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I am currently choosing between two different microphones for my new minidv camera; one is the $70 shotgun mic of the kind that was originally recommended to me on this site But I am not sure as the other is a high fidelity-stereo mic. at $99-not a shotgun but it looks more like the kind you might sing into-am not sure because it's more expensive-is it more suitable for me? Also money is not an issue I am prepared to spend up to $200 so if anyone can recommend a really good mic that is compatible with a sony dcr-hc96 minidv camcorder OR that will record sound well that I can put on my computer (just as good) separate from the camera it would be great to get some advice. :D Thanks all.

What you're looking for is a good shotgun mic. That in itself is a generic term that means any long barreled mic. You want a good condenser (externally powered) mic with a �lobar� pick up pattern to put on your boom pole. Lobar pick up means the mic focuses its audio pick up to a narrow area. This is why you want to use a boom pole to get the mic as close the the actor as possible - you�ll get clean dialogue tracks with less ambient noise. There are three main suppliers of shotgun mics: [url][/url] Sennheiser is the mic most used by professional sound recordists. They are expensive and worth it. Check out the ME-66 and the ME-67. [url][/url] Audio-Technica makes great mic�s and they�re cheaper. Check out the AT835b. [url][/url] I�ve never used Azden mic�s. They�re inexpensive but I don�t hear too many good things about them. A good mic is an investment. It will last longer than your camera - why skimp?

One other thing I'd add to this discussion is that you don't need a microphone with stereo pickup. Right, so condenser mics are the way to go. Also any mic will plug into your camera's audio jack if you get the correct adaptor parts. Just make a trip to Radio Shack and plug it in anywhere. --Trey

I'm just wondering-can I not use a boom pole and attach it to my camera and still get good sound, or not? Sometimes I'll be able to use the boom, but I do a lot of filming on my own-eg this documentary I'm making at the moment-and is it possible in those cases without it?

The closer you get the mic to the subject the better. If you can't sometimes, you can't. Do a few tests: set up your camera in different environments (a busy street, different rooms in your house) and then record some footage with audio. Put the mic near the camera, put the mic closer to the subject - try different things and then drop all of that into you editing system. That way you can hear for yourself in actual shooting environments and choose what's best for you.

Also-will I be able to cut out wind noise and other such problems? The ME 67-can I change the width of sound pickup, and the distance at which I record? cheers.

You can't change the pickup pattern on the ME67. Though there are mics that will let you do that, usually by screwing on an extension. I haven't seen one like that in a while though. If you're shooting a documentary you can sometimes get away with putting the mic on your camera. However your sound will suffer. But if it's a documentary style shoot the audience may be able to overlook that. Keep in mind that professional documentaries tend to shoot with a seperate sound operator who carries a boom. The best sound for almost all condenser microphones is 2.5 feet away from your source. If you're having problems with wind noise you can try covering your mic with a gym sock or some really shaggy fake fur material. --Trey

Chill though-it claims for the ME67 that it has a potential range of 30m-especially to pick up things like bird calls. Just a couple more questions-thankyou for all your help, Stubby and others. How do I transfer the sound to computer-I'm assuming it's externally recorded? Where can I get a boom pole from? Can I get a stand for the mic? Can I hold the mic just by itself? :D

If you record the sound into the camera, the sound will be transferred at the same time you transfer the video. A boom can be as simple as a painters pole with a microphone shock mount on it - or a 3 or 4 section, expandable Carbon Fiber, Graphite Fiber or Aluminum boom pole. The lighter the pole the better. Expandable is also very convenient. A pole that�s a fixed six or eight feet (painters pole) can pose problems if you�re shooting in a small space like a bathroom or small apartment or if the boom operator needs to be twelve to fifteen feet away to be out the the lights. Try B&H Photo/Video for the shock mount and the boom pole. Yes, you can get a stand for the mic. If you are doing a "talking head" interview where the subject isn't moving, a stand is fine. The reason most movie makers use a pole and a boom operator is to keep the mic close to the subject even if they move. Also, if you have two people speaking the boom-op can move the mic back and forth to catch each line clearly. One of the problems holding the mic itself is getting it close to the subject and out of the way of any lights and the camera. But yes, if you want to, you can just hold the mic itself. This is another thing you can try on your own before you start shooting your documentary. Try it under different circumstances to see if it works for you.

For basic fictional film-is either ME66 or ME67 more suitable? Or are both equally good?

I've owned the ME-66 for 15 years. I've used it on everything from documentaries shot in New York City and Tunisia to features shot on Hollywood sound stages and all kinds of zero budget, independent films and videos. It has survived sand storms, a tornado, a 20ft fall down a cliff and a 50ft plunge into the Pacific ocean (rescued by a scuba diver) and it still works great. For me, it's a pretty good microphone.

Ok still having some problems with this-thanks for all your help but I need some more. the ME66-can I only connect it to the K6 system powering module for power? Are there cheaper options? If so do cheaper options sacrifice quality? If I buy the K6 what other equipment do I need to record the sound-either straight to my camera or to a separate tape? If I record straight to camera will that sacrifice the quality? A lot of questions I'm sorry I just really want to get this right. Cheers.

If the microphone is a condenser microphone it also requires an inline power source. This source is called "Phantom Power" and it's also called "+48" because it supplies 48 volts. If you're using a semi-pro to pro level video camera then the camera will usually have phantom power built in. I suspect that your camera does not if you need 1/8 inch audio plugs. In this case you need to supply the phantom power externally or buy a microphone called an electret condenser that comes with it's own little battery. There are two ways to externally supply phantom power. You can buy a little dedicated phantom power box (basically a box just big enough for a battery), or you can buy an audio mixer that also supplies phantom power. (Behringer has a cheap battery powered mixer called the MXB-100 I think) The sequence would then run like this: Microphone on end of boom ---> XLR balanced cable ---> mixer or phantom power box ----> XLR balanced cable ---> XLR to 1/8th inch adaptor ---> camera --Trey

That makes sense-I can get the K6 powering module which has both a battery and its own power connector. Just one more thing (I hope!)- how do I find out what kind of cable to use to connect the K6 module (which has an xlr 3 pin output) to my camera (the audio input is this new sony 'active interface shoe'-but there may be others I don't know about). Alternatively-what else can I record the sound to that's cheap to buy but provides good quality and that I can move to computer? Again, thankyou all very much for this help.

Strangemanlaughing wrote:
how do I find out what kind of cable to use to connect the K6 module (which has an xlr 3 pin output) to my camera
That should be covered in your manual. If it's just a standard audio out, then you still need to visit radio shack and buy a short cable with an XLR out on one end an an 18th inch plug on the other. --Trey