Jump to content
bohitomi

M/S mic for documentaries

Recommended Posts

Don't see whats wrong with stereo wireless boom. I done it to keep things light.  742 with stereo cone. I use a small packsafe waist pack with a mixpreD to decode the ms signal and wireless receiver just to monitor I use a second wireless to go to camera. Works really well and keeps things extremely light.  Recording on the 742 send each mic to separate tracks and let lost deal with it. Neve a complaint.  MKH 30/8040 with pianissimo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6.04.2017 at 7:43 PM, Tom Visser said:

I think a lot of people have the perception that you loose access to the "raw MS" tracks when encoded to LR, even if done at the mic.  It is more than just reducing the panning for increased center correlation.  Some useful post tricks would be to EQ the mid or side channels independently from each other, MS EQ tools are quite common.  Another thing you can do is to use MS EQ on XY tracks too.  The results are exactly as predictable when used with real MS sources, but can still be useful.  There's probably some loss associated with burned in LR delivery when it comes to advanced processing so I'd always prefer MS ISO's, but for simple width control, MS or LR is really equivalent in my mind.

The loss is usually the s/n ratio, as most M/S  single-tube microphones have better s/n ratio at the center capsule  than the side one.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Would any of these mics - Neumann 190/191 or Pearl MSH10 or Audio Technica 4029 - work mounted on the camera? I have an AT4025 stereo mic and it is way too sensitive to be used on camera. What kind of mount might be best for them, if put onto a camera? My setup is similar to this but with a Mixpre-6 underneath too.

 

FOCUS-daylight-visibility.jpg

 

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The 4029 was made to be on camera, standard onboard size mic.  The others would not be good because of their size. The 191 needs a separate decoder box too I believe. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lots of my friends on MKH418, I had few doc jobs required stereo for atmosphere, so I had chance to their 418. I would say it's great piece of gear. Of course if you hate 416,  don't come nearer to MKH418. I think the mid part is like 416 sounding ;)

 

However, nowadays I am carrying a different setup for recording stereo atmosphere, which are Zoom H6 + Rode Stereo VideoMic X http://www.rode.com/microphones/stereovideomicx  ( they said there are two NTG3 heads without the shotgun pickup pattern and also with all the low cut and sensitivity parameter on the mic itself.) I could set the recording somewhere and pick them up later or asking someone to watch it while I am shooting something with the camera crew. Love the set up. But you have carry a bit more gear on site. 

 

Hero

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, hiro nakamura said:

However, nowadays I am carrying a different setup for recording stereo atmosphere, which are Zoom H6 + Rode Stereo VideoMic X http://www.rode.com/microphones/stereovideomicx  ( they said there are two NTG3 heads without the shotgun pickup pattern and also with all the low cut and sensitivity parameter on the mic itself.) I could set the recording somewhere and pick them up later or asking someone to watch it while I am shooting something with the camera crew. Love the set up. But you have carry a bit more gear on site. 

 

Hero

 

+1

For a onboard camera mic the stereovideomicX is really a nice choice. Love the feel of it. And even if it's not a hypercardio the stereo field makes the sound intelligible. The only downsides : it's a bit heavy and prone to noise due to humidity (like Schoeps).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

looks like a nice mic.

is there a performance difference with the stereovideomicX if hooked up through the TA3 with phantom or the 3.5mm jack and a 9V battery?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Patrick Tresch said:

 

+1

For a onboard camera mic the stereovideomicX is really a nice choice. Love the feel of it. And even if it's not a hypercardio the stereo field makes the sound intelligible. The only downsides : it's a bit heavy and prone to noise due to humidity (like Schoeps).

What's it like with speech if you collapse it to mono? Strange question maybe - but if it happened to be the only source (mounted on a camera), at some point it the chain it may well end up summed. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's not a strange question at all--it would be my FIRST question on a doc I was recording.   On most of my jobs I am recording the master audio (mix and isos) on my rig, but I want a mic on the camera for those moments when the shooter pulls the camera off the sticks and goes rogue.   What we're going to want out of those moments is dialog first and foremost--we can fix everything else well enough.  So I really want to know how that signal will mono.  I have to say that I'm not thrilled with the idea of a camera mic being MS unless that is  an important part of the concept of that project, from the pre-pro stage onward.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

StereovideomicX is not MS but X Y. So both mic will have about the same directivity. You could use one? On a MS shoot on the camera we often used only the M to get an better directivity. Or S if the character is out of frame next to the camera. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Patrick Tresch said:

StereovideomicX is not MS but X Y. So both mic will have about the same directivity. You could use one? On a MS shoot on the camera we often used only the M to get an better directivity. Or S if the character is out of frame next to the camera. 

I'd kind of rather have MS to be honest. The problem with XY is that neither mic is truly on axis to where the camera is pointing. 

 

Both patterns should sum to mono well enough though. 

 

-Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, chrismedr said:

looks like a nice mic.

is there a performance difference with the stereovideomicX if hooked up through the TA3 with phantom or the 3.5mm jack and a 9V battery?

 

According to the dealer, it does change the sound quality if you switch from 48v phantom to 9v battery.

 

The mic is quit heavy as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Philip Perkins said:

The M in most MS mics is a wide cardioid.  I want more "reach" than that, esp for an on-camera mic.

it depends, I assume MKH418s, AT4029 and Sanken CSS5, M are all shotgun type... I might be wrong, but please check, they probably got more reach than you expected. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was referring to mics whose weight, size and price would make them suitable for being a dedicated camera mic.  A 418 is 11 inches long,  a 4290 is 9.3 inches and the Sanken is nearly 12 inches, all w/o a connector.   All 3 are very expensive, not something I would buy just for on-camera use even if I could figure out how to mount them on the smaller cameras now being used, so that they don't get into wide shots (esp with a softie on).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Philip Perkins said:

The M in most MS mics is a wide cardioid.  I want more "reach" than that, esp for an on-camera mic.

 

Stereovideomic-x PDF seems a bit unclear in regards to the polar pattern for a stereo mic. Especially when compared to Stereovideomic-pro PDF (obviously different mics - similar in concept), but it looks like they've only published the polar pattern for a single mic element and nothing to correspond to the xy configuration (unlike SVM-pro):

http://cdn1.rode.com/svmx_manual.pdf

http://cdn1.rode.com/126-954-2-1_SVMP_datasheet.pdf

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Rode Stereo VideoMic X can be powered by an usual 9 V battery and/or with 48 VDC phantom power through the two 3-pin MiniXLR male sockets.

I didn't notice any difference between dual phantom power and a new 9 V internal battery but I couldn't test it thouroughly.

When battery power is low (wihtout any phantom power provided), Rode mentions that mic performance is degraded. The power LED turns red (if power is good it's green when the mic is ON, obviously when OFF no LED is lit) and I suppose green LEDs are dimmed.
Gain and filter settings are remanent even if not powered at all (battery removed, no P48).

When both phantom power are present the mic operates on phantom power even if a good 9 V battery is installed (according to the manual, not tested).

When one phantom power is lost (wthout any 9 V battery installed), the green LEDs are dimmed and the power LED turns red. Doesn't matter if Left or Right phantom power is lost. I suppose performance is degraded like if battery power is low (not tested nor documented).
Now as I tested it I noticed an odd not systematically reproductible error: Normally when one phantom power is lost (no 9 V battery installed), both L and R audio outputs are usually still available though in some cases only the phantom powered one remained available while the other one was muted.

When a good 9 V battery is installed, if one or both phantom power are lost, the mic reverts to battery power (no LEDs are dimmed and the power LED remains green) but switching on or off any phantom power causes shortly an audible noise.
If a 9 V battery is installed and only one phantom power is lost it's not specified if the mic is powered only by the battery or only the channel without phantom power and if the battery level plays a role (i.e. when the battery is low but still useable if the mic uses only single phantom if the 2nd phantom power is missing).

I also noticed a quite audible level difference between the L and R output but I must check it more in detail.

No idea if the high frequency boost should be used when using the provided windjammer or if it's better to boost in post.

The Rode Stereo VideoMic X is delivered with a clip-on elastomer/foam pop shield, a clip-on wind shied (windjammer, some sort of deadcat) and a 3.5 mm male/male TRS short spiraled red cable. Warranty is 10 years if registered. Unfortunately no MiniXLR cables are provided.

Approximate weights as I measured them (with 9 V battery installed, no cables):
- Bare (no wind shield, no pop shield): 318 g
- With pop shield: 354 g
- With wind shield: 379 g

With some care it can be used without wind nor pop shield though it's better to leave the pop shield on as it's like a soft elastic ball offering some basic protection.
Only one shield can be used at the time, both shields are simply pushed in place and hold by friction. Unless bumping in something they shouldn't fall off.

As I tested the mic with a DSLR I didn't find the weight to be an issue, the DSLR alone being about 2.5 kg with the basic lens (not a tele) but despite the Rycote shock mount I wouldn't use it on-camera as it easily picks up mechanical noise; even when focusing manually, there's a slight mechanical lens noise which can be heard. Also drive noise can be heard when lens aperture is changed. I'm referring to noise made by the lens mechanism itself, not due to the manual handling. Of course handling noise will also be audible, changing some settings caused annoying noise (for example turning some main or sub dial).

IMHO the RF immunity is not as good as claimed, cell phone interference can easily be heard (using balanced XLR and it's not related to the used recorder), at least compared to the RF biased Rode NTG3 shotgun mic which is extremely RFI robust. Holding a cell-phone transmitting at maximal power directly against the NTG3 does not lead to audible interference while with the Rode Stereo VideoMic X the interference noise level is very high with the same test.

I forgot to mention that autofocus is way too noisy also I never used autofocus with any video camera. I've no experience with DSLR video, I formerly used some 1/2" and 2/3" 3CCD ENG cameras both with integrated and detachable recorder but that was quite some time ago (all Fujinon and Canon lenses I remember were manual focusing, modern DSLR lenses are awfully bad to focus manually and overall ergonomics don't make DSLR suitable for video unless using very odd cumbersome rigs but that's just my POV).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Audio recorded on a DSLR is compromised in any case, adding a higher-fi (thus more expensive, larger and heavier) mic will not change that.  I thought were talking about MS or on-camera mics for video cameras that can record at least decent audio.  Those little plastic shotguns, by whatever manufacturer are fine for DSLRs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thanks for the detailed info Reva!

 

I'm not so much interested to use it as an on camera mic for run-and-gun (to me stereo doesn't seem the best thing for that) but rather for compact ambient recordings.

 

admittedly something like a Sony-PCM100 might be better suited for that at a similar price point.

chris

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're welcome.

I just tested the Rode Stereo VideoMic X mounted on a DSLR hotshoe to check mechanical noise issues but I used an external recorder with 48 V phantom power though levels are compatible with typical DSLR external stereo mic inputs and there's a pushbutton to cycle through -20 dB / 0 dB / +20 dB which affects both 3.5 mm TRS and Mini XLR outputs. Cycling is always in the same order which means that for example when 0 dB is set and you want -20 dB you first get +20 dB after pressing the pushbutton once and pressing it again you reach the -20 dB setting.

The unbalanced 3.5 mm TRS socket stereo (indeed it's dual mono, one per capsule) output is available also when Mini XLR (also called TA3F (F for female) or sometimes Tiny XLR) are used. I didn't check it for unusual conditions like only single phantom power or low battery. Didn't check if there are audible differences between Mini XLR balanced and 3.5 mm TRS unbalanced.

It would be possible to dual record "stereo" (or more exactly "dual mono") using both Mini XLR as well as the 3.5 mm TRS "dual mono" jack but I don't expect it to be useful, if phantom power is available it should be used and there is only one preamp per capsule so in case of a preamp failure both balanced and unbalanced outputs will probably die together in most cases, not even mentioning the lower RFI performance of unbalanced cabling. Further, 3-pin Mini XLR, though being much more fragile than regular XLR, still feature a locking mechanism (not sure if it works with all common female cable connector models). If dual recording is required, typically with some preset level offset, it should rather be done internally by the recorder using 2 mic input channels rather than using 4 mic input channels.

The aluminium camera hotshoe mount features a 5/8" threaded hole which is compatible with usual threads of boompoles, photo/video and lighting accessories (not to be confused with the smaller 1/4" threaded hole of common video and still imaging cameras but there are thread adapters).

Overall the aluminium case (including an aluminium battery compartment door) is well built but the protection of the XY caspules still is quite limited even if using the pop shied or wind shield. If handheld carefully with some generic grip, or boompole-mounted, there are no handling noise issues (just tighten the mount locking knurled aluminium ring even if not used to avoid rattling noise), I mean not more than with other lyre-mounted mics.

IMO it's some sort of compromise between fragile toy-like DSLR hotshoe mics and commonly used professional stereo mics. It's relatively expensive but OTOH some features can be useful and it's also relatively compact. For storage I'd highly recommend to get some foam-padded hard case like Peli or similar ones. The pop shield can be left mounted for storage but shall not be compressed.

Don't know if the OFF/75/100 Hz high-pass should be used or if it's better to use the recorder HPF or handle it in post. The same applies to the OFF/+6 dB high boost to compensate some windshield attenuation of higher frequencies. When changing dB, HPF or high boost there's some short clearly audible parasitic noise.

Make sure the used 9 V battery slides in and out very easily, don't even force it slightly in place or it could be difficult to remove it later (a small 90° hook made of a needle could be used to remove the battery, it will damage the bottom of the battery but not the mic). The battery I used slided in and out very easily. I'd recommend to use a battery as backup in case of phantom power problem. Presets are remanent even without any power but I didn't check if it's indefinitely or only for a limited time with some capacitor.
The nearly flush mounted temporary action pusbuttons are not very prone to accidental actuation and to power on the 0/I button must be pressed during slightly over 1 second (estimated).

Never carry or even lift the mic by holding the pop shield or wind shield, the shield will easily slip off and the mic could fall on the ground.

While I'm not an expert I'd mean that it's mostly for ambient sound, certainly not for dialogue nor music but it not intended for such uses. About the noise floor and possible L/R level mismatch I must check it more in detail. As I tested it quickly again I noticed a sudden increase of noise level in one channel, I verified that it wasn't related to the cables, recorder, RFI or so but suddenly the noise disappeared and levels were matching again correctly.
I'll have to further test but I'm nearly sure it is related to the mic as I used an other pair of XLR inputs and also reverted to battery power, switched again phantom power, etc.

Those interested should try to test the mic as YouTube and other videos are mostly not a very good reference especially as mostly DSLR or other lower end recording devices are used and other technical issues which make comparisons difficult.
Maybe someone could comment how the Rode Stereo VideoMic X performs compared to known XY capsules (handheld recorders, etc.).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used VideomicX on a documentary and it's the best (price/quality) video mic I've used so far (but I didn't test the Sennheiser MKE 440). Another option would be a Cinela Leonardo with CCM41 CCM8 mounted on the camera with some small hotshoe suport to offset the mic a bit further and use a small recorder like a Sonosax SX-R4 / Minir. I've also used this combo (with some Lectros) and had also a nice sound. (but it's not a cheap solution and you must be more "flexible" to do both jobs....)

 

Either way, when you have a mic mounted on a camera, it's not the same tool as on a boom. So it also should sound differently. It's more a "POV" sound.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×