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Which microphone to use for sit down interviews?

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Jeff Mcbride
Which microphone to use for sit down interviews?
on Jul 6, 2015 at 3:07:03 am

I am doing interviews with local craft brewers and people in the industry and am on a very small budget even using my Samsung galaxy s3 as my video source. The video quality of my Samsung is actually quite good considering I'm shooting 1080p. Obviously the sound quality is horrible and I need an external mic. I was wondering if the Rode VideoMic GO (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=&sku=1012003&gclid=CjwKEAjwq-OsBRDd95aryprR9wQSJACQnU3GoKkI1dA96Z6FamMkQEaMifBl4aM_ADiHgPym_7tWvBoC-KLw_wcB&is=REG&m=Y&A=details&Q=) would work for this purpose? I also found the takstar sgc598 (http://www.amazon.com/SGC-598-Photography-Interview-Shotgun-Microphone/dp/B00HE9G3UQ/ref=cm_cr_pr_sims_t/189-5680139-4620943) which is much cheaper with a LOT of good reviews, but obviously not as good on sound quality. To get an idea of what I'm shooting, please look at this video (don't cringe when you hear the audio, it's horrible):



. I currently have a cheap wireless lav mic but it only works for one person and you can't use multiples together to mic up the other people in the video. I'm looking to spend no more than $100 on a good mic and can get the rode from b & H for around $81. Also, I'd like for it to work with outside moving shots like at festivals with me walking around.


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Jeff Mcbride
Re: Which microphone to use for sit down interviews?
on Jul 7, 2015 at 8:27:21 am

Anyone?


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Brian Reynolds
Re: Which microphone to use for sit down interviews?
on Jul 7, 2015 at 8:49:59 am

Location sound basics..... (If you want good sound)

A shotgun mic should should be no further than one arm length from the mouth.
A camera mounted mic is normally much further than one arm length away from the talent, so it won't deliver adequate sound.
If you are using wide shots and want to get good sound then use radio mics, either record on separate tracks or mix them (with a mixer and operator) on location.

Simply there is no other way to get good sound but the tried and true methods.
What is your production worth in $$$$ (time, labour & effort) just don't throw it all away because of poor sound.


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Ty Ford
Re: Which microphone to use for sit down interviews?
on Jul 7, 2015 at 8:16:47 pm

Hi Jeff and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

I agree with Brian, but based on the background noise level, a shotgun mic in that environment at 36" (arm's length) would still be unusable.

You need to be a lot closer with a boom, and not a shotgun indoors like that. For that, you'd want a super or hypercardioid. Here's a tutorial you may find helpful.







What sort of input does your Samsung Galaxy S3 have?

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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Jeff Mcbride
Re: Which microphone to use for sit down interviews?
on Jul 8, 2015 at 12:16:07 am

The samsung s3 has a 3.5 trrs connector like the iphone. Luckily, rode makes a trrs to mic connector and irig has a trrs to xlr connector. So I'm not limited. I did some more looking last night and found a 4 lavalier setup from pyle where it had one xlr merged output that had ok reviews and is $120. A little over my budget but I can make it work then later I can by an in expensive shotgun and marry the two in post. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it 70% lav and 30% shotgun? Wouldn't this be best? The pyle is vhf not uhf though but for the money I expect that.


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Ty Ford
Re: Which microphone to use for sit down interviews?
on Jul 8, 2015 at 1:32:32 am

Jeff,

a lot depends on the gain staging, mic sensitivity and A/D conversion quality of the various parts, but your job is to find out and report back! :)

30%/70% what?

Regards,

Ty Ford
Cow Auio Forum Leader

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


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Jeff Mcbride
Re: Which microphone to use for sit down interviews?
on Jul 8, 2015 at 4:14:30 am

I read somewhere that you should record with both a lavalier and a shotgun mic and mix both audios with 70% of the audio coming from the lavalier and 30% coming from the shotgun. I really forget where I read that though not the reason why you should do that. I will report back on using the lavaliers though.


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Brian Reynolds
Re: Which microphone to use for sit down interviews?
on Jul 8, 2015 at 9:56:27 am

You need to mix by listening with your ears and NOT by using numbers.


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Ty Ford
Re: Which microphone to use for sit down interviews?
on Jul 8, 2015 at 1:06:30 pm

Jeff,

A lot of the stuff people post these days is not thought out properly, not expressed properly or misunderstood.

I think the "boom & lav" approach was primarily developed to cover one's butt, in case one or the other of the mics failed. The problem with that is that the two sounds seldom match because the boom mic is directional, the lav 97.8% of the time is omni. The other 2.2% of the time with a cardioid lav, the mic will definitely be visible because you have to point it at the face.

87% to 93% of the time, the boom mic will sound better. There are a few occasions when the omni lav wins over a good boom mic due to the position of the ambient noise and the position of the person wearing the lav. If, for example, the noise is behind the person wearing the lav, the person's body may block more of the noise from getting to the lav than the directional boom mic can reject. When that happens, it's not a "sound problem" it's a "location problem."

If for some reason the boom mic malfunctions and no one hears it, which should never happen, that leaves the lav, Provided you didn't try to bury it too deeply resulting in a lot of clothing noise, you can "save the take" by using the lav track. Attempts at using one or two words to plug a bad spot in the other track are seldom satisfying because the sounds simply don't match.

And, if we're talking indoor sit down interview, the boom mic should not be a shotgun mic, it should be a hyper or super cardioid because unless the sit down is done in a very acoustically controlled space, the shotgun will pickup unwanted low and mid frequencies from the floor, walls, ceiling, windows, table tops, counter tops and any other hard reflective surfaces near by much more readily.

Even if the sit down is outside, a hyper or super may still give better sound than a shotgun. General, omnipresent traffic or people walla will invade the shotgun at lower and mid frequencies. In addition, if there are reflective surfaces, e. g. pavement, hard walls, windows or any nearby hard flat surfaces, the shotgun will have the same problem with them.

The case for "dirtying up the boom" with lav sound does come into play in several situations. In narrative work, when the scene is boomed and laved, depending on which actor is picked up by which mic, adding lav track to compromise the cleanth of the boom may help that particular voice sound like it's more in the same space with the other voices.

While you can "dirty up the boom" for a solo interview, it's probably much better to apply EQ to the boom. The problem there is that you need to know HOW and WHERE to add or subtract with EQ. Many video editors may not understand EQ or have a video editing system that allows EQ to be easily done. As a result they add lav track to the boom track.

The problem with that is that the two are never time aligned. If you zoom in far enough, you'll see the boom track is a little behind the lav track. This is because the boom is farther away from the talent than the lav. The speed of sound is about one millisecond per foot. That usually results in the boom mic being one to three milliseconds behind the lav. SImply adding lav to boom results in comb filtering which is heard as cancelation of high frequencies, so the voice becomes less distinct, less intelligible.

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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Jeff Mcbride
Re: Which microphone to use for sit down interviews?
on Jul 9, 2015 at 5:31:30 am

I think I get it now. I'm going to do some research into some super and hyper cardioids to find the best value for the money. Then get a boom stand as I don't have a boom operator (It's just me and the cameraman on set) and set the shot with the boom above. More than likely I will never have more than 3 people on camera at the same time during an interview so my will never be very wide.


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Ty Ford
Re: Which microphone to use for sit down interviews?
on Jul 9, 2015 at 11:48:56 am

Jeff,

Fo the best results, you really need to manually operate the boom (and input level) for more than one person. In fact, when I do location audio for single person interviews using a static boom, I frequently ride gain through the entire interview. A few folks have relatively constant speaking levels, but many begin hot and get soft as they continue to speak (and run out of air).

Once I figure out their patterns, I adjust. I know, for example, that I need to turn down slightly for the first few words and then slowly increase the gain. I can do this ONLY if the ambient noise is low enough not to be heard as I turn the mic up. The result is a much more finished track.

Attempting to mic three with one locked down boom is bound to cause problems because no two people speak at the same level. Yes, you can (should) fix that in post, but will you?

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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Jeff Mcbride
Re: Which microphone to use for sit down interviews?
on Jul 9, 2015 at 2:11:19 pm

What's my best option without a boom operator? Should I just lav for now? I don't have to have perfect sound right now (and probably won't because of my extremely low budget).


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Jonathan Levin
Re: Which microphone to use for sit down interviews?
on Jul 14, 2015 at 1:16:45 pm
Last Edited By Jonathan Levin on Jul 14, 2015 at 1:17:26 pm

I am one of those people for now that does the Boom mic and a Lav approach. And here is my reasoning why. Ty and others please feel free to enlighten me about my thinking:

First, Ty is correct, a boomed mic will and does sound a ton better than my Audio technica 899 lav.

I like the idea that I can "mix" in post the Lav and in my case a Rode NT3 Cardioid mic. I can balance the (to my ears) thinness of the lav with the ballsiness of the NT3. I realize I can adjust this using HP filters and all that, but I like trying to do things mechanically first. And although I realize the 899 is Omnidirectional, I like being able to add a little room/ambience in post with the NT3. So in post my mix may look like the Lav is coming in at 0-3dB and I may have the NT3 at -20 to -25dB

During production, I record each mic to it's own channel and pan one the Lav hard left, and the NT3 hard right. I also am doing a double system, recording a "scratch track to camera.

So what i think I end up with is three very useable redundancies: Left channel recorded on a Sound devices 633, Right channel on 633 and if in a real pinch and the 633 wigs out, I have the scratch track.

Of coarse proper gain staging hygiene is most important. I record Poly Wav 24bit 96k.

The one thing that you all probably noticed, is if I want three Usable tracks, why set level of NT3 to -20 to -25 and the answer is that I hope that my first choice, having the left and right ISO channels works just fine for my project. the L/R mix is also an option, but I find I am always tweaking something.

Jonathan


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Brian Reynolds
Re: Which microphone to use for sit down interviews?
on Jul 14, 2015 at 4:29:12 pm

Jonathan, Rode NT3 as a boom mic, isn't that a bit heavy?
How do you deal with the constant acoustic flanging between the 2 different mics as the talent moves slightly?
Also recording at 96k, are you keeping the same sample rate throughout your workflow or are you changing several times during your edit session which could often lead to problems?


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Jonathan Levin
Re: Which microphone to use for sit down interviews?
on Jul 14, 2015 at 5:02:50 pm

Hey Brian.

Yeah the NT3 is like mounting an axle from a Chevy to a C stand. Lifting it makes for a good work out. Great mic though.

As far as the other issue, The interview was a sit down. Did the 3-1 method of miking.

Jonathan


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