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Directional "shotgun" mic question

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b15serguy
Directional "shotgun" mic question
on Mar 8, 2007 at 4:39:33 am

Hey all, I have a Canon GL2 and I'm looking to get an inexpensive but decent quality shotgun set up I don't know which to get. My brother and his friends are interested in shooting a dv film and good dialogue audio is important. I was looking at getting the Audio-Technica ATR55 shotgun. the reason I am looking at this mic is because it has a 3.5mm output (my set up doesnt allow for xlr inputs) and its inexpensive plus I have used audio technica wireless lavier mics in the past and they worked pretty well. there are some auctions on ebay one which has a complete boom setup including the mic for 150 dollars or there is just the mic itself for 50 bucks with an attachment for the GL2 accessory shoe. My question isn't on the shotgun mics in general I would just like to know if mounting the mic on the camera would be any less effective than having a true boom rig which another person would hold, most of the shots would likely be indoors with a few outdoors. Anyone have any advice? Basically we just need the best results for the least amount of money! Thanks




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Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
Re: Directional "shotgun" mic question
on Mar 8, 2007 at 4:34:45 pm

Well...

ABSOLUTELY get the mic off the camera, and get it as close to the talent as possible... boom pole or whatever.

The keys are: the mic itself, the position of the mic, and the skill of the oeprator.

Unfortunately in the budget range we are talking about you can probably get something servicable but you can't get anything really great (you do get what you pay for)... but depending on your needs you can probably make it work (one that is really good enough for professional use is probably going to start somewhere in the thousand buck range; I use the Sennheiser MKH416, and it sounds fantastic). You said the AT mics you used before "worked pretty well"... if pretty-well is good enough, then the ones you were looking at might be ok... IF you use them right.

If you have to use something inexpensive, the key is then placement. Again, don't put it on the camera... if you do, interiors will get a very hollow echo-y sound... exteriors will have too much ambient noise to hear the talent.

Put the shotgun on a pole. You don't have to buy a thousand dollar Neumann boom. Go to Home Depot or Lowe's and buy a $10 painters pole. There's a guy on eBay who sells a little connector (I have a couple) that will convert the screw end of a painter's pole to a convetional 5/8" mic thread for about $14, if I remember correctly.

If you can afford it, a shock mount is also a very good thing, as is a foam windscreen for shooting outdoors. If it is more than a little windy outside you will also need a "monkey fur" windjammer cover for the mic.

Have the boom operator practice placement, and practice following talent. Following moving talent (and dialog bouncing back and forth between talent) is a lot more difficult that some people might think. The mic should generally be above and in front of the talent, pointing at them. If talent can reach up and touch the mic, it's in about the right spot. And a lot of people think the mic should point at someone's head... but in reality you'll get the best sound if the mic is pointing at their lower neck or upper chest.

Hope this helps,
Todd





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b15serguy
Re: Directional "shotgun" mic question
on Mar 9, 2007 at 12:56:02 am

cool thanks alot for all the info! Yea this is basically like a high school just for fun project but we still would like to do the best we can. If we were getting paid it would be worth the investment although I have gotten paid for a few projects in the past so I can't complain! Cheers



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