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Grant

Best mic for specific location

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Good evening everyone,

 

I almost hesitate to add to a topic that has been so roundly discussed, but in this case, my environment is the same, over and over, and the micing happens to be identical....

 

I would like to determine best micing practices and equipment for the specific and fixed live indoor locations around the House and Senate sides of the US Capitol, including the office buildings that adjoin them. I can pretty safely say that these circumstances never vary :

 

Guest is always looking into the lens - no concerns about head-to-mic relationship varying while on air (ie : a close pickup pattern on chosen mic not likely to be an issue)

All shots are live to air - there'll be no post processing - in fact I don't think there's any actual recording of the segments these days

The acoustics range all the way up to 'brutally reverberant' - we're talking rotundas that are open to 2 or 3 floors, also looking down block-long empty corridors, and every surface is marble - horizontal and vertical. Echo chamber extremus.

The very worst thing that can happen during an on air location segment is a cleaning crew pushing a plastic cart with hard wheels - it would be hard to create a more distracting set of sounds - and it goes on and on, as the video crew frantically waves - invariably, to no avail. No wait, there is a horrible acoustic competitor - a gaggle of sugar-laden school children on tour!

I see no reason to lean more towards booming, or to lav micing. Whichever is used, it's essential for the crew to jump in and affix, then dress IFB for the guest. Whether adjusting a boom mic or lav, it will be about the same amount of work. I do note however that a Senator cannot walk off and rip the head off a Sonotrim mic, when the mic is in fact an overhead boom. (I remember each time we pass in the corridor, ahem. She has no idea....).

 

I think that's the entire spec. In terms of optimizing results to a closely repeatable set of acoustic conditions, there's one other thing that I am curious about - if one really wanted to see what is possible, is this a candidate project environment for adding a 2nd mic, off guest, and phase-reversing then mixing it with the talent mic (we'd need to mix down to a single audio channel before delivery down HD-SDI lines)? It would at least be an interesting experiment. If employed, I would have to satisfy myself that it worked simply and reliably - live is live. I have never attempted this technique, but have always been curious about it's power to improve audio.

 

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The Schoeps Super CMIT is very good at reducing reverb and off axis sound, and can often give significantly better results than a well placed lav except perhaps headband wire mounted one, which might be impractical and undesirable.

 

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I've worked in that area as well and feel your pain.  A lav will generally give you better signal to noise, but I was working a show where we didn't want to see the mic, so lav'ing for short clips was not always possible.  I generally used a Sanken CS3e which has pretty darn good rejection, and it worked pretty well. I will say that nothing really makes the clips with the cleaning cart usable.  The sound of those things bouncing off miles of marble is brutal, and all you can do is wait until they painfully and slowly move away...   Or have an alternate corridor or room nearby that you can duck into.

 

As for the second mic phase reverse idea- It's a bit of a myth-  It only works in theory, in the real world there is too much difference between the mic signals and it will just create a variably comb filtered mess.  

 

Cheers,

Brent Calkin

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Thanks gents. This is single camera, and the formula is one person (guest can be a member of Congress or a correspondent) delivering straight to the lens. We're fixed on live lines, so moving will never be an option (we frequently get little warning that someone is about to be on air).

 

The CS3e sounds like a reasonable choice. I will rent one in for a day, and put it up against a Sennh. 416, my 'standard' shotgun in the gear list.

 

I was thinking that there might be a lav mic with a fairly tight pickup pattern, perhaps with a reduced sensitivity, in which case the mic would be placed higher on the lapel. By the way, there's no expectation that we're hiding lav mics in these shots. The crewing is minimal, and in peak times, talent can be rotating in out of the position quickly. 

 

I appreciate all the feedback.

 

Grant.

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Problem with using a cardiod lav instead of an omni is if the talent bumps it off axis then you're screwed. 

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2 minutes ago, IronFilm said:

Problem with using a cardiod lav instead of an omni is if the talent bumps it off axis then you're screwed. 

Just getting it on axis in the first place can be tricky, it needs a really precise mount/clip eg the DPA 4080 or a 'jaw' mic.

With just 1 camera to set an edge for, a boom is not a bad call (for speed as well) CS3e, MKH50 maybe supplemented with a DNS2 or similarly the all in 1 equivalent - super cmit. I guess there's no chance to rubberise the wheels of those cleaning carts with something like silicone tape?

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Recording anyone in a highly reverberant location is best done with a lav

if you are after the cleanest voice result.

I you want to display the acoustic then a boom will give you more of that.

 

mike

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4 minutes ago, mikewest said:

Recording anyone in a highly reverberant location is best done with a lav

if you are after the cleanest voice result.

I you want to display the acoustic then a boom will give you more of that.

 

mike

That's generally my instinct too but it has not always been my experience. A recent I/V in a circular cellar sounded better to my ear with an MKH50 than a cos-11. Albeit i got a sympathetic edge of frame from the camera department which meant the tip of the 50 was c.250-300mm from source, so a similar distance as the cos-11 but with the advantage of off axis rejection.

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Hey Grant, I think you may like the Sanken quite a bit- The Sennheiser 416 is a classic mic, and sounds good outside or in well damped spaces, but it fares really quite badly with excessive off axis reverberant sound.   It also lets in low frequency sound from all sides- it's not very directional at low frequencies.  The Sanken uses 3 capsules and some electronic magic to create off axis rejection at all frequencies.

 

For live work, I'd generally prefer the boom, as the lav is always at risk from inadvertent subject movement, although I agree with Mike that a lav will usually provide more isolation from the reverberation, and also greatly cuts down noise coming from the hallway BEHIND your interview subject.

 

Cheers,

Brent Calkin

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Therefore Grant rig both lav and boom and your ears will tell you what's best and the one to use

 

mike

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3 hours ago, mikewest said:

Therefore Grant rig both lav and boom and your ears will tell you what's best and the one to use

 

mike

SOP. Doubles ya chances, especially if you have no audition/review time.

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9 hours ago, Grant said:

 is this a candidate project environment for adding a 2nd mic, off guest, and phase-reversing then mixing it with the talent mic (we'd need to mix down to a single audio channel before delivery down HD-SDI lines)? It would at least be an interesting experiment. If employed, I would have to satisfy myself that it worked simply and reliably - live is live. I have never attempted this technique, but have always been curious about it's power to improve audio.

 

It will never work with a second mic placed somewhere in the room, not even in theory. 

But the Sanken CS3e and to a lesser degree the SuperCMIT both use this technique in some way

 

Regarding the cleaning crews: perhaps soneone from your team can be stationed around the corner and try to stop them there? Also if you spot them while setting up you can talk to them and try to get them to move somewhere else. 

Although there is probably another tv crew there

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9 hours ago, mikewest said:

Recording anyone in a highly reverberant location is best done with a lav

if you are after the cleanest voice result.

I you want to display the acoustic then a boom will give you more of that.

 

mike

Except the Super CMIT, for example I was recording a presenter in a medieval 40 foot stone walled cube room, with stone floors, and a 15 foot stone table, reverb hell, and the Super CMIT was significantly better than a standard shirt placed DPA radio lav I had on him, to the extent that it was maybe too good at cancelling reverb and didn't necessarily sound how it looked.....:)

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3 hours ago, Constantin said:

 

It will never work with a second mic placed somewhere in the room, not even in theory. 

But the Sanken CS3e and to a lesser degree the SuperCMIT both use this technique in some way

 

Regarding the cleaning crews: perhaps soneone from your team can be stationed around the corner and try to stop them there? Also if you spot them while setting up you can talk to them and try to get them to move somewhere else. 

Although there is probably another tv crew there

The capsules need to be as close together as possible (eg in the same mic body/tube) to be phase co-incident to then make this phase cancellation technique work. No point trying to do it with 2 separate mics any distance apart. Or to put another way, (in a test space like an anechoic chamber) if the distance between capsules is 34cm and you mix the same sources together equally, then without (even) inverting the signal of 1, you will attenuate the 500hz part of your signal, but less so everything else, because the mics will be half this wave length apart. 17cm apart will attenuate the 1000hz part of your signal, so on and so forth. Hence the 'flangy' sound of a bad mix. Of course, in the real world most sounds are bouncing off surfaces and causing mild attenuations of some frequencies and our brains devour this information to tell us things about the space we are in.

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I'd at least try a directional lav.  Not the big bulky ones that they use when a PA system is involved but one of the small ones.  They're delivering directly to lens and its ok for the lav to be seen.  If would be easiest/best on suits as you could put it on the tie and be assured its on pattern.  Might be trickier with woman's wardrobe. Another thought is a dynamic mic on the boom.  If you can get it in close enough and still be out of frame.  You could put a Cloud lifter or similar booster on it to be sure you have enough gain.

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What i do in situations like that is to take my M/S stereo mount for booming and put a short shotgun and a hyper (in my case a Gefell M310) in it, you record both channels and can decide later which works best, most times in reverberant rooms the hyper wins...

on a third channel i record a lav mic, so you got 3 choices.

mkh 416 i would not use indoor with a lot of reverb, thats the place where it shows an ugly performance, fart away from ear-candy...

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For me, the dominate choices in the situation you describe would be:

 

1). Schoeps 641 -- The smooth pattern of an MK41 capsule makes it a particularly good selection in reverberant spaces. A smaller mic allows you to be in a bit closer which also helps.  Yes, you will hear some of the reverb, but the naturalness and presence of this mic will allow your subject the be heard and understood clearly. If the camera person has any savvy, they'll allow you in close enough that this will be an excellent choice. 

 

2). Sanken CS3e -- has less rear lobe than most shotgun mics, which means you could even mic from below if overhead lights cause shadow challenges.

 

3). DPA 4080 directional lav.  Since the lav can be seen, you're in just the situation this mic was designed for.  It has a fairly steep low freq roll-off which is there to compensate for the proximity effect of a close mic'd cardioid. 

 

4). I've not used a Super-CMIT, but would consider it as a possible candidate based on what others have said.

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10 minutes ago, haifai said:

What i do in situations like that is to take my M/S stereo mount for booming and put a short shotgun and a hyper (in my case a Gefell M310) in it, you record both channels and can decide later which works best, most times in reverberant rooms the hyper wins...

on a third channel i record a lav mic, so you got 3 choices.

mkh 416 i would not use indoor with a lot of reverb, thats the place where it shows an ugly performance, fart away from ear-candy...

 

Commitment! I sometimes rig 2 mics on suspension for purposes of testing but shirk away from doing this in 'anger' on a job.

 

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1 hour ago, daniel said:

The capsules need to be as close together as possible (eg in the same mic body/tube) to be phase co-incident to then make this phase cancellation technique work

 

But they need to point the second mic in opposite direction of the first mic for any hope of a noise-canceling effect. If both pointed in the same direction, you'd just be canceling the desired signal. So it'll be a PITA to mount, for a slight hope of an actual wanted effect. In addition, I highly doubt it'll have much effect on the reverb

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As i almost work with a m/s there is nothing special for me to work with 2 mic array, better them switching mics in the middle of a shot 

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Of course. I was trying to explain why it wouldn't work in theory or practice for canceling (wanted) or unwanted sound. The capsules need to be co-incident and have some difference in the signal they're responding to, that difference, ideally being the part wanted. 

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5 minutes ago, daniel said:

Of course. I was trying to explain why it wouldn't work in theory or practice for canceling (wanted) or unwanted sound. The capsules need to be co-incident and have some difference in the signal they're responding to, that difference, ideally being the part wanted. 

 

Yes, we agree...

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i use a schoeps mk41 when i’m in shoots in hallways like the us government buildings. i prefer it over the cmit, cs3e, and the 4063 series lav. it also depends on the frame and overall feel of the scene. if its a tight shot the mk41 sounds the most balanced and natural. if they’re all wide shots lav is the way to go. if they’re shooting wide it makes sense anyways to have more room reverberance. i had a situation where the director wanted me to double boom (??i know...??) an interview. i had the mk41 and several other shotgun mics. the mk41 sounded the best. the softer, mellower rear lobe made it sound more natural. just my 2 cents....

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