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Tom Morrow

boom mic with wide pattern: mk4, 416,

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I have a cs3e and 641 mics, but both have relatively narrow patterns that are unforgiving in situations where the mic can't be swung around fast enough to catch multiple actors talking over each other.

 

And to add to the discussion with a different point of view: there are situations where you need two booms. This may be one of them. Either that, or wireless lavs. 

 

Watch out for overlapping dialogue -- this is a killer in any editorial situation. 

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If the Schoeps cannot handle what you are describing, IMO there are 2 possibilities: Your Schoeps is broken and needs to be serviced , or you need to acoustically treat your spaces to get the sound you are looking for.   No microphone can make a bad sounding space sound good, but the Schoeps makes it as good as it can be.   If the room acoustics are falling short, time to invest in a pile of furnie blankets or the ability to go to a different room...

 

The other thing that occurs to me is that if you are having so much trouble with reflections, then your mic is too far away from your source.  What distances are you booming at?

 

Indeed, I have nothing against the way the Schoeps handles off axis sound except that the polar pattern is too tight sometimes, leading to pumping volume variations that sound sort of like poor automatic gain control when I'm slow at swinging/angling it between multiple actors.  Yeah, I should be perfect at doing that and all, but I'm not only human but also still learning.  I don't have that superman ego, preferring to work around my limitations while I work to improve so that I deliver quality results.

 

Good points Marc.

 

The whole reason I want a wider pattern sometimes is precisely so that I can get the boom closer to the actors and still have them all be within the polar pickup pattern.  Say the actors that I want to capture simultaneously are in an equilateral triangle of 3 feet between them.  I might boom them from 4 feet away with the 641, 5 feet away with the cs3e, or 2-3 feet with a cardioid.

 

Live sound and studio recording uses a cardioid or even omni rather than a supercardioid or hyper when two singers are singing into the same close mic.  Why shouldn't we choose different polar patterns for different situations rather than just sticking with the mk41 all the time because it's our god? 

I'm seriously asking... wouldn't a Schoeps mk4 cardioid have at least as smooth off axis response as the mk41?

Does nobody use cardioid mics around for booming around here? 

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Live sound and studio recording uses a cardioid or even omni rather than a supercardioid or hyper when two singers are singing into the same close mic.  Why shouldn't we choose different polar patterns for different situations rather than just sticking with the mk41 all the time because it's our god? 

I'm seriously asking... wouldn't a Schoeps mk4 cardioid have at least as smooth off axis response as the mk41?

Does nobody use cardioid mics around for booming around here? 

Hi Tom, we're a right bunch aren't we. ;D

 

It's not a god mic, just a very good mic for all the reasons people have pointed out above. We do occasionally use cardioid's, but the times when they are useful are few and far between. Shots will often be singles (even when actors are close together), you want more of what is on screen. Locations are often not studios, you want less of what is not on screen. Off axis response is less important than the building site behind camera.

 

Rent a mkh40, it fits your description of what you want in terms of a wider mic to catch everything you can and is RF biased.

All the best and good luck.

 

Nick

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It sounds like you should rent a mk4 and/or mkh40 and compare them to your mk41. It might be just what you're looking for, but it might not - as Mr. Wielage said, sometimes you do need two booms (or a plant mic).

 

It would be interesting if you compared the mk41 and a cardioid, and see how much difference there is between going close with the cardioid, and backing off a little with the mk41 to get a similar pickup area (closer should be better, but...).

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Try out both an MK4 (cardioid) Schoeps capsule and an MK21 (subcardioid, i.e.wide cardioid) capsule, and see how they compare to the MK41. Let us know how well they accomplish what you're after.

Then there's also the MK22 capsule (open cardioid) that combines the characteristics of the MK4 & MK21. It's a new variant and probably less likely to be readily available for rental.

However, you seem to be wanting to find a "magic" microphone that will take the place of experienced boom handling and proper mic placement. That "magic" mic only exists in an alternate universe, where, by the way, all locations are perfect acoustically and all traffic, airplane, and room noise comes to an abrupt halt when the secret command "roll sound" is uttered.

If you're just asking (in a very round about way), "Is it okay to use a cardioid on location?" then the answer is, "whatever works."

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Tomorrow: " we all agreed that the cs3e had a much narrower hotspot."

yep.
" (Schoeps) the polar pattern is too tight sometimes, "

for our typical booming work, rarely.

but if that is your experience of it, you need, perhaps, one of the wider cardioid heads..?

I'm with JB 100% on this one...

 

" Does nobody use cardioid mics around for booming around here? "

sometimes... it depends!

" Yeah, I should be perfect at doing that and all, "

and yeah to that, too.... as it is far more about the archer than it is about the arrows.

Edited by studiomprd

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As with all posters with this kind of question - 1. because they wont go out and rent stuff (when it is actually possible), and 2. they dont and wont "risk" access to experimentation on their job sites. SO, what they are asking for is like a poll that points in ONE direction - 'go get THIS mic... and you're done'. AND when someone even supplies such an opinion, it's back to the frying pan - hum, ahem, hmmm... etc. 

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JD: "I still don't quite understand why you're booming someone with a 641 from 4 feet away... "

tomorrow: " I should be perfect at doing that and all, but I'm not only human but also still learning.  I don't have that superman ego, preferring to work around my limitations while I work to improve so that I deliver quality results. "

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I still don't quite understand why you're booming someone with a 641 from 4 feet away...

Sometimes it works. Quiet locations especially exteriors.

But , yes Jason You are right.

Would have gone to a CMIT at about 3 feet.

 

Regards,

 

Jim Rillie

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Bear in mind that handling noise is always an issue with wider patterns primarily because they attenuate less towards you.

Wait... What? That doesn't sound right at all. That's not really what handling noise is

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Wait... What? That doesn't sound right at all. That's not really what handling noise is

 

Yep, your right. Brain fart. I've edited it out of the above post to avoid confusion. You could argue that any noise made from the boom op handling the pole (a type of handling noise) is less likely to be picked up with a narrower patten, as I said. But I guess a more correct definition in our field is noise transferred to a microphone through it's suspension. Which is not affected by the pickup patten. I'll try not to muddy the waters any more;)

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when I'm slow at swinging/angling it between multiple actors.  Yeah, I should be perfect at doing that and all, but I'm not only human but also still learning.  I don't have that superman ego, preferring to work around my limitations while I work to improve so that I deliver quality results.

 

I would always try to improve my abilities first. Then, if I'm not able to swing or aim that boom fast enough, I'd opt for another solution using the tools I have. Remember: booming often means getting the mic as close and on axis as possible - and if it's not possible to get it closer because of your swinging abilities, well, then first admit that, second improve it, and third it's not the end of the world as long as you're willing to do "first" and "second".

When I choose a hyper over a short gun, it's almost always because of room sound, not so much because of a wider pattern. Even if the mic isn't precisely aimed, it will will appear drier than a gun because the room sound (and off-axis direct sound as well) is less colored. That's why I hand the Neumann 185 (equivalent to MK41) to any inexperienced boom person I might run into on some student shot that doesn't want to pay my usual boom op.

 

The whole reason I want a wider pattern sometimes is precisely so that I can get the boom closer to the actors and still have them all be within the polar pickup pattern.  Say the actors that I want to capture simultaneously are in an equilateral triangle of 3 feet between them.  I might boom them from 4 feet away with the 641, 5 feet away with the cs3e, or 2-3 feet with a cardioid.

 

Live sound and studio recording uses a cardioid or even omni rather than a supercardioid or hyper when two singers are singing into the same close mic.  Why shouldn't we choose different polar patterns for different situations rather than just sticking with the mk41 all the time because it's our god? 

I'm seriously asking... wouldn't a Schoeps mk4 cardioid have at least as smooth off axis response as the mk41?

Does nobody use cardioid mics around for booming around here? 

 

As stated above, mic choice indoors, for me, almost always is about room sound.

Have a look at the different patterns of MK4, MK41, MK21 (images from the Schoeps website)

MK 4

fpol-mk-ccm4.jpg

 

MK41

fpol-mk-ccm41_0.jpg

 

MK21

fpol-mk-ccm21.jpg

Especially looking at the 16 kHz curve will show you that the wider patterns actually have a smaller sweet spot area than the 41.

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Do your personal tests.  For me, I've gotten through some very hairy multicharacter scenes in tight spaces with an MK4--the results as the troupe of actors, 2 cameras and I spun thru the space were more consistent with the MK4 than with an MK41.  That said, some of the very best boom ops I ever worked with liked really directional mics, shotguns even.  They just learned the script and "read" the actors.  Result: great sound.   Having multiple tools on hand is a great thing.

 

philp

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Lots of good information here.  pkautzsch especially addressed the issue well:  It does look from the polar patterns (and everyone's experiences) as if the MK41 does in fact have an advantage over more wider patterned mics (mk21, mk22, mk4, MKH40) because the frequency response doesn't change off axis nearly as much.  I suppose this is because the wider patterned mics are designed for close vocal use where the off axis sound is much further away so they didn't optimize the off axis frequency response for smoothness like the mk41 which is expressly designed for film work.  And they just don't have the god-mojo of the mk41 :-)

 

Are there any cardioids that have the same mk41 characteristic where the off axis frequency response doesn't vary?  

 

Hmm, I just looked at the Schoeps mk2 omni polar pattern and it actually looks worse than the cardioids in terms of off axis frequency coloration... I don't really understand why that would be so; I always thought an omni especially Schoeps wouldn't have such coloration or proximity effect.  Perhaps this is from the measurement procedure or room being optimized for a particular proximity effect or distance?:

http://www.schoeps.de/en/products/mk2/graphics

 

Here are some of the uses I'd make of the mic:

 

- booming two people sitting across a largish table from each other and talking over each other

- wide shots where the actors are spaced far apart from each other and talking over each other

- doing close mic'd wild takes on set of two actors talking over each other (e.g. animated argument) when I want to get the mic as close as possible to avoid street noise outside the wide shot set, especially where I can't keep the actors still and close to each other because they want to move around to stay in character.

- doing on set wild background recordings of say a half dozen actors doing walla walla around a microphone.

- plant mic for situations where I can't aim well because the actor will move around.

 

I know that most of these tasks could be handled in other ways (dual boom, controlling background noise, stopping overlapping dialog, keeping the mic on the actor the shot is for, godlike boom handling) but there are some times when you just can't control everything you want to and screwing on another capsule might be the quickest best option. 

 

I do appreciate the encouragement to improve my boom skills... one thing I've not found much of are videos of boom ops doing good technique in situations with lots of people talking over each other; I'll start another thread for that.

 

I will be doing tests, renting mics.

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I still don't quite understand why you're booming someone with a 641 from 4 feet away...

 

In the example that I gave I'm not booming some one but rather a group of actors that I want to capture simultaneously who are seperated by 3 feet.   The mk41 in my experience starts to drop off significantly around 35 degrees off axis, so I'm trying to keep everyone in that zone.  Geometry.

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tomorrow: " I suppose this is because the wider patterned mics are designed for close vocal use where the off axis sound..."

incorrect

" the mk41 which is expressly designed for film work. "

incorrect

 

Are there any cardioids that have the same mk41 characteristic where the off axis frequency response doesn't vary? "

yes, many

 

" I don't really understand why that would be so; "

it is the part of physics called acoustics

 

" - booming two people sitting across a largish table from each other and talking over each other

- wide shots where the actors are spaced far apart from each other and talking over each other

- doing close mic'd wild takes on set of two actors talking over each other (e.g. animated argument) when I want to get the mic as close as possible to avoid street noise outside the wide shot set, especially where I can't keep the actors still and close to each other because they want to move around to stay in character."

for good results, these require multiple boom operators, you have unrealistic expectations, especially as you are inexperienced...

" - plant mic for situations where I can't aim well because the actor will move around. "

this one typically requires a skilled boomer, and sometimes wireless mic's on the actors; once again unreasonable expectations.

 

" I always thought... "

based on ??

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Tom, don't look at the specs too much. For example, they don't tell you anything about distance. At some point an actor leaves the nearfield. How this will sound varies greatly from one mic to another.

Just try different mics and find out what they do. Memorize and hencefoeth choose the best mic for the job.

Don't excpect too much of an omni for your needs. You may be disappointed.

Oh, and using a plant on an actor who moves around a lot? That sounds strange.

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Senator:

...omni polar pattern... worse than the cardioids in terms of off axis frequency coloration

I always thought an omni especially Schoeps wouldn't have such coloration or proximity effect.

it is the part of physics called acoustics

Please elaborate on what part of acoustics makes an omni have more off axis frequency coloration than a cardioid in your world. 

I always thought...

based on ??

I was taught that the pressure gradient design of cardioids is what creates the proximity effect, so omnis shouldn't have it.   The proximity effect is caused by directional mics becoming less directional at lower frequencies.   As John Eargle writes in "The Microphone Book" page 17:  "Proximity effect: the tendency of directional microphones to increase their low frequency output at clost operating distances".  Omni mics are by definition not directional except for the shell blocking high frequencies from the rear.

 

However, I do see a graph on p. 36 of The Microphone Book 2nd edition, figure 3-15, showing that an omni at the end of a 21mm cylinder will be down 5dB for 16kHz at 45 degrees off axis, which is close to what I saw in the mk2 polar plot.

 

I'm guessing that the reason the mk2 omni shows worse off axis frequency response than the mk4 cardioid may be that the mk4 has electronic and/or acoustic shelving to compensate for the proximity effect and/or shell HF blocking effect, while the omni doesn't.  Or as Constantin  points out, the measurements made at near field may not apply when used at real world far field distances.  Thanks for that point Constantin.

 

plant mic for situations where I can't aim well because the actor will move around.

this one typically requires a skilled boomer

Plant mic= not booming.  E.g. a microphone hidden in a plant on a table.

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tomorrow asks: " Please elaborate on what part of acoustics makes an omni have more off axis frequency coloration than a cardioid in your world. "  then answers: " the shell blocking high frequencies from the rear. ", and " ...which is close to what I saw in the mk2 polar plot. "

also, do not equate proximity effect (an on-axis coloration!) with off axis coloration

 

Lack of off axis coloration is difficult to achieve, and the mics that are the best, are generally the more expensive ones...

 

" a microphone hidden in a plant on a table. "

or "planted" (often hidden!) in a location not necessarily a plant...  :blink:  (or on a table!)

 

" I'm guessing "

so I have noticed...

but your results seem less than random!

 

BigAl: " Good reply Tom "

you're the best!

Edited by studiomprd

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I have a mk41 capsule with a cmc4 body. It is not the red dot version. Would i achieve better 'reach' with a red dot capsule or it just provides more gain, so i can compensate this with a pre-amp? Thanks

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Scanning this thread, my advice (over and above that which has been presented) is to get yourself on a bunch of pro sets, whereupon you will keep your mouth shut, and your ears and eyes open.

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