Rachel Cameron

How close is too close?

5 posts in this topic

#: 1   Posted (edited)

I realize that most of our problems are the opposite, but I would love to hear some thoughts and comments on the mic being too close to the subject.

I generally operate on the basic principle of 'camera perspective' informing my decision. But Robert had an intriguing comment (thank you RPSharman) in another thread, stating: "with some of the mics we use today, the frame line might be too close".

On an episodic I did recently, there were several ECUs (faces only), where I had the MKH50 at the frame line for some intimate lines. I was half crazed from cicadas, and was glad to get the damn thing in there like that. I thought the signal was amazing. I could practically hear the presence of blood pulsing through jugulars, etc. 

Could I have had the 50 too close? How close is too close? Subjective subject, I know. 

Edited by Rachel Cameron
Commas are oh, so important.

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On DPA mic "quick guide" it will show the frequency response at a specific distance. That is the distance they deem as optimal for that particular microphone. The 4011 capsule, for example, shows 30cm.

Closer can improve signal to noise ratio, at the expense of the proximity effect, which will usually sound bassier. Further away might give you more of a sense of space, but will sound less present.

For me, it's a matter of trying to have a scene make sense to the ears. If you are 2 ft away for 80% of the scene, then it might not make sense to park it on the frame line for the close up, having it sound so different from all the other coverage. Closer can make perspective sense, but you don't want to sound completely different, particularly if some of the tight coverage was shot at the same time as some of the wide and mediums.

There are times when I asked my boom op to go right to the line, and other times I wave them off to be looser. It's all part of how I plan out a scene.

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Right on the forehead is too close for an 8060 IMHO - 50 never really too close - they can always roll a bit of presence out later, unless maybe it's the only mic you have and the shots are superwide and tight -

 

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Agree with all of the above, max closeness to me also depends on the sound of the room. If I like how the room sounds I tend to prefer to leave a little air above the frame line. On a few occasions it has happened that I was so in love with the sound of the room (old, high ceilings, wood etc.) and the talent's performance was so permissive that I would ask the boom op to boom the whole scene with a cardioid. But these things happen rarely... On the other hand, for unnaturally extreme close ups I tend to think the (also unnatural) proximity effect can go well with the image.

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I tend to split the difference on close ups so the camera perspective doesn't dramatically change, unless there is some strong reason not to. 

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