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Mics for interviews, connected to camera - MKH 416, MKH50, Sanken CS-3e

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André Mascarenhas
Mics for interviews, connected to camera - MKH 416, MKH50, Sanken CS-3e
on Jun 22, 2016 at 5:04:44 am

Hi there,

I'm a videographer, running my own production company, and I'm looking to upgrade my main mic for interviews.

I currently have a Sennheiser MKE600 (I also have lavs, but here I'd like to have advice on off frame options).

The main reason I'm thinking of upgrading is to go for a better off-axis rejection. I just had a shoot in an office recently and some background noise could be heard in the recording. I'd also like to have a nicer voice tone and clarity.

I'm between the MKH416 and MKH50, maybe the Sanken CS-3e (quite expensive, but I want to get something that will last me). I'm now learning that shotguns should not be used for interiors, therefore the two last options have been added to my list.

How should the MKH50 perform for interviews based internet videos? I really like the samples I've downloaded from tests done online. I'm mostly filming in interiors, in office or residence settings.

Lastly, I do have to mention my setup. For most of my shoots, I cannot afford to have an audio person on set, so I end up recording it myself, mostly directly to my C100 mkII or to a Tascam-dr70D. I'm not considering on getting a field mixer or a better recorder - not even for the price, mostly that it will be more equipment for my workflow.
Should the mics I'm considering, like the MKH50, be ok connected directly to a camera?

Any help will be most appreciated!

Andre


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Bruce Watson
Re: Mics for interviews, connected to camera - MKH 416, MKH50, Sanken CS-3e
on Jun 22, 2016 at 2:22:49 pm

[André Mascarenhas] "Should the mics I'm considering, like the MKH50, be ok connected directly to a camera?"

Probably yes. You'll have to try it and see. But if your MKE600 is OK with it, the MKH50 should be also. The MKH50 has been a favorite hypercardioid of the Hollywood dialog set for quite a while, but there are (or were) quite a few on the used markets as people moved to the MKH8050 which is smaller and lighter which makes boom pole operators happy.

The reasons to use a field mixer include better mic preamps, better meters, flexibility in what your output is (you can feed balanced mic/line or unbalanced mic level to your camera), and better headphone monitoring. But the main reason I like my little MixPre-D is the limiters. They have saved me more than once and made me a believer in good limiters. I realize that you don't want the extra piece of equipment, but good limiters are something to really think about. Just sayin'.


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André Mascarenhas
Re: Mics for interviews, connected to camera - MKH 416, MKH50, Sanken CS-3e
on Jun 22, 2016 at 5:17:11 pm

[Bruce Watson] "there are (or were) quite a few on the used markets as people moved to the MKH8050 which is smaller and lighter which makes boom pole operators happy. "

Thanks, Bruce! Do you have any tips of websites to get used audio gear besides eBay? As you said, it seems hard to find used MKH50s.

[Bruce Watson] "The reasons to use a field mixer include better mic preamps, better meters, flexibility in what your output is (you can feed balanced mic/line or unbalanced mic level to your camera), and better headphone monitoring. But the main reason I like my little MixPre-D is the limiters. "

I've come through the name of MixPre-D a lot in many forums - seems like a great option, since is compact and affordable when compared to other SD options.
Still, I don't know if I could take advantage of its potential. Do you know about any website, book, etc, where I can learn the basics of recording with a mixer? Pre amps, limiters, etc?

Thanks a lot!


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Bruce Watson
Re: Mics for interviews, connected to camera - MKH 416, MKH50, Sanken CS-3e
on Jun 22, 2016 at 6:44:41 pm

[André Mascarenhas] "Thanks, Bruce! Do you have any tips of websites to get used audio gear besides eBay? As you said, it seems hard to find used MKH50s."

You could try the video forums like DVXuser.com. Most of them seem to have a used equipment sub-forum. Things show up there on occasion, from mics to mixers to boompoles to c-stands. And of course cameras and lights.

You could look at the GearSlutz (hey, I didn't name it) classifieds sub-forum. Lots of stuff there, but not much of it is aimed at dialog, it is mostly a studio music recording place. But I have seen MKH50's come through there on occasion.

[André Mascarenhas] "Do you know about any website, book, etc, where I can learn the basics of recording with a mixer? Pre amps, limiters, etc?"

You can ask here. And most of the video forums have sound sub-forums. Since field mixers are usually used by video dialog recordists, you might want to search in those forums and see what people have been doing. You aren't the first to ask, so investigate what others before you have asked and answered before you ask your own questions. Saves everyone some time that way.


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André Mascarenhas
Re: Mics for interviews, connected to camera - MKH 416, MKH50, Sanken CS-3e
on Jun 23, 2016 at 5:01:35 am

Thanks, Bruce! Indeed I've learned tons of things already in the past days when researching, just going through threads from here , DVXuser and other similar communities.

I couldn't really find used MKH50s, I've decided to go with a new one. It's actually a piece of mind.

Thanks again for your help in my response, and your many other comments in CC that I already came across when doing my researches!


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Craig Alan
Re: Mics for interviews, connected to camera - MKH 416, MKH50, Sanken CS-3e
on Jun 23, 2016 at 3:30:53 am

If you are doing one man band interviews and the subjects are fixed in terms of location I would get a SD 302 and mount it on a C stand arm close to your camera. It has a nice LED meter that will easily allow you to monitor the sound. It will be a solid investment and will accept up to three inputs.

This mike is a great interview Hypercardioid:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/642499-REG/Audio_Technica_AT4053B_AT4...

Only $600 and really good quality and really stands up. With a Hollywood-stand, and an extra arm, a couple sand bags, and any boom pole and a Rycote shock mount you could float the mike really close to the subjects, set the level on your mixer with a little extra headroom and get really clean interviews. Not as good as a dedicated audio tech and boom pole operator but really decent. Sensitive mikes will pick up b.g. noise. But if you place the mike close and direct it away from unwanted sources you'll be happy.
Yes you could do the same connected directly to your camera. But the 302 is a solid investment. The mix pre D is underpowered and not as good. I use both. But the only time I use the mix pre now is when we are using a DSLR camera that has no ability to provide phantom and xlr connections. That's kind of its market.

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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André Mascarenhas
Re: Mics for interviews, connected to camera - MKH 416, MKH50, Sanken CS-3e
on Jun 23, 2016 at 5:12:02 am

[Craig Alan] "I would get a SD 302 and mount it on a C stand arm close to your camera. It has a nice LED meter that will easily allow you to monitor the sound. It will be a solid investment and will accept up to three inputs. "

Thanks Craig! Some questions:
-would I connect the SD 302 to my C100? What about the 16-bit ?
- If I should go with an external recorder, what recorder would you recommend? Would a zoom/ tascam be enough, since it would be going through the SD?

As for the mic, I'm going for the MKH50, which seems to be a solid purchase that will last me for a long time, besides its beautiful nuances.


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Craig Alan
Re: Mics for interviews, connected to camera - MKH 416, MKH50, Sanken CS-3e
on Jun 23, 2016 at 6:39:28 am







http://tyfordaudiovideo.blogspot.com/2012/03/non-shotgun-boom-mics-for-inte...

MKH50 is considered better than the AT4053b but its twice the price and the AT is really quite good for dialog and holds up well. Lots of use and small and light.

The Schoeps is really sweet ($1600). Its my favorite and most expensive mike i have used.

But I would say that mike placement, the talent, and the acoustics in the place you are shooting may be more important variables than the difference between these three mikes. All else being equal you get what you pay for.

Yes the 302 needs to be connected to the recorder be it the camcorder or a separate one. I haven't used that Canon but Canon usually has pretty good audio compared to other brands at that price point.

If you get a zoom/ tascam make sure it has XLR inputs. I have no experience with these. SD makes really good mixer/recorders for a lot more money. You can get a 633 for $3,229.00 which would give you both a mixer and recorder for $1429 more than the mixer alone. Very good quality.

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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Todd Terry
Re: Mics for interviews, connected to camera - MKH 416, MKH50, Sanken CS-3e
on Jun 23, 2016 at 5:23:03 am

I'm not an audio expert by any stretch (I'm a director and DP by profession), but I happened to be in this forum seeking advice about something else and saw this and thought I'd chime in just from a little personal experience...

I've used the MKH416 almost exclusively for several years now. The first time I used it I instantly fell in love, it has such a beautiful warm open sound. I use them for dialog in scenes, interviews, interiors, exteriors, everything.

I'll take it one step further... a couple of years ago, when swapping some equipment out in the studio, some nimrod accidently dropped the AT mic that we used for voiceover work and it hit the stage floor pretty hard (ok, ok... it was me).

In a pinch I put one of the 416's in the VO booth and I guess I shouldn't be surprised but it sounded GREAT. I didn't learn until later that a lot of the very top-end voice guys use the 416 as a booth mic. So, that's what we use in there now, too.

So... while I can't speak to any of the other mics you mentioned, I heartily endorse the MKH416. They are expensive, but worth every penny.

Now back to your regularly-scheduled experts who are a lot smarter about this stuff than me.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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André Mascarenhas
Re: Mics for interviews, connected to camera - MKH 416, MKH50, Sanken CS-3e
on Jun 28, 2016 at 5:56:39 am

Thanks for sharing your experience with the 416, Todd! Like you, I'm mainly on the camera - so not a sound guy. But I'm interested in learning how to get the best of my audio.
I think for my situation, where many of my shoots are in office space, and the hard floors can reflect the sound quite a bit, I'm going for a supercardioid mic (the MKH50 - listen to some audio samples and you will be amazed like I was).
Still, I'm considering getting a 416 for outdoor shoots... Let's see, for now I'll keep my MKE600 as a shotgun.

Again, thanks for your input on the 416- just makes me more interested in using one!


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Ty Ford
Re: Mics for interviews, connected to camera - MKH 416, MKH50, Sanken CS-3e
on Jun 27, 2016 at 12:16:54 pm

Hello Andre, and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

This may help: http://www.tyford.com/Ty_Ford_Audio_Bootcamp_Field_Guide.html

This may help:





The 416 is not the best for interiors because all shotgun mics with an interference tube are less directional at middle and low frequencies; hence roomy sound.

Here's one of my posts from 5 years ago:

Mixers and the people who operate them are usually related to someone else on the project and are there solely to raise production costs, cause delays and bilk producers out of their money. (that's a joke, ok?)

Mixers are more than knobs that let you vary the volume.

1. They let you vary volumes without shaking the camera or getting in the way of the camera op.
2. You may need to do that a lot with some people. I ride gain even if one person is talking if their voice fades on the end of each line. You can only do this in a relatively quiet environment, otherwise you bring up the ambient noise.
3. Mixer preamps (good ones) sound better than camera preamps.
4. Good mixers have input transformers that scrape off RF before it get into your audio.
5. Good mixers have limiters that allow you to record hotter, keeping your audio further above the noise floor without distorting.
6. Good mixers have EQ that lets you roll of LF HVAC noise before it gets into your audio.
7. Good mixers have mulitple outputs so you can feed more than one camera, or separate recorder simultaneously.
8. Good mixers make your sound better. If they didn't pros wouldn't use them.

I know you said your budget does not allow for a qualified audio person. Too bad. I shoot and run sound and there's really no way one person can do those jobs really well at the same time. Your path should include reflection on how to raise your game and grow your work force so that you can improve your product.

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: Mics for interviews, connected to camera - MKH 416, MKH50, Sanken CS-3e
on Jun 27, 2016 at 5:39:39 pm

Everything Ty says is spot on. I have learned more about audio from him than any other source. Quite frankly, read about audio and you are often overwhelmed by tech jargon that is often the kind that if you understand it, you wouldn't need it in the first place. If you can afford one pro on an independent shoot, hire an audio tech with their own gear. Sound is the hardest craft on a basic level and ruins more shots and more productions when you don't get it right.

That said, I am often a one man band. I have gotten decent sound on short form films where the talent is in a fixed location. You also need to train your talent in certain basics. No audio tech can correct for a talent that unpredictably raises/lowers their voice suddenly or turns their head away from the mike. And if you are shooting an interview where the talent stays in a fixed location and you are not doing a lot of camera movement: you can adjust your focus, angle, exposure levels; then calibrate your camera to your mixer (both devices are designed to do this); set your levels for each voice; then monitor the audio throughout the interview. Way easier as you gain experience. Better if you had an experienced audio tech to do it for you, but doable just the same. Floating a boom pole over a fixed location talent can work also and again not as well as having a skilled boom pole operator who aims at the talent's mouth and monitors the sound to adjust to the voice characteristics of the speaker.

One tip you might try is to give the interviewer a series of unrelated questions and do a practice interview so you can learn the voice levels and characteristics of your talent. For some you might need to leave more headroom than others and determine how close you can get to the talent's mouth. Room characteristics is a major variable as well.

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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André Mascarenhas
Re: Mics for interviews, connected to camera - MKH 416, MKH50, Sanken CS-3e
on Jun 28, 2016 at 6:19:34 am

Thanks, Craig! Indeed I've learned a lot from Ty just reading his comments and watching videos in the past week, so I'm sure if I keep the pace I'll be much more comfortable with the vocabulary and technicalities sooner than I'd imagine. I'm also learning a lot from you.
Your tips are very welcomed and I'll apply them when shooting (some I already do, which is great to know that others also do).

I'll list a Mixer as a next purchase, and I'm sure it will be a solid investment.

Thanks again for all your suggestions and tips!

Andre


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André Mascarenhas
Re: Mics for interviews, connected to camera - MKH 416, MKH50, Sanken CS-3e
on Jun 28, 2016 at 6:10:56 am

Hi Ty, thanks very much for all the fantastic information! I sure have read many of your very informative comments on the forum and also watched some of your videos - thanks for these as well.

Your input is very important for me, as a not audio professional, and I'll sure learn a lot when researching about the bullet points that you listed why a mixer is essential and should not be considered as basic equipment for my shoots.

To be honest, my company is recently new - 2 years -, and I started doing small business videos with a 60D and a VidPro shotgun recording on a H4n. No assistant, just me. Fortunately I've rapidly grown and lately I have more and better gear (mostly for the visual results), and as I said, I can afford an assistant. Clients are also getting bigger, but it's a long path. I'll have a bigger project coming in August where I'll be able to have a audio professional recording audio. I hope that becomes my new standard and I can always have amazing audio (and have to worry about that myself when shooting).

For the time being, for the shoots where I cannot afford an audio person, what mixer would recommend me using, when connecting to my Canon C100? (Or should I get an external recorder?). Craig Alan, in this thread, suggested a SD 302.

I do have to say that I've learned a lot just in the past couple of weeks, when I started searching for a new mic. I look forward to what I'll learn in the future weeks.

Thanks!
Andre


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Ty Ford
Re: Mics for interviews, connected to camera - MKH 416, MKH50, Sanken CS-3e
on Jun 28, 2016 at 1:35:05 pm

Hello Andre,

Thanks for the nice words.

Craig is correct. The 302 with three inputs is a good choice. I have a MixPre-D which I also like. It only has two inputs, but It has a USB connector which can be used to connect any XLR mic to a computer for recording.

Whether you need an external recorder at this point depends on how many people you'll have mixed simultaneously.

Your camera has two audio channels. The 302 lets you pan one mic to to one track then the second mic to the other track, but since your camera only has two audio channels, what do you do with the third input unless you're actively mixing?

I have a Sound Devices 664 with CL-6 bolt on faders that allow six mics and six line inputs. I use my Sound Devices 442 and the MixPre-D preamps to allow me to record 12 mics at a time. Think, 12 people sitting around a table all speaking extemporaneously. Record one to each track and try to do the best mix I can, sending that to another two tracks inside the 664, but also to the SD card.

I can import the audio from the SD card to the video timeline and use automation to "turn on" each mic as needed. The result is a very clean mix.

Welcome to the wonderful world of sound! I'm sure it won't be long before you'll be up to speed and helping others with what you know.

Regards,

Ty Ford
Cow Audio Forum Leader

PS: Craig, thanks for the compliment

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: Mics for interviews, connected to camera - MKH 416, MKH50, Sank
on Jul 1, 2016 at 6:19:15 am

70D tascam is wonderful but it's a bit hissy. I was comparing it just today and noticed that again. using even the mix pre-d will give you cleaner sounding audio if that is what you were after . The SD302 would be a fine addition at the price, if you find yourself needing more than two mics. A working pro will likely need more than two mics on some shoot or another during the course of a year. It's not often that I find myself needing more than two, but it does happen especially on larger interviews. I'm lucky in that I have a sound engineer in town that I hire for those types of jobs. heck if you have two lavs, and a shotgun on a boom pole you're already at three .

I hang my mix pre-D in a bag next to the camera, and the bright meters are much easier to watch the in camera ones .

Al


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Craig Alan
Re: Mics for interviews, connected to camera - MKH 416, MKH50, Sank
on Jul 1, 2016 at 6:48:02 pm

The 302 is also better in many other ways other than the extra xlr input . For starters it has a more powerful preamp. On the mixpre I often had to turn it up to max.
They are both relatively quiet even turned up. But maxing out an amp will always add some noise.
The mixpre can be used in post as an audio interface so you can do voiceovers using a good xlr mike >usb into computer and does have the option to mount underneath a small camera (+ $100 accessory and only a one screw hole for quick release tripod plate so it tends to move from side to side).

I spoke to Sound Devices about the lack of power and they said they were aware of it and it is a concern that they have gotten a lot of feed back from end users. I think this is more significant on dynamics than when providing phantom.

I think for production the 302 is a very good investment that will last a long time.
If you are shooting with a camcorder that has poor audio with only a mini plug the mixpre is a step up but you'd be better off with an audio recorder than trying to improve a crappy recorder. You can also use the mixpre with an audio recorder. Modern NLEs sync sound very well and easily unless you are doing long continuous recordings.

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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Al Bergstein
Re: Mics for interviews, connected to camera - MKH 416, MKH50, Sank
on Jul 1, 2016 at 7:15:08 pm

That's good to know. Thanks.

Al


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