What microphone for camcorder?

Discussion in 'Camcorders, Action Cams & Video Making Forum' started by j0n_d, Jan 11, 2007.

  1. j0n_d

    j0n_d
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    Hi there.

    Could anyone give any advice on what microphone I should buy. I am about to buy the Canon XM2 to do some amateur student filming and want to buy a descent microphone that will pick up sound nicely. I would like to use it on a boom pole as well as mount it onto the camcorder.

    I understand there a 3 different types: directional, uni-directional and shotgun, can anyone suggest which would be best for me and my projects?

    Many thanks and great forum site :)
     
  2. senu

    senu
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    The usual suspects are the Rode VideoMike ( theres a new model and the older one may be discounted) or better ( and costlier The Sennheiser MKE 300D)

    There are Very good all round mikes and rather than get 2 for specific needs I would put them on top of any shortlist
     
  3. toadoftoadhall

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  4. redsox_mark

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    The thing is if you have a directional mic, these are generally mono, as you are directing them somewhere, to pick up a specific source (like the person talking). A directional stereo mic seems an odd concept, it needs to be directed at 2 different places to be stereo. If you are making a film you generally use multiple mono mics and you mix the sound to be stereo or 5.1 or whatever.

    Rode does have a new stereo shotgun. You can think of it as being directional to the entire field in front (rejecting rear noise), rather than directional to a specific point/area.

    It depends on your needs which is best, but it is not as simple as stereo is better than mono.
     
  5. Andy Mack

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    So is the Rode Stereo mic not as focused in its direction?
     
  6. redsox_mark

    redsox_mark
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    In short, yes. They call it "XY" - you basically have 2 mics pointing forward, one to the left one to the right. But they they cross eachother - the one on the left points right, the one on the right points left. So you get some direction, and stereo sound within that range. With the mono mic the sound pattern is more narrow, towards that single point where it is directed.
     
  7. Andy Mack

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    so there really is no point in spending the extra £40 in a stereo directional mic? if you want stereo sound you'd be better to buy 2(or more) mono mics?
     
  8. redsox_mark

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    It depends. Ideally you have multiple mono mics and some sort of mixer, but that is more complicated. If you want to keep it simple, and get stereo sound from what is roughly in front of you, then a stereo video mic mounted on the camcorder is a good choice.

    I was just making the point there is a reason for a mono mic - because you want to record one source with it.
     
  9. J1mbo

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    I seem to remember posting about this somewhere on the board before. Mark is on the ball as usual!

    The two most common ways to record stereo sound are the previously mentioned 'XY' or 'crossed pairs' - 2 directional mics pointing across each other at an angle right and left and 'MS recording' or Mid and Side. This uses a directional mic ('M' or 'Mid') facing forward with another mic with a 'figure-of-eight' pick up pattern placed across it pointing both left AND right (it picks up both sides). With this system the sound engineer can adjust how much forward signal vs side signal he wants in the stereo image, giving different 'depth' to the sound etc. MS pairs are generally combined together in one package in the TV industry and so this is usually what you get when you buy a 'stereo mic'. Not so with the Rode. The XY technique usually involves two seperate mics (Senny 416's etc) so is something you'd generally put together yourself each time. Stereo recording comes into play with background atmosphere (crowd noise, the sea, rain in a forest, a car driving by) or obviously with live music.

    I have no idea how good the Rode is with forward facing recording (say bolted onto the camera) but I REALLY wouldn't suggest putting this on a pole. You need a concentrated directional pick up for most boom work as you're almost always pointing the mic at 1 or 2 people TALKING. Dialogue is always recorded in mono.

    Getting back to Jons question - if you're a student does your college/uni not have some kind of audiovisual department? Any way to borrow gear? If you're getting to the stage of boom work and short film making you may wish to borrow some nicer stuff (camera included). Where is the boom-pole coming from for instance? Could you rent equipment when you actually shoot? This would give you the option of getting gear to suit the project and if you decide you hate the whole filming malarkey your not stuck with yesterdays camera and mics. Just thinking aloud...
     
  10. redsox_mark

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    J1mbo,

    Thanks - very informative post! I only knew the answer at a very high level, you filled in the details.
     
  11. J1mbo

    J1mbo
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    You flatter me Mark :D .

    My decription of the MS technique is rather over simplified but you get the idea! I've never had a chance for a good play with one as yet. Couldn't justify the £1000+ price tag on something that would rarely come out of the box!

    Actually I should qualify that when I said MS mics are what you get when you buy a 'stereo' mic this refers to industry spec ONLY. No domestic stereo mic would use this system.

    I seem to recall someone telling me that the BBC did try and record Eastenders in stereo for a short period, dialogue and all. They allegedly stopped because it became nightmarish to swing the boom on dialogue as all the background and middle perspective changed radically with every move of the pole!

    The stereo mics on the front of some of the higher end camcorders (FX1 etc) aren't bad actually.
     
  12. j0n_d

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    Hi thanks for all the great replies you have given to my question. A little more about my situation. Where I have said I am a student, what I mean is I am teaching myself, making short films with friends, so I don't actually have access to college or school equipment. I contemplated about renting equipment but because this is a group excerise and is something that will be done over and over again I feel buying my own stuff will be cheaper in the long run. It's is just a hobby really but the last film we did we used just the onboard mic for a small dv cam. the sound was truely awful. luckily we did rescue and enhance it with the aid of audio software.

    This time round we are making a zombie movie and have a lot more interest regarding friends wanting to be extras (zombies), so I want to look more the part this time. To have better equipment would be great. There is a little bit of a budget issue but I am prepared to spend a couple of hundred pounds on the mic.

    So by the sounds of it (excuse the pun) the directional mic would be best yes? Alot of shots will be filmed in an enclosed space (a small cabin) actually. I know that with the small space the sound could be tricky. But if I use a directional mic attached to a boom would this be best?

    Thanks again for your help!
     
  13. J1mbo

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    Sorry to bump this post - meant to post this reply earlier...

    Jon

    Sounds like fun this zombie project! Directional mic on a pole is usually the best way to go for most film projects, but don't forget that if you have little space (and worst of all a low ceiling!) you may have problems keeping the boom out of shot. If you have little actual dialogue in your film you may want to go the Robert Rodriguez 'El Mariachi' route and add all the sound later when you edit the piece (doing Zombie groans in edit is FUN, I've done it!) This frees you up immensely in terms of what you can shoot and will make filming MUCH quicker. Sound and picture almost always conflict with each other at the shooting stage.

    Good luck!
     

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