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Help replicating this interview set-up??


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Saw this photo and thought the set-up could be ideal for recording lengthy oral history interviews. The goal is to encourage a relaxed conversational style with interviewees that may be intimidated by too much production (i.e., getting wired with a lav and/or sitting under an overhead boom rig). The set-up in this photo seems less intimidating with the mics placed off the eye line and a little further away (maybe 18").

 

My questions are:

1) What specific microphones would you use for this set-up? I'm assuming these are cardioid (super-cardioid) condensers with a pick-up pattern to allow some shifting of seated interview subjects?

2) Given the goal stated above, would you recommend this set-up as opposed to what I understand is the more traditional approach of using lav mics and/or overhead booms?

 

Before seeing this photo I was planning to purchase a MixPre 3ii and a couple hyper-cardioid Oktava MK-012 with overhead boom stands. I'm new to this so all suggestions are very much appreciated. Thank you.

 

michelle-obama-podcast-kb-main-200728-v2_075a9f1514c906a118deaf1bcffc287c.jpg

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This setup will work, obviously, but when I look at it, it seems as if this might be more intimidating  ---  the microphones are at eye level aiming right at the face  --  no way to ignore or forget about them. The advantages I see with this setup might be that it is a little bit easier to rig the microphones (mics on overhead stands will require possibly securing that stand with a sandbag, etc.), shorter cabe runs, etc. I think if interview participants are going to feel intimidated, this particular setup will do nothing to alleviate that problem.

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This pic shows the standard current NPR style interview setup.  Senn 416s (or equivalent), on low stands at talent-head height or often even lower than that looking up, with the mics at some distance from the talent.  This setup made what you heard on many NPR interviews every day until the virus forced them into phone-record situations.  Not my fave way to deploy mics with this pattern, but they have their reasons for doing this developed over zillions of interviews.  The OP mentioned Oktava MCO12s- on overhead stands: I am assuming you mean the cardioid version of that mic (by far the most common)?  That will sound fine, but one advantage the mics in the pic have over them is that those mics are hypercardioids, and thus have the potential to "pattern-off" more background noise (and sound like they have greater "reach") while being positioned far enough away from the talent that small head and body movements won't make them immediately sound off-mic (as they would in a super-close-talk radio DJ type setup).

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Interference tube (shotgun) mics like a 416 can problematic in some rooms and are generally avoided for interiors.

The Oktava 012's are decent. The lower than usual 10mV output should not be a problem with quality high gain preamps, Quality control issues and the China built 'counterfeits' have been discussed here, as well as modifications and seller options, but not lately. A search should be in order for the OP.

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Thank you for each of your comments. Much appreciated. I have one more question about microphone placement in this set-up, specifically where to aim the microphone?  Although hard to tell by the angle of the photo, it appears that Ms. Obama's mic is aimed directly at her mouth whereas Mr. Obama's mic is aimed in front of him with him speaking across the polar pattern (if that makes sense)? I know that overhead booms are usually aimed at the chin, but unsure how to aim it when on a lower stand that is more head level.

 

Also, I am not committed to the Oktava 012. Other mics I have considered are the Audix SCX1-HC, Audio Technica AT4053b or even stretching my budget a bit for the SENNHEISER MKH 50 or MKH 8050 if convinced they would be that much better than the others. Any thoughts about these choices? Or another specific mic recommendation for this set-up?

 

Thanks again for taking the time to share your expertise with me. I will definitely take all of it into consideration.

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8 hours ago, TrianaSound said:

it appears that Ms. Obama's mic is aimed directly at her mouth whereas Mr. Obama's mic is aimed in front of him with him speaking across the polar pattern (if that makes sense)?

You assume or know this photo is taken whilst they actually are recording? Maybe the still is taken before or after. It is always hard to tell from a photo, how things actually are at a location. Not to mention knowing the room acoustics etc. 

 

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1 hour ago, jozzafunk said:

You’ll never regret buying a 50

+1

For me, MKH50 is more versatile than the 8050 as it's easier to shock mount, wind protect and HPF lets you use it with I/Ps without bass cut. 8050 is smaller but needs more by way of shock mount, wind protection and the HPF is extra.

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4 hours ago, Vincent R. said:

You assume or know this photo is taken whilst they actually are recording? Maybe the still is taken before or after. It is always hard to tell from a photo, how things actually are at a location. Not to mention knowing the room acoustics etc. 

 

Very good point Vincent. That's one reason I wanted to get professional guidance from this forum before moving forward.

 

On 8/2/2020 at 10:58 AM, Philip Perkins said:

This pic shows the standard current NPR style interview setup.  Senn 416s (or equivalent), on low stands at talent-head height or often even lower than that looking up, with the mics at some distance from the talent. 

 

I guess if it's good enough for NPR then it's good enough for me 😆

 

On 8/2/2020 at 11:47 AM, Rick Reineke said:

Interference tube (shotgun) mics like a 416 can problematic in some rooms and are generally avoided for interiors.

The Oktava 012's are decent. The lower than usual 10mV output should not be a problem with quality high gain preamps, Quality control issues and the China built 'counterfeits' have been discussed here, as well as modifications and seller options, but not lately. A search should be in order for the OP.

 

I wasn't aware of the counterfeit thing. Will definitely do some further research if I decide to go with Octavas. 

 

3 hours ago, daniel said:

For me, MKH50 is more versatile than the 8050

 

These are good points and quite helpful if I am able to stretch the budget. 

 

Thanks again to everyone for contributing to this thread. You have been a great help.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/4/2020 at 5:03 AM, TrianaSound said:

I wasn't aware of the counterfeit thing. Will definitely do some further research if I decide to go with Octavas. 

Also watch out for the same when buying a 416, it is after all the most popular shotgun to be counterfeited. 

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Counterfeit 416s are widespread and generally really crappy mics, you really need to be careful, since by now lot of people have them, don't realize they are counterfeit, and then sell them onward with good intentions.  The Oktava "counterfeit" story is more complex, and the mics that some call "counterfeit" actually perform as well or better than "genuine" Oktavas of that period (early '00s).  This issue is long in the past now, and any Oktava you buy new from a USA dealer is probably a genuine Russian mic. 

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