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recommendation for levalier mic for use in noisy environments

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phil sheldon
recommendation for levalier mic for use in noisy environments
on Dec 11, 2015 at 12:50:32 pm

Hi all

i will be filming some interviews in fairly noisy laboratories and would like a recommendation for a levalier mic that will cut out as much surrounding noise as possible.

Any thoughts and suggestions would be most welcome as I am inexperienced in this area

thanks in advance

Phil


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Ty Ford
Re: recommendation for levalier mic for use in noisy environments
on Dec 11, 2015 at 7:37:08 pm

Hello Phil and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

Most Lav makers have cardioid versions. You do have to be very careful with placement. If the lav gets twisted away, you're done.

Here's my review of the Countryman B2D cardioid lav with video examples.
http://tyfordaudiovideo.blogspot.com/2014/02/countryman-b2d-cardioid-lav-an...

Even then, having a chest mounted lav is problematic because it's so far away from your face.

A headworn mic like a Countryman E6 omni works batter because the mic is closer to your mouth. Countryman also makes a cardioid version.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/417466-REG/Countryman_E6IDP5L1_E6i_Ca...

or this from AT. The prices vary somewhat due to how the cable is terminated.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/97762-REG/Audio_Technica_PRO_8HEMW_PR...

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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Bruce Watson
Re: recommendation for levalier mic for use in noisy environments
on Dec 12, 2015 at 12:09:03 am

[phil sheldon] "I will be filming some interviews in fairly noisy laboratories and would like a recommendation for a lavalier mic that will cut out as much surrounding noise as possible."

If you're inexperienced with lavs, stick with omnis. Even if you're pretty experienced with lavs, stick with omnis. Why? Because using a cardioid lav requires that you fully train your "talent" on how to use it. If you don't, you'll regret it the first time they turn their head and take their mouth out of pattern. You'll spend inordinate amounts of time in post trying to recover what is basically unrecoverable. You'll also have to deal with proximity effect, which you'll learn about the first time they dip their chin toward their chest while talking. Again, unless your time is free this isn't something you want to be trying to fix in post. And the real problem here is that the client is going to blame you for the poor sound. Doesn't matter if the talent didn't follow your instructions, you're still the sound person, and it's still your responsibility. And this is why I don't even own a cardioid lavalier.

If you've got a situation where an omni lav is insufficient, you might want to consider the head worn "earset" mics (like the Countryman E-6 that Ty referenced) that put the mic right at the corner of the mouth. Again, use an omni. But if you feel you've just gotta have a cardioid, an earset card will probably work for ya since it will maintain it's orientation and distance to the mouth as the head turns. IOW, you don't really have to train the talent how to use a cardioid earset mic. But you've got an amazing noise problem if you need a cardioid earset mic. Just sayin'.

If you don't want an earset mic, consider a good reporter's "stick mic" like the Electro-Voice RE50N/D-B. Hold this 10cm from the mouth and you can get excellent audio capture on a crowded and hyper-noisy trade show floor (I've done it many times myself, and seen video from trade show floors made using the RE50 mics countless times). And since it's an omni (there's a theme here...) you don't have to train the talent very much how to use it.


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Ty Ford
Re: recommendation for levalier mic for use in noisy environments
on Dec 12, 2015 at 4:32:39 am

I agree, Bruce, but nailing it to their head keeps them from having to think about how close to work a hand held.

My experience is, you can tell them, but you can't expect them to remember that once they've started talking.

I remember one shoot I was on. The store owner/talent could not keep from sticking the mic in his own face. That particular mic did not sound good that close.

It was a waist up shot. I sat below him and laid my foot on the cable by his feet. I held the cable as it went to my mixer with my hand.

He only had as much length as I would give him. It was a little weird to see the mic cable go taught and his hand jerk to a stop as he tried to eat the mic, but it worked. Good Times!!!!! :)

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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Bruce Watson
Re: recommendation for levalier mic for use in noisy environments
on Dec 12, 2015 at 12:38:24 pm

[Ty Ford] "...nailing it to their head keeps them from having to think about how close to work a hand held."

It does indeed. And this is an important point, well worth reiterating.

I brought up handhelds because some clients like that visual better than the earsets and they are ubiquitous on TV. Viewers hardly register them anymore; big and clunky as they are they fade toward invisibility when used well. When used badly though... your story proves that point.


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Ty Ford
Re: recommendation for levalier mic for use in noisy environments
on Dec 12, 2015 at 1:09:55 pm

And as you mention, omni is a better tool unless you really know what you're doing with a hand held because unless you are really on top of getting a cardioid in the right place, you'll miss what's being said.

Cheers!

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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Al Bergstein
Re: recommendation for levalier mic for use in noisy environments
on Dec 12, 2015 at 1:58:30 pm

Would he be ok using a shotgun pointed directly down at the talent from a boom? Or is the lav always the right way to go?

Al


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Ty Ford
Re: recommendation for levalier mic for use in noisy environments
on Dec 12, 2015 at 2:02:11 pm

Al,

Lavs are a last resort, but to boom correctly you need to be very close. Just out of frame and not more than 18" from the talent.

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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Al Bergstein
Re: recommendation for levalier mic for use in noisy environments
on Dec 12, 2015 at 2:27:22 pm

Right. Thx.

Al


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phil sheldon
Re: recommendation for levalier mic for use in noisy environments
on Dec 14, 2015 at 10:47:02 am

blimey, audio is never straightforward is it!

thanks very much for your thoughts, really appreciated. It sounds like the cardioid mics would be lovely but not worth the risk in my situation, interviewing scientists and technicians that will be nervous enough as it is.

i will look into the omni's i think

also, when we started our video dept, we bought a rode ntg-1 which we were told is a good all rounder. when i've tried it on the boom and above the talent its never been as good as the lav mic. Is this my incorrect technique or the wrong mic for the job?

once again, invaluable advice

thankyou


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Ty Ford
Re: recommendation for levalier mic for use in noisy environments
on Dec 14, 2015 at 12:27:40 pm

Phil,

Audio is not plug & play, for sure.

The shotgun mic is not the mic of choice for interiors. For that you need a super cardioid.

Here's why -





No boom mic should be more than 18" away from the talent's mouth for best results.

The NTG-1 is student grade. When you step up to a MKH 50, MKH 60, CMIT or CMC641, you'll notice a big difference.

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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phil sheldon
Re: recommendation for levalier mic for use in noisy environments
on Dec 14, 2015 at 2:20:14 pm

thanks Ty, really helpful, and the video really shows the differences!


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