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Author Topic: Microphones  (Read 1893 times)

Hillsilly

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Microphones
« on: May 28, 2013, 04:59:12 AM »
Hi, my video knowledge is...ummm...very limited.

I'm going to make some videos.  They will be of someone talking.  They will be made indoors with no other distracting sounds that need to be blocked out.

I know sound quality is very subjective, but I want "good" sound quality.  Doesn't have to be "super awesome".  We're not talking Hollywood.  I just want it good enough, so that it captures the spoken word sufficiently well that nobody gives it a second thought. 

But I don't want to spend a lot of money.

Am I wasting my time looking at $30 microphones on eBay - eg an "SG-108"?

If so, what is the lowest cost microphone that you'd consider reasonable?

On some older topics, I've seen "Zoom" recorders being highly praised.  Should I just go with a "H1" and place this near my subject?  (I understand that I'd then have to synch the sound with the video, but that doesn't worry me.  I've used Microsoft Movie Maker to do similar things in the past with music so I assume this would be similar?)

Anyway, if someone has some advice, I'd love to hear it before I start a microphone buying spree trying to find one that's right.
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Microphones
« on: May 28, 2013, 04:59:12 AM »

paul13walnut5

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Re: Microphones
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2013, 05:41:32 AM »
Hi, don't waste money on $30 mics.  You guess it.  Probably rubbish.

If money is a huge concern then placing a recorder close to your subject is probably the best way to get ok sound on a budget.

I've never used a zoom so don't know the strengths and weaknesses of the various models.  I've not used windows movie maker either, and so don't know the practicalities of synching audio using it.

You are on the right track, keeping the mic close to the sound source, but just out of shot.  Use headphones so you can hear what the device is hearing (usually totally different to what we here, in perspective at least)

The advice I usually give involves spending hundreds of dollars, I'm guessing this isn't an option here?

Hillsilly

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Re: Microphones
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2013, 09:17:57 AM »
Thanks paul13walnut5.  Appreciate the tips.  I'm just helping a mate rehearse a couple of short speeches and we've hit on the idea of recording them and putting them on his website.  Its my first time trying to make a "decent" video and I'm keen to do it at least semi-competently.

I can't see making video ever being a major thing for me.  Far too much to worry about and too much creativity involved.  Therefore, I wasn't planning on spending more than necessary.

But you've piqued my curiosity.  If I did have a budget of a few hundred dollars, would there be anything you'd suggest?  My subject will be stationery, so there's no need for wireless capabilities.  Also, there's no need for the microphone to be hidden - a lavalier microphone would be fine.
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paul13walnut5

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Re: Microphones
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2013, 10:23:21 AM »
Rode NTG-2 and a beachtek DXA-5Da

joema

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Re: Microphones
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2013, 06:26:48 AM »
...I'm going to make some videos.  They will be of someone talking.  They will be made indoors with no other distracting sounds that need to be blocked out...
I use a Rode NTG-2, Rode VideoMicPro, Zoom and Tascam field recorders and several wireless lavs inc'l Sennheiser G3. For your situation I would not recommend a shotgun mic, whether camera-mounted or boom-mounted. Rather I'd suggest a Canon WM-V1 wireless "lipstick" mic: http://shopper.cnet.com/headphones-headsets/canon-wm-v1-wireless/4014-6468_9-34581063.html

It's only about $210, and produces great sound. You may not need wireless right now, but it's a big convenience and you'll end up using it much more than a cheap wired mic.

Contrary to popular belief, the strength of a shotgun mic is NOT sensitivity. They are not like an audio telescope. Rather they're good at rejecting unwanted noise. The goal in positioning a shotgun is put the broad side toward the noise. Thus you see them positioned at 45-60 deg. below the subject pointing up, or 45-60 deg. above the subject pointed down. Shotguns often have a rear pickup lobe which picks up unwanted sound from the rear -- another reason for the 45 deg. aiming convention.

In a room without much noise there are still often acoustic issues -- echoes, etc. This produces a hollow, cheap, "amateur camcorder"-type sound. Getting the mic close to the subject is the answer. This can be wired, wireless, shotgun, lav, etc. However of all these I find the wireless lav or even the Canon WM-V1 is often the most convenient.

Another approach is a separate audio field recorder. A Tascam DR-08 is only about $90, and works much better than an on-camera mic. However you have to position it *close* to the subject, keep it out of the frame, etc: http://www.amazon.com/Tascam-DR-05-Portable-Digital-Recorder/dp/B004OA6JW0 Then in post you must sync the audio and video.

Make sure you monitor the audio with earphones or headphones when recording. Ideally use manual input audio gain, if your camera supports that. Auto gain control on audio often causes clipping, flat-topping, and ramps up gain during pauses in speaking which increases background noise.

Sound is critically important in video. If you think about old grade C low-budget movies, poor audio is the main tipoff of the low production value. To paraphrase Yogi Berra, video may be 90% visual but the other half is audio. Viewers are actually more accepting of poor quality video than poor audio.

dgatwood

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Re: Microphones
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2013, 01:48:24 PM »
But you've piqued my curiosity.  If I did have a budget of a few hundred dollars, would there be anything you'd suggest?  My subject will be stationery, so there's no need for wireless capabilities.  Also, there's no need for the microphone to be hidden - a lavalier microphone would be fine.

AT4040 plugged into a Zoom H4n.  No contest.

Depending on how much clock drift you experience between the video gear and the Zoom, you may have to do a slight time scaling on the audio or occasionally add or drop a frame's worth of silence.  It's not hard to do in any decent video editing app, but it's worth keeping in mind.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2013, 01:52:26 PM by dgatwood »

Nitroman

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Re: Microphones
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2013, 02:27:08 PM »
You just need a Zoom H2 - The H4 little bro'.

Records fab sound without plugging in a mic.

Nobody will tell the difference if it's placed close to your sound source.

And it's £120 !

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Zoom-Handy-Recorder-Card-Wavelab/dp/B005CQ2ZY6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1370456690&sr=8-1&keywords=h2+recorder

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Re: Microphones
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2013, 02:27:08 PM »

luciolepri

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Re: Microphones
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2013, 04:45:27 PM »
The Zoom H2 is the H4 "bigger bro" (http://www.zoom.co.jp/english/products/h2/) it is the 4 channels one, I have no idea why they named them that way... so the H4 would be the right choise. Anyway, since you just need to record "a couple of short speeches", I wouldn't buy anything and go for a rent. What's more, if you're recording just a speech and you're indoor and there are no disturbing noises, placing the camera near to the subject and using a good video microphone you can already get a decent audio quality.
Otherwise, you could just rent something like a Sennheiser ME67, put it on camera with a shockmount, connect it to the camera with a balanced XLR-Minijack connector and a good shielded cable and this way you'll get a good, already syncronized audio. If the camera has to be far from the subject, you just have to add a boom pole to the equation. Anyway, to rent all this stuff, you won't pay more than 20 $ per day.

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Re: Microphones
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2013, 04:45:27 PM »