interview mic: handheld or camera mounted?

Discussion in 'Professional Video Production' started by peter, May 29, 2006.

  1. peter

    peter Guest

    I'm shooting wedding for a relative.

    I want to have interviews on tape, so friends/family can comment on the
    wedding or offer their blessings.

    In the past I relied on on-camera mic. The result is always too much
    background noise. I want better result.

    TV news crew use a hand held omni mic to do this. One interview mic that
    gets mentioned often is electrovoice 635.

    Question is, does it have high enough output so that after a beachtek
    XLR-to-mini conversion, there is enough to be recorded by a camcorder like
    trv900? Or would I need a preamp?

    Is it also possible to use a camera mounted short shotgun mic (e.g. AT897)
    to achive similar result? It would be more convenient to not have to lug a
    mic+cable around. What is the pros and cons of the two approaches?
    peter, May 29, 2006
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  2. peter

    Rôgêr Guest

    I'm not familiar with the make/models you mention, but I'm familiar with
    the fact that interviews will have terrible sound if done with the
    built-in mic on the camera. Even a relatively cheap Radio Shack mic
    (non-XLR) will sound better than using the built in mic. The degree of
    complexity in other solutions can go sky high in cost and skills needed.
    Shotgun mics have a place, but not in doing interviews.

    Overall, a $30 wired mic from with a 1/8" connector
    will sound better for this project than a $200 shotgun mic.
    Rôgêr, May 29, 2006
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  3. The levels match nicely. I have that combination
    A camera-mounted mic is usually the worst possible
    choice. However for wandering through the reception
    and getting "hit-n-run" greetings, etc. a true short
    "shotgun" (actually a hyper-cardioid) might be workable
    depending on what kind of quality vs. spontenaety you
    are going for.
    Richard Crowley, May 29, 2006
  4. peter

    Ty Ford Guest

    Try a wireless plug on rig for a hand held. Give it to em and let em talk.

    Ty Ford

    -- Ty Ford's equipment reviews, audio samples, rates and other audiocentric
    stuff are at
    Ty Ford, May 29, 2006
  5. peter

    peter Guest

    That's a good idea.

    Also solved my fear of people tripping on the mic cable and pull the mic and
    camera down.
    peter, May 29, 2006
  6. That would be the very best way to get clean audio.
    Unfortunately, giving a microphone, wired or wireless to
    .........uh.......... amateurs who might have been to the punch bowl a
    little too often could spell disaster................ for your
    microphone. (unless it's a 635)
    It will also give EVERY director/talk show host wannabee at the event
    a chance to commandeer your production and show you how it's done and
    not take no for an answer. Then again, it could be really funny down
    the road and make you a few blackmail bucks .
    On the other side, if you hand someone a microphone they will most
    likely look at IT instead of the camera while they are talking. Or put
    it right on their lips. Or point it at anything or anyone who is NOT
    talking to the camera. OR........ they will clam up as soon as you
    hand it to them.

    Get a good shotgun, rig it to the camera and work close to you
    subjects as much as possible.

    Bill F.
    Bill Farnsworth, May 29, 2006
  7. peter

    Bob Ford Guest

    On the rare occasions (and I mean RARE) that I have done a wedding
    video I use my Telex that has a hand held module with an SM58 head.

    I prepped the speaker before hand, told them to speak directly into
    the mic and look at the camera and keep it brief. It has always worked
    well for me but then again I don't shoot weddings.

    Would probably prefer to have needles stuck in my eye ;-^)
    Bob Ford
    Images In Motion
    Bob Ford, May 29, 2006
  8. Oh. I hear what you are saying Bob. Believe me. And I agree with you
    110 percent. You gotta prep 'em.

    I have only done two weddings in the last 30 years.
    One was for an ex-wife. (I put the entire wedding to Spike Jones'
    "Cocktails for Two"!)
    The other was a real big deal. (I actually walked out of the Men's
    Room while Bill Gates was walking in. (That happened a year or so
    before the pie in the face bit and body guard era really got serious.)
    And my hat is off to the folks that shoot wedding videos. I don't know
    how they do it?

    But I digress.
    I have shot some "big affairs" and "Gala events" that didn't revolve
    around someone getting hitched, but the atmosphere has gotta be the
    same as a wedding reception.
    The liquor flows. Brains firing on seven cylinders. The crowd is
    having fun. The hams isn't just smoked. They're toked, soaked and
    sometimes pickled. (That idiot who just fell in the pool carrying
    wedding gifts was me!)
    But, I digress again.

    You are right. If it is a speech. Prep the presenters and give 'em a
    wireless mic.
    But I still say that if the guy is planning on wandering through the
    reception, looking for "man on the street" testimonials from guests,
    get the best shotgun you can afford, strap it to the camera, work

    (There has got to be a special spot in heaven for wedding shooters)

    Bill F.
    Bill Farnsworth, May 30, 2006
  9. peter

    washer Guest

    I agree with Roger's reply. A $20-$30 mic from Radio Shack, etc. with a
    15 foot cable will do just find. Make sure you have the 1/8 input plug
    on your mic cable) that will go directly into your Camcorder's mic
    input. Using your audio Headphones to monitor each speaker(s) will let
    you know if they should repeat their comments. The second time around
    might be the one that is the best to use.If you have a line of
    interviewers to speak, just let the camera continue to "roll" and that
    way you can select the footage you want. It's better to have more
    footage to choose from than not enough. This portion of your taping is
    really a "must" to enhance your wedding tape. Just to place a few
    interviews between your shots taken at the Reception, breaks up the
    "too much of the same thing". It's a good thing to add variety. Just
    pick a quiet corner (outside the main hall, if possible) to do your
    interviews while others are dancing. Have the DJ announce that anyone
    who would like to give comments are welcomed. By the speakers holding
    the mic and having them looking into the camera, will make them feel
    more at ease for a better shot. Make sure all those that are wearing
    "flowers" are included in your interviews. The more, the merrier!
    Remember, you don't have to include all those that you tape! You will
    have a much better tape of your "Wedding Day". Good luck

    washer, May 30, 2006
  10. peter

    peter Guest

    Wouldn't the wedding guests start singing if a SM58 head is handed to them?
    Which may not be a bad thing :)
    peter, May 30, 2006
  11. peter

    Bob Ford Guest

    The way I have done this is not to wander around the reception hall
    but have the best man make an announcement that I am ready to tape
    greetings to the bride and groom from anyone who wanted to
    participate. I set this up in an out of the way spot and have the
    guests come to my location. You may have to prompt the first person to
    talk but as soon as one does I found a long line waiting to
    participate. Actually made a nice segment on the wedding video for the
    B and G.

    I guess you could incorporate the singing so long as you had part of
    the gong show also.:)Bob Ford
    Images In Motion
    Bob Ford, May 30, 2006
  12. peter

    blackburst Guest

    My unsolicited, over-emotional 2 cents:

    The rule of good audio is always ACAP: As close as possible to the
    sound source.

    A mic two inches or 5 inches from the speaker's mouth will always sound
    better than the overused shotgun. I wish they'd outlaw the damn things.

    Wired is always the most reliable, but there are ,lots of solid
    wireless out there these days. If you're concerned about your wireless
    mic being abused, get the buttend transmitter, and mate it up with a
    cheapie, like a Behringer XM8500.

    There, now I feel better.
    blackburst, May 30, 2006
  13. peter

    peter Guest

    Good suggestion.
    When I need more vocal mics, I will buy XM8500 instead of SM58. It looks
    nice and the reviews aren't bad.

    Any other cheapie mics suggestions?
    peter, May 30, 2006
  14. peter

    blackburst Guest

    If you're concerned about your wireless
    I gotta tell ya, I love these things. (Uh-oh, I hear another Behringer
    debate coming...) I got the things from Musician's Friend at 3 for
    $60., so I bought a total of 12. I A/Bed them with an SM58. Lo and
    behold, very competitive sound, and even a slight boost in crispness
    from the XM8500. Rugged, with case and clip. And about 1/5 the price of
    the SM58. And disposable, if need be.
    blackburst, May 31, 2006
  15. peter

    Rick Merrill Guest

    I happen to like the audio automatic zoom mics! They change the spread
    depening upon the zoom of the camera itself! (they only attach via
    Rick Merrill, May 31, 2006
  16. peter

    blackburst Guest

    I just think that ther's NO substitute for closer miking, if at all
    possible. I've done a demo for TV students, recording the same
    materials with a closeup mic on one track, and the shotgun on the
    other. When I isolate them, they all go "wow" and pick the closeup as
    much better sounding.
    blackburst, May 31, 2006
  17. peter

    Rick Merrill Guest

    Absolutely. Interesting technique you have there: maybe you can tell me
    if you turn off AGC/ALC/auto-sound when doing that?
    Rick Merrill, May 31, 2006
  18. peter

    blackburst Guest

    I compsed a long reply to this yesterday, and when I went to send it,
    Google required me to sign-in again, and the post was lost. I hate

    It was done as a segment of a college course on TV production. I used a
    Tascam 2488 HD multitrack. The objectives were to show the students:

    1) How to distinguish between direct sound and leakage ("signal to
    noise", in a sense). For this, I used a person speaking, and I set up
    six Behringer XM8500 mics, starting about 6 inches from the speaker's
    mouth, with the other mics at 2 foot increments but aimed at the
    speaker. (one at 2 ft, next at 4 ft, next at 6ft, and so on.) The
    students recognized that ACAP - as close as possible - sounds better.
    (The exceptions are when close miking is impossible, or when the mic
    becomes overloaded.) In a related exercise, I used a caller on a phone
    hybrid to illustrate the difference between the DIRECT feed from the
    hybrid vs the foldback leakage into the host/guest mics.

    2) How to hear phase cancellation and comb filtering in a multiple open
    mic situation, using a similar setup. The objective here was to
    position the mics properly, and open and close them only as needed.

    3) How to distiguish between different mics. For this, I A/Bed between
    various mics: omni vs uni, dynamic vs condenser, closeup (condenser) vs
    distant (shotgun), lavalier vs stick, etc. Again, lots of "wow" and
    "a-ha" from the students.

    We recorded each exercise, so that in playback, we could isolate
    tracks. On the closeup vs distant (using distances ranging from 20 ft
    down to 3 ft), even seasoned audio people were amazed at the difference
    in the sound of the tracks.

    I don't mean to knock shotguns: In a very limited number of
    circumstances, they are the best choice; but too often, they seduce the
    user into making the lazy choice. ACAP is better at least 99% of the

    Hey, you're a cable access guy, aren't you?
    blackburst, Jun 2, 2006
  19. peter

    Rick Merrill Guest

    If fooling with cable access were like fooling with guns I'd have no
    toes left!-)

    I confess I'm enamored of the "zoom mic" that reads the camera zoom
    setting to adjust it's own setting. The perfect application IMHO is
    audience interaction of a medium sized room where all the participants
    think, "ve don't need no stinking mic".
    Rick Merrill, Jun 2, 2006
  20. Rick,

    The fundamental truth is that all microphones must obey the laws of

    The inverse square principle governing the amplitude of sound waves over
    distance tells us that as you move ANY microphone further from the sound
    source, the sound pressure level will drop off sharply.

    So called "zoom" microphones simply roll off low frequency information
    (which is inherently less "directional" while boosting the mics GAIN in
    an ATTEMPT to compensate for distance.

    Next time you "zoom" in on one of these, pay attention to the upper
    frequency HISS they add to your signal.

    "Low end rolled off and gain increased to the point of extra hiss" may
    SOUND something like you're "zooming in" but it isn't.

    It's the audio equivelent of "digital zoom" on a lens. Something I'd
    describe as "trading the appearance of being closer for a crappier

    Until you can break the laws of physics, the one thing you can do to
    create the best signal to noise characteristics of any mic, is to move
    it as close as possible to the sound you want it to record.

    William Davis, Jun 2, 2006
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