to more situations. Though I think shotguns mics in general have fuller sound.

ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus


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Richard Crowley
Re: Boom mic on several people
on Sep 20, 2014 at 3:29:57 pm
Last Edited By Richard Crowley on Sep 20, 2014 at 4:16:03 pm

Many old-school audio people prefer the sound of a traditional shotgun to any kind of clip-on microphone. But even fielding ONE good boom operator with decent equipment and proper monitoring, etc. is expensive. Providing MULTIPLE good boom operators with proper equipment, etc. just seems beyond reasonable for most of us, at least IMHO.

Not to mention that modern shooting styles with more mobile cameras and less need for big lighting setups, etc. means that we frequently don't have the luxury of a predictable frame to even know how to position a boom mic, etc.

So much of this depends on exactly what you are shooting and with what resources (budget, personnel, time, equipment), it is almost impossible to discuss this in broad, generic terms.


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David Jones
Re: Boom mic on several people
on Sep 20, 2014 at 7:39:39 pm

As a sound operator, I've generally favored booming...even for sit-down interviews. I'm now directing a documentary film (and acting as my own sound recordist) and doing all the interviews with a hidden lav mic. I'm using the Sankin COS-11D which has the reputation for sounding like a boom mic.

DCJ


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clyde villegas
Re: Boom mic on several people
on Sep 21, 2014 at 8:26:52 am
Last Edited By clyde villegas on Sep 21, 2014 at 8:49:23 am

Thanks Richard! I love how the shotgun sounds but aside from being expensive, they cannot be used on wide shots. The wireless lavs look like they will work on any situation, except for one: run and gun interviews where I can't ask the interviewees to hide the mics in their clothes. Last month, I was hired to shoot interviews of generals in an Asian military show. You can't hold them for more than two minutes, and it's impossible to ask them to put a hidden mic inside their uniforms. We used a Sennheiser ME66/K6 and it was good enough (in terms of gain level with the H4n). Though I still want something more directional to reject more noise from the crowd (is there something more directional than the Sennheiser ME66/K6 at that price range?).

Thanks David for letting me know about the Sankin COS-11D. Will check that out.

ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus


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clyde villegas
Re: Boom mic on several people
on Sep 21, 2014 at 1:57:27 pm

By the way, I remember that the sound assistant turned on the power on the ME66/K6 while the H4n has it's phantom power turned on at +48. Is this the right way of doing it? I know that if you turn on the mic, you need to turn off the H4n's phantom power.

ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus


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Richard Crowley
Re: Boom mic on several people
on Sep 21, 2014 at 2:53:56 pm

In general, it is not recommended to provide phantom power to a microphone operating on its internal battery. Most mics will tolerate that, but some behave badly. Remember also to remove the battery unless you are using the mic daily.


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clyde villegas
Re: Boom mic on several people
on Sep 22, 2014 at 6:05:22 am

I didn't hear anything bad when both are powered. But will that damage the mic or the recorder?

ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus


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Richard Crowley
Re: Boom mic on several people
on Sep 21, 2014 at 2:51:15 pm

How are you doing these "run-n-gun" interviews? Do you have someone on-camera (or off-camera) who is engaging the people and asking them questions? Or are you (presumably the camera operator) doing it yourself? A very common solution to this is to have an interviewer/producer either on-camera or off-camera who interviews the subjects. Then it is easy to have a microphone in their hand which they hold up to the subject to capture perfect audio.

IMHO, modern audiences don't expect the kind of subterfuge of concealing microphones for stand-up interviews. It is perfectly acceptable to see someone holding a microphone to the subject's mouth in order to capture decent audio quality. If the audio is difficult to understand, what is the point of the interview at all? Unless you are showing and commenting on how people are dressed on the red carpet at an awards show, etc, the AUDIO is more important than the video here.


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clyde villegas
Re: Boom mic on several people
on Sep 22, 2014 at 6:23:49 am

The sample from the previous show had no microphone in the shot so I presumed they were using a shotgun mic from a boom. The organizers want it this way so that there's nothing blocking the decorations on the officers' uniforms. But I also agree with you that simply using a handheld mic will solve many problems.

I had someone holding the boom for me as I stood just beside the camera so that the interviewee is looking at me, not directly to the camera.

ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus


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David Jones
Re: Boom mic on several people
on Sep 22, 2014 at 11:00:51 pm

The ideal distance for a boom mic is about 2 feet. If you can't boom from above, you can try booming from below (even doing it handheld).

If you want a better shotgun mic, I'd recommend the Sennheiser MKH-416 or MKH-60, especially if you have to have it further away. There's a reason they cost more than twice as much as the ME-66; they're extremely sensitive and directional.

DCJ


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clyde villegas
Re: Boom mic on several people
on Sep 23, 2014 at 2:02:04 am

Hi David. Thanks for sharing. The MKH416 have so many good reviews that it actually became my dream to have one. Sad that I can't afford it right now.

About the 416 and 60, can they double as an indoor microphone. I was told that there are reflections with most shotgun mics. How do they compare with the ME-66 in terms of reflection? Yes, i know that there's no one mic for all situations. However, since I have very limited budget right now, I would like something that would be somehow multipurpose.

Finally, can the H4n power these microphones with good levels? It's what we have right now.

ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus


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David Jones
Re: Boom mic on several people
on Sep 23, 2014 at 2:43:43 am

If I could have one mic for all situations...lol, it would be the Schoeps 641. I used to have a Schoeps and I used it inside and out (with a blimp and windjammer). It's not cheap but, if you could only get one, that'd be it!

I have used the 416 and 60 inside and it's not as bad as you might think but, you'll most likely get some reflections. It all depends on the size of the room, wether it has carpet and what else is in the room. I haven't used the ME-66 but, it's a shotgun mic and will most likely exhibit the same characteristics.

DCJ


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clyde villegas
Re: Boom mic on several people
on Sep 23, 2014 at 7:49:15 am

Have you used the 416 and 60 with the h4n?

ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus


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David Jones
Re: Boom mic on several people
on Sep 24, 2014 at 10:51:05 pm

I have not used the h4n. I have only used them with mixers, Sound Devices recorders and cameras.

DCJ


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Craig Alan
Re: Boom mic on several people
on Sep 27, 2014 at 3:25:35 pm

[David Jones] "with a blimp and windjammer"

I have one Schoeps 641. Love it. could you give me a link or specific model numbers for the blimp and windjammer. We have a rycote shock mount and the mike is really small so wondering what fits.

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Canon 5D Mark III/70D, Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV40, Sony Z7U/VX2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; FCP X write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Craig Alan
Re: Boom mic on several people
on Sep 27, 2014 at 3:19:05 pm

[David Jones] "all the interviews with a hidden lav mic"

Interested, hidden how?

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Canon 5D Mark III/70D, Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV40, Sony Z7U/VX2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; FCP X write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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David Jones
Re: Boom mic on several people
on Oct 2, 2014 at 11:50:55 pm

I use the Sankin COS 11D with the rubber mount and taupe tape. I mount it on the inside of the person's shirt, in the center about a foot from their mouth.

DCJ


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clyde villegas
Re: Boom mic on several people
on Oct 8, 2014 at 11:48:02 pm

I've used ME66/K6 on the H4n. Power was on in the ME66 and the +48 volt was also on in the H4n. Richard said it may behave badly. Will that damage the shotgun mic and/or the zoom h4n?

ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus


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