View Full Version : mic ?


movieman1005
12-12-2008, 08:42 PM
I've decided to use 2 cameras I already have to shoot my first project. They are quite old, but I should be able to edit them on the computer if i already have the dazzle dvd recorder, right? And i can add SOME effects, right?. Ok, the main ? concerns the mic. If I get one with the xlr cable, which i believe is the better quality one, will i be able to plug it into my camcorder? The 2 that I have are the Sony (cant find the code number right now) but it's an hi8 from 2001. The other one uses vhs, and i its older. Its a Panasonic AG-170. I would search online to get a better idea of each of them, and yes the second one is especially OLD. But they still work pretty well and I think ill wait and maybe get the hv30 when it goes down in price. Anyway, the panasonic camera does have a mic output, however, i dont think the sony does. It has a A/V out input and a S video out input. I dont think these can have a mic. put into them, but tell me if i am wrong. The input on the panasonic just says mic input, but i believe it looks like the modern 1/8 or whatever mic input, so could it be the same or could it still work? Another ?. If i get a mic with xlr (better quality mic, i presume?) what adaptor do i need to get? What cable would i buy, also to keep it longer yet good quality? And now im thinking ill either get a 200 or 300 something mic or something like a sennheiser around 1000. Any suggestions on those? Which one sugg? Thanks again! much appreciated!

cibao
12-12-2008, 08:55 PM
Wow...I think that you might as well get a good mic with an 1/8th plug. Your XLR won't plug into either of those (at least without an 1/8 adapter, which loses the plus of the XLR). The XLR is only good if you have an XLR input.

If you're going to spend up to a grand, I suggest that you find a better camera, and get a good 50 to 100 dollar mic. For 900 bucks you can pick up a decent 3 ccd camera, maybe even a consumer HD.

Chris

P.S. Someone with more knowledge than I've got will probably be able to help you more than I did though.

VladCantSleep
12-22-2008, 03:55 PM
Wow...I think that you might as well get a good mic with an 1/8th plug. Your XLR won't plug into either of those (at least without an 1/8 adapter, which loses the plus of the XLR). The XLR is only good if you have an XLR input.

If you're going to spend up to a grand, I suggest that you find a better camera, and get a good 50 to 100 dollar mic. For 900 bucks you can pick up a decent 3 ccd camera, maybe even a consumer HD.

Chris

P.S. Someone with more knowledge than I've got will probably be able to help you more than I did though.

I wouldn't say there are "good" 50-100 dollar mics. If you want "good" sound, 200-300 for a mic is the most reasonable price range.

I would suggest that you get a new camera. There ARE ways you can jump hoops, and still record sound. For example, you can buy a microphone, an XLR to Mini adapter, and a sound recorder with a microphone jack. You could then edit the sound and the video together in post. But I really would not recommend this. If you value your sanity even one bit, I suggest you save up some more money, and get a new camera along with your microphone.

Also, why two cameras? Many great films, and tv shows are made using only one camera. I

Dave Pastecchi
12-27-2008, 02:03 PM
ok..i think i just need to go there.....lol....cant help myself
I wouldn't say there are "good" 50-100 dollar mics. If you want "good" sound, 200-300 for a mic is the most reasonable price range.

i would change this to...ok..you dont have a mic and only have 300. so get the starter mic that has..less than good sound...very crapy sound...but it looks like a real mic...and has an XLR connector on it...

but for this price range...you dont have many choises...you are in the Costume Jewery Deptartment still....dont expect this mic to give you GOOD SOUND...it will give you sound and maybe if you plan you scenes well for sound...you will have USEABLE sound...which is far better than what your onboard camera mic will ever give you...

good sound gear will always outcost any HD camera you can buy..fact...if you want the same sound as the big boys...you get a soundperson with good gear like they do....

but i cant sit here and read things like..."yeah 300. is plenty for a good mic to get great sound with" if that were true..i would have to kill myself for spending 3000. on a mic and having 9 of them....not to mention getting into wireless gear...add another 20,000. for mics...GEE !! and all i really needed was 300bucks insted of all these mics....haha

just had to rant....
now i feel better :)

VladCantSleep
12-27-2008, 04:13 PM
ok..i think i just need to go there.....lol....cant help myself

i would change this to...ok..you dont have a mic and only have 300. so get the starter mic that has..less than good sound...very crapy sound...but it looks like a real mic...and has an XLR connector on it...

but for this price range...you dont have many choises...you are in the Costume Jewery Deptartment still....dont expect this mic to give you GOOD SOUND...it will give you sound and maybe if you plan you scenes well for sound...you will have USEABLE sound...which is far better than what your onboard camera mic will ever give you...

good sound gear will always outcost any HD camera you can buy..fact...if you want the same sound as the big boys...you get a soundperson with good gear like they do....

but i cant sit here and read things like..."yeah 300. is plenty for a good mic to get great sound with" if that were true..i would have to kill myself for spending 3000. on a mic and having 9 of them....not to mention getting into wireless gear...add another 20,000. for mics...GEE !! and all i really needed was 300bucks insted of all these mics....haha

just had to rant....
now i feel better :)

I did not say good. I said "good". Quotation marks make a world of difference. Why? Because "good", is a relative term.

I'm sorry if I sound like a dick saying this, but that entire post was way out of line. Instead of actually posting something constructive, you decide to tell us how terrible our equipment is in comparison to yours. And no, you can't sit around and read things like "yeah 300. is plenty for a good mic to get great sound with", because no one wrote them. Of course, you can imagine to read things like that. As long as it gives your enormous ego a boost!

Will Vincent
12-27-2008, 08:42 PM
if you want the same sound as the big boys...you get a soundperson with good gear like they do....

Actually, if you want the same sound as the big boys, there's a HELL of a lot more involved than what happens on set. But yes, having a high end mic to capture on set audio is an essential PIECE of that equation. Ultimately though, you want the same sound as the big boys, you ADR almost every piece of dialogue in the film, and spend several days to several weeks (or maybe even months) in an expensive charged by the hour audio suite mixing all the elements of the sound track, dialog, foley, sound effects, score, etc..

For at least 95% of "indie" folk, that is the very large majority of people calling themselves indie film makers, a $300 shotgun mic is going to be about as swanky as their audio gear ever gets. Want to use something better, rent it, or hire a sound guy who comes with better gear.

The bottom line is though, you want to put plenty of thought and effort into getting the best quality recording you can because it will be much easier to work with later. If people gave even half the attention to audio as they do to all the cool camera angles, and shallow depth of field, and whatnot, the overall quality of "indie" flicks would increase tenfold, with no other changes. Sadly, far too many people don't give it much thought and as such, films that may otherwise be really entertaining, end up being painful to watch.

</rant>

VladCantSleep
12-27-2008, 09:35 PM
Actually, if you want the same sound as the big boys, there's a HELL of a lot more involved than what happens on set. But yes, having a high end mic to capture on set audio is an essential PIECE of that equation. Ultimately though, you want the same sound as the big boys, you ADR almost every piece of dialogue in the film, and spend several days to several weeks (or maybe even months) in an expensive charged by the hour audio suite mixing all the elements of the sound track, dialog, foley, sound effects, score, etc..

For at least 95% of "indie" folk, that is the very large majority of people calling themselves indie film makers, a $300 shotgun mic is going to be about as swanky as their audio gear ever gets. Want to use something better, rent it, or hire a sound guy who comes with better gear.

The bottom line is though, you want to put plenty of thought and effort into getting the best quality recording you can because it will be much easier to work with later. If people gave even half the attention to audio as they do to all the cool camera angles, and shallow depth of field, and whatnot, the overall quality of "indie" flicks would increase tenfold, with no other changes. Sadly, far too many people don't give it much thought and as such, films that may otherwise be really entertaining, end up being painful to watch.

</rant>

At least your post wasn't condescending ;)

Dave Pastecchi
12-28-2008, 12:38 AM
Actually, if you want the same sound as the big boys, there's a HELL of a lot more involved than what happens on set. But yes, having a high end mic to capture on set audio is an essential PIECE of that equation. Ultimately though, you want the same sound as the big boys, you ADR almost every piece of dialogue in the film, and spend several days to several weeks (or maybe even months) in an expensive charged by the hour audio suite mixing all the elements of the sound track, dialog, foley, sound effects, score, etc..


i really dont understand your ADR everything .... that is just not true...but big action films..a lot is true about that....but most of the films i have worked in had VERY LITTLE ADR..most actors dont want a "Phone Book" to come back to as Micheal Douglas said to me...he wants sound people to let him know when there is a problem and try to work with it so there is no ADR work to be done on a scene....

i have done plenty of NO BUDGET films to help people out so there is no ADR..othere than a word change or something like that...

SO NO...There is no reason Micro Budget Films cant have GREAT SOUND...and this is a big factor that takes away from smaller films...is that they sound like home movies...and that shouldnt be the case if people would start to open up and learn what approach should i take to get better sound for my film...

FILMS are VISUAL...but sound is a great part of the experience...and poor sound will take you out of that GREAT VISUAL...and sometimes, if not many, good sound will make the difference in a film...

And I have never seen a film that i didnt know was ADR all the way....you can see it right away...and its not the answer to good sound....and the ole "Just Wire Them" is not either...

i came to this site to try and help people...i may say things that dont seem like everything someone has told you...teachers etc. But i come with years of Doing...and I want people to have better sound...

i gonna rant, now and then. to get a point accross...not to As long as it gives your enormous ego a boost! that was not what i was doing...i was making a point...

if it upsets people...i wont post anymore...thats fine...unless someone asks me a question...and i will be glad to give some advice...but all i can say is "dont believe all the crap you read in magazines" the guy on the street doing this stuff knows what he's doing...and whenever one tries to teach new poeple things they should know...its the same all the time.."well thats not what we were taught or read about" ... No..its not...but dont be closed to it...you just might learn something.

I really wish you all well...and wish i was young and making films like you are...and yes i know...my Spelling and Grammer sucks :)

VladCantSleep
12-28-2008, 03:17 PM
Listen Mr. Pastecchi, you've made it in Hollywood. I understand that. You've done a lot of soundwork on a lot of big projects. You've done soundwork on a Johnny Depp flick. Just finished work on a Kristen Bell flick. I get it. You have a lot of knowledge and experience. But the problem is, you're trying to apply a Hollywood mindset to Independent films. I realize that high budget independent filmmakers do exist, but this thread starter is definitely not one of them. I'm not one of them. 99% of the people here are not them.

Most filmmakers on this forum (including myself) work under no-budget. We don't get paid for our work. We have to buy all of our own equipment, and are just a bunch of college students that struggle to find friends that can act. Do you understand why most of us will never even SEE 100,000 dollars worth of sound equipment, let alone buy it?

You're a big time boom operator, and I get that. Congratulations on making it! But the thread starter can't even afford a decent CONSUMER camcorder, I'm not sure how you can expect him to buy 100,000 dollars worth of professional sound equipment.

Dave Pastecchi
12-28-2008, 05:29 PM
[Listen Mr. Pastecchi, you've made it in Hollywood/QUOTE]
I live and work in NY...and i started with nothing barely abile to pay my rent....i worked for free to get started like most people....but everything i learned was thru listening to the old guys...and still do. And no one paid for my equipment...i put everything i made starting out into it....and i still put a lot into it...times and equipment always change and i have to change with it...

And i Still Work For Free to help people out on thier small NO BUDGET films...it makes me feel good to help people out....and give them good sound....it you lived near me and asked me to help you out...i would do it (time permiting of course)

[QUOTE]You're a big time boom operator, and I get that. Congratulations on making it! But the thread starter can't even afford a decent CONSUMER camcorder, I'm not sure how you can expect him to buy 100,000 dollars worth of professional sound equipment.
never said that...you will have to show me where i told someone to buy 100g in sound gear...i may have said to try and find someone to help them out who has gear...

you're trying to apply a Hollywood mindset to Independent films
the only mindset is that EVERYONE can have better sound on thier film if they go about it with a better mindset....

you have taken my post and blow it way out of order...if this is what you like to do...thats fine and doesnt bother me...nor do your insults...

but i will not change my mind and will never tell someone that this 2-300. mic will give good sound...it wont...you WILL GET BETTER sound than what your on-board mic will give you...and the way you put that mic to use will greatly effect the sound as well...as that is an outdoor mic...shooting indoors i would use a different 2-300. mic....

so bash away...im not going to respond again to this post

VladCantSleep
12-28-2008, 05:49 PM
Not sure where I bashed you in that post. I tried to be as sincere as possible.

You're 100% correct. If you can find someone with all the equipment and WOULD do it for free, you should. However, people like you are few and far. My University does not have a film club (I'm starting one ASAP), and I don't know a SINGLE person that has the kind of equipment you do. The closest thing to you I have, is a filmmaker friend, who is insanely busy and can never help.... And even if he could, his equipment is in the same range as mine.

So, when THE ONLY OPTION to pursue our hobbies is to buy our own equipment, and take care of everything ourselves, we have to settle for these 300 dollar mics. It doesn't help us in the least when you have to remind us that we will never be making top-tier movies because of the equipment we don't have, and will never have.

Beyond that, your career is in film. Not everyone here is doing this for a career. There are quite a few of us who are doing this because it is our hobby. It's not fun to hear about how shit our equipment is compared to "the big boys".

Will Vincent
12-28-2008, 06:39 PM
Ok, guys... this is really getting us nowhere here. Tempers flare, differences of opinion collide, it happens. But maybe we should try to corral the brow beating that this thread is turning into, what do ya say?

Dave, you clearly have experience and are speaking from that... helpful. Though perhaps a bit on the abrasive side, but hey who says we need a forum without any sandpaper-esque personalities? The bottom line of it is that you are offering your advice based on your experience. That's good. Yes, more expensive equipment does have the advantage of producing better quality material -- but either way in the hands of a novice a $1000 mic may well sound just the same as a $50 mic. Without the experience to go along with the expensive gear it's money that could probably be better spent on other things -- initially. Then as experience grows, upgrades are more feasible.

Vlad -- I understand where you are coming from with your posts, and I do agree to some extent. The vast majority of people here are working on no-budget shorts and as such likely don' t have the capital to invest in really high end gear. That is clearly the case in this instance as we're discussing a mic option for a CONSUMER (not pro or prosumer) camera. However, you could probably make these points without attacking Mr. Pastecchi.

How about we focus a bit on the good of this thread for a moment, rather than continue a fight that will get us all nowhere -- The original poster has enough foresight to realize that a good (or perhaps we should say "decent" or "ok") external mic is an essential piece of kit to go along with their camera...

How about we focus on the questions raised by the original poster, and offer suggestions of mic options, along with other important gear. If you disagree with something someone else has posted, no need to attack them, just offer a different suggestion. Then the original poster will be able to easily find said suggestions, do their own research and determine the best solution for their situation.

My guess is that solution in this instance will be a beachtek adapter, a boom pole, a good length of xlr cable (50' is usually enough for most folks working "on the cheap"), and a usable mic. There are a number of mic options out there, and many times budget is the overriding factor that determines what we wind up buying; but it's important to take into account a few things besides price....

First and foremost, WHAT is going to be shot? Documentaries that have a few prime time news type talking head interviews and a lot of voice over? Narrative film with dialogue, etc? Once you've determined the what, then you can determine the HOW... for this case, lets assume narrative film and the obvious answer is a shotgun mic mounted on a boom pole.

Before buying a shotgun mic of any sort, it's good to have a basic understanding of how they work... in the simplest terms, a shotgun mic has a very narrow pickup angle that extends like a cone from the tip of the mic, the longer the microphone body, the narrower the angle. So, basically if you want to have a nice precise pickup area, you'll want a longer shotgun. This is good if you will be doing more than medium shots & closeups with dialog. Naturally, the wider the shot the further away the mic has to be, so a narrower pickup pattern will help pinpoint the audio and reduce excess background noise.

With that in mind, the most versatile option would be something that has a shorter and a longer tube that can be interchanged. The Sennheiser has this with their K6/ME lines, there is a medium length capsule and a longer length capsule. For the k6 (power supply) and both capsules, you can expect to pay somewhere around $1k.

There is also an Azden mic that has a similar setup, though I believe the shorter length capsule is more of an omni mic (as in it "hears" in every direction) so it may not be the best solution, though the price is much more friendly -- I think something like $200 or so.

Audio Technica are a favorite among people on a shoestring budget because they offer pretty decent quality at very affordable prices. Are they top of the line? No, but they CAN provide you with very usable audio.

Other options would also include lav mics, either wired or wireless. And if you plan on doing voice over work, particularly for documentaries, there's nothing that quite compares to the sound a large diaphragm condenser mic provides.


Just to address one last issue (which I just read in Vlad's last post)... buying our own gear is not necessarily the only option. Rental is a very feasible option, and often times gear is available for free or nearly free from local cable access stations (of course that may not be the case everywhere)... But, it would behoove you to look into rental options, network with cable & TV stations, people who do freelance work for these stations, etc... another good option for finding people with gear to help is craigslist.com. There is a section of craigslist for virtually every major metropolitan area in the world, and there is a section specifically for "crew" under the gigs category. A simple free posting there can yield useful results for both cast and crew. ;)

Now.. can't we all just get along? :D

Dave Pastecchi
12-28-2008, 07:13 PM
Now.. can't we all just get along?
i hope so

My guess is that solution in this instance will be a beachtek adapter, a boom pole, a good length of xlr cable (50' is usually enough for most folks working "on the cheap"), and a usable mic. There are a number of mic options out there, and many times budget is the overriding factor that determines what we wind up buying; but it's important to take into account a few things besides price....

agree

With that in mind, the most versatile option would be something that has a shorter and a longer tube that can be interchanged. The Sennheiser has this with their K6/ME lines, there is a medium length capsule and a longer length capsule. For the k6 (power supply) and both capsules, you can expect to pay somewhere around $1k.

if you are going to hit this price point...there are much better mics to have...you are now in the realm of getting a great mic..although it will be used...but from a good source with a warrenty...and for less that that..there is the Saken CS-1..these can be had for around 650. new...this and the Sennheiser 416 are the only two SHOTGUNS i would ever think of swinging inside...and still work great outdoors. the CS-1 is a little shoter with the same sound...and outdoors as with the 416..it cuts nice with the wires...so if u are using lavs outside and then move to a CU shot...you can go to the boom and the two will cut nice together and there wont be a huge difference in sound...but always remember to get some AMB outside when using LAVS...laid under or mixed in a little while shooting...this will get rid of "THE IN YOUR FACE SOUND" from the lavs...we call it "Airing them out" and will make for a more natural perspective sound, dialogue...

Thanks for trying to set things in a better tone Will...as i will try myself

VladCantSleep
12-28-2008, 09:29 PM
I guess we have reached a common ground on something :) Flaring tempers will get us nowhere.

I'm not a professional, nor have I been doing film-making for very long. So, take my opinion for what it's worth. I really like the AT897, even WITH the terrible pre-amps of my camcorder, it gives me useable sound 99% of the time. I haven't used any other microphones in the price range, but the reviews seem to favor the AT897 in the 200-300 range. If you are willing to spend over 300, you can definitely trust what Dave and Will are saying. They know what they're talking about.

As for renting equipment: I don't really consider it an option. As a newbie film-maker, things generally take me twice as long to do. Another big problem that comes up very often, is scheduling. I had 2 shoots scheduled this week, and not a single one happened because something came up for my actors (who are also my friends). I wasn't happy about it, but then again, these are not people that I'm paying, so it's expected to happen from time to time.

There's also the advantage to knowing your equipment. If you have your own, you have literally unlimited time to experiment with it, and get to know it intimately. Knowing your "okay" equipment extremely well, may get you better results than not knowing your "amazing" equipment at all.

In the end, I think it's a matter of preference. Do you want to know your equipment? Do you want to be able to whip it out any minute and start shooting?

@Craiglist suggestion: I never knew that Craigslist had a crew section. Are there a lot of people offering to work for free?

Dave Pastecchi
12-28-2008, 09:40 PM
There's also the advantage to knowing your equipment. If you have your own, you have literally unlimited time to experiment with it, and get to know it intimately. Knowing your "okay" equipment extremely well, may get you better results than not knowing your "amazing" equipment at all.

In the end, I think it's a matter of preference. Do you want to know your equipment? Do you want to be able to whip it out any minute and start shooting?

@Craiglist suggestion: I never knew that Craigslist had a crew section. Are there a lot of people offering to work for free?
i agree with this...there is nothing like having you own equipment...and many times i have to jump in to help out a friend who gets hurt or sick and not knowing thier equipment when i get there...i have to fumble around a bit to get things going...im not in my comfy zone...so that is always true...

and you should also try Mandy.com this is a place i go to when i have time off to look for people to help that are near me..all i ask is that they feed me and pay my gas and expendables...this is all you have to offer someone...there are people out there wanting to help you...you just need to find them

be well

Will Vincent
12-28-2008, 11:29 PM
Exactly.. there aren't so much people out there advertising that they want to work for free -- but they can be found easily enough by putting out a call to them. Post an ad with info about the shoot and what you're looking for and people will crawl out of the woodwork. It's eerie, but helpful! :D

And I agree, scheduling can be a nightmare -- especially if you are trying to budget for rental gear -- when working with unpaid cast & crew. Though in the end things always seem to work out one way or another. Filmmaking is a fly by the seat of your pants non-stop series of compromises that (hopefully) end up with a beautiful story.

VladCantSleep
12-29-2008, 12:54 AM
Exactly.. there aren't so much people out there advertising that they want to work for free -- but they can be found easily enough by putting out a call to them. Post an ad with info about the shoot and what you're looking for and people will crawl out of the woodwork. It's eerie, but helpful! :D

And I agree, scheduling can be a nightmare -- especially if you are trying to budget for rental gear -- when working with unpaid cast & crew. Though in the end things always seem to work out one way or another. Filmmaking is a fly by the seat of your pants non-stop series of compromises that (hopefully) end up with a beautiful story.

Tell me about it. I have a shoot in 7 hours, and one of my actors has gone missing. I haven't been able to reach him in like 5 hours. :/

I'll have to try getting a crew for the next shoot. Thanks for the advice guys :)

movieman1005
12-29-2008, 07:01 PM
thanks for the help. Hopefully you guys are best friends now! Anyway, I posted a sort of "Help wanted " post on craigslist. You can find it on the places will mentioned under green bay wisconsin. Am I asking right? And I was curious more about these people for broadcasting companies or something that rent equipment for free? Can you give me more info on this? If I can borrow the audio equipment, that would be a huge burden off my back! Thanks again!