Jump to content

M/S mic for documentaries

Recommended Posts

I don't shoot videos using DSLR, but with the body I used to check mechanical noise, especially due to the lens and when settings are changed manually on the DSLR (for example rotating the main or sub dial), will not allow a satisfactory sound quality with a hotshoe mounted mic.

IMO even using a shotgun with Rycote lyres camera noise will still be a problem (here not discussing the basic pros and cons of using a hotshoe-mount mic as such). Possibly other cameras and lenses are less problematic but I don't know as I haven't checked it. I used several constant aperture f/2.8 zooms and all cause some slight noise even if focusing manually and disabling optical stabilization, old lenses with direct mechanically acting focusing ring are nearly silent but the ident noise of the aperture ring will mostly still be heard and the issue related to operating camera controls remains.

If not mechanically connected to the camera there are no handling noise issues with the SVMX as long as it's handled carefully (can even be handheld but it's not very convenient, using some grip with a 5/8" thread or 1/4" to 5/8" thread adapter or a boompole will be safer and more convenient.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


The biggest problem using M/S is the susceptibility to handling noise. The figure 8 mic will pick up the slightest vibration. To record M/S well you need superb isolation. We use 



as well as


and cotton gloves on the boom when boomed, along with the best M/S windshield/suspension you can afford. 

In a doc interview situation we put the M/S mic on a stand using a boom buddy.

We use either a AT4053b or AT4051b for interiors, 416 for exteriors, and MKH 30-P48 for the side.

If time allows, we will use also simultaneously use Tram50s or Countryman B6s.

Veterans may pooh-pooh the AT's but they have worked for us, and having flexibility in the M/S imagery by having the two capsules has been a must. I also do not see the benefit of using the 418 as you need to have a lot more variability in your Mid element to produce reliable results.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's extremely important to have a mic on camera when shooting documentary. Not for technical problems like sych, but for the proximity you get with your subject. The POV of the cam wich isn't always the one of the boom. It's quite challenging to get the sound right, lots of variables, noise of handling, right mic and size, the willingness of the DP to have one on board. MS is a nice option but better have a good mono. 


I as I DP always ask to have one. 



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