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Field audio recording to supplement photos. Help?

Discussion in 'Microphones' started by MJKauz, Oct 7, 2012.

  1. MJKauz

    MJKauz Active Member

    Hello,

    I'm new here and I couldn't really tell where the best place to post this would be but I figured I had to try somewhere.

    I'm looking to record more audio to supplement my photography work for audio slideshows and other work on this new(-er) website called Cowbird.

    I really love the depth that audio can add, and it allows me to write around subjects and focus on details while the audio plays.

    That being said, I have no idea what I should look at picking up for field recording. I also do some video work, and I am likely moving to the Middle East soon, and maybe would like something that could be used for news work with my DSLR video.

    I like to travel light, very light, and my budget doesn't amount for enough to pick up a Sound Devices 702+302 combo, so any other suggestions would be great.

    Thanks.
     
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    If you are looking for live record capture and a fair amount of versatility, in a very small package that's quite lightweight, I don't think you have to look any further than the ZOOM H4n. Great for capturing all sorts of audio at decent resolution selections. 2 phantom powered XLR microphone inputs with a capability of recording up to four simultaneous channels. Perfect for capturing sound for video purposes. Two lavalier interview microphones while picking up natural stereo ambience of outdoor and room tone use. The audio then on the camera is only for safety backup and synchronization purposes, never to be heard from in the final product (unless you found it desirable?). And you're off and cooking... whatever you're off and cooking.

    So then you also just need a couple of lavalier microphones for interview purposes and whatever else. Perhaps a shotgun microphone with a handheld boom that can also be stand mounted. UHF diversity wireless system if you can afford it. And you'll be ready for all sorts of field and studio audio. Nothing too big nor too big in this new tiny digital world.

    While I'm a moderate, a Democrat, originally from Detroit, I'm not really from the Middle East. I came from the east side of the Midwest. Where I understand today in Detroit, now lies the new Middle East?

    What are they going to call the Great Lakes when they run out of water? "Eerie" one through five?
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  3. MJKauz

    MJKauz Active Member

    Thank you Remy. I'll be out your direction (I'm looking for a residence) to work with Al Arabiyah starting in the next few months. I miss DC life.

    I'll be honest that I didn't completely understand your commentary about Detroit and the Middle East... maybe something about Dearborn?

    I returned the H4n because I didn't use it for more than one project, but now I have new ideas so I will probably have re-buy it.

    Any recommendations on a good shotgun microphone for the H4n? The lav you mentioned is what my current newspaper has but they run at around $650 for a set, it seems. I have done one project with the H4n and the lavs, as well as a Rode Videomic that is on its last leg, and will keep that in mind. I'm not sure if I can link here, but I could possibly show you three ideas of what I'm going to be doing?

    I'll give it a try...

    "I'll be your President too..." by Mark Kauzlarich

    ZAHOOR by Aaron Huey

    What I Want, What I Don't Want by Dylan Hollingsworth
     
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Quality microphones of any type aren't cheap. Well that's not entirely true but when it comes to something specialized such as lavalier and shotgun microphones, there is not a huge selection.

    You indicated you had a videomic, on its last leg? Must have given it some hard use? AT makes a couple, I have... of course... a long one... because size does matter. It's only about $240 US. Sennheiser makes some smaller modular shotguns based on the same barrel as the MKE 2, lavalier can fit onto, making it double duty. But that's yet more money than the AT. Which I also have. And I've got a really old Sony shotgun that's almost as long as the AT, quite a bit bulkier, heavier, one piece like the AT. And that wasn't cheap. There really aren't any decent inexpensive shotgun microphones that won't set you back a couple of hundred dollars each.

    Those examples you posted were... interesting. Yes, shotgun would be handy for a lot of that. Again though desirable, not necessarily 100% necessary. Even a SHURE SM58 can be quite effective for what you want to record. Though you may still need a portable boom pole. The slight bandwidth limitations of the dynamic microphone is effective in reducing other interfering noises, coupled with its lesser sensitivity. So sometimes that broadband condenser microphone isn't always applicable for field audio capture without the expensive and associated large windsock blimp like wind filter/sock, to encase a long shotgun microphone. Usually very necessary when used outdoors. And it's not unusual for a set or pair of decent lavalier microphones to cost $650. I have over $3000 of these lavalier microphones of different brands and types. They not only sound quite different from each other, some are actually inverted phase to each other by virtue of the capsule is wired. This is not a problem at the output of the XLR but a difference in how the microphones were created. So that throws an additional monkeywrench into things when you get Sennheiser and Sony lavalier and shotgun microphones together. And few people realize this. And that's a nasty surprise to have at a location shoot. Many of these lavalier capsules are wired directly to RF wireless microphone transmitters, without their XLR barrel outputs and the Sony and Sennheiser's are reverse phase from each other. They are in phase however when you take the XLR outputs. But if you mount a Sony capsule on a Sennheiser or a Sennheiser capsule on a Sony, you're guaranteed they will be out of phase to anything else you have. And this problem occurs when utilizing wireless transmitter packs that have Sony and Sennheiser capsules. So by themselves they are fine together, they are not. This is something that can kick you in the ass when you least expect it.

    There are other great shotgun microphones out there but they will cost you your first born male child. So the RODE may be your only economical selection? I think AZDEN may be offering a less expensive shotgun microphone today? They have offered some decent lesser expensive wireless microphone systems. Mostly designed for the low-end, cable access style producers. Not something you see at many broadcast facilities. The quality and features seems to have improved through the years. So they are another viable possibility for you.

    Consider how lucky you are to have such a fine recorder such as that small ZOOM and for just a couple of hundred bucks. My last portable DAT recorder was in excess of $650. It didn't have any of the XLR inputs or other features or capabilities that the ZOOM unit has either. So you are one lucky new audio guy. Now all you need is video to go with your sound. Still pictures with the soundtrack seem to be a bit archaic today. Not that audio doesn't paint pictures it's just that everybody wants to also see the pictures move. And ZOOM makes a product for that also. Kind of like the H-4 without the XLR inputs but with the addition of a high definition camera and video capture system. It's a poor man's camcorder with better audio than most. And in that respect, many memory-chip, palm sized camcorders can also accept external microphone inputs. Some even record in surround and Sony has one that has a miniature built-in projector available today. So what to do? At least with those memory-chip recorders, there is no more motor noise to pick up from the camcorder drive motor. So that's a big plus. Though most of those small camcorders don't accept XLR inputs so you need the XLR to 1/8 inch adapters or adapter boxes when you need that shotgun microphone. But that's also doable. Don't limit yourself to audio only today. This is the 21st century. So capture and produce like it is. So get a camcorder that accepts XLR inputs. If you're going to do this you might as well do it well. You'll kick yourself in the ass if you don't.

    Mine is still pretty and pink. No bruising.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     

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