Beginning field audio equipment that will make my money back?

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by spyderfx, Mar 9, 2010.

  1. spyderfx

    spyderfx Guest

    I just graduated from film school and finding a job is way more difficult than I was expecting. So I figured since I want to do audio I should just buy some equipment to do field work that pays a little bit ($100-$200). I'm nervous about spending the money because I know people are picky about brands and models when hiring audio.

    Anyone with experience know what equipment I should get if my budget is about $2000. I want to do field audio recording for films or commercials...etc. I've been looking at the Fostex FR2-LE ($500). Then a Rode NTG-3 ($699) for my mic. I figure the mic is good enough to last me a while and is good enough quality for me to get some decent gigs. Only problem is that it eats up a lot of my budget so I'm not sure if I'd be better off with a cheaper mic and more gear. Help please!
  2. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Mar 20, 2008
    currently Billings
    For field recording of the type you talk about, visit Doug Oade's site. Know that nothing is cheap in this business. Especially proper gear.
  3. Front End Audio

    Front End Audio Active Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    The Fostex is a wonderful little mixer/recorder. I still use my Fostex vf160 for simple low track count songs. The Rode is a great mic for the price another option would be the Shure sm89 which is a very reliable production shotgun mic. There are many choices but it looks like you are on the right track with the Fostex they make a very professional product. Remember a good mic is worth it's weight in gold! Good luck on your investment!

  4. drumrob

    drumrob Active Member

    Jun 2, 2004
    Eugene, Oregon
    It depends who you plan on doing this "film" work for. If you are working for yourself, or for local indie film makers, then the gear you are talking about will be fine as a starting point. You need much more than one mic and a recorder, though. As to what gear to get, if you are talking about working for producers who come in from out of town or national level broadcast projects, then you may need to rethink a bit. The Rode NTG-3 is reportedly an excellent mic, but producers love to go with names they know. A standard shotgun for ENG work is the Sennheiser MKH416P (about $1200 list). For actual film work, the Sennheiser MKH60 (about $1500) might be more prevalent. But you will also need a hypercardioid mic of some sort for doing interior dialog work. The standard mic for that job is the Schoeps CMC641 (close to $2000 these days). Then you need a boom pole to mount them on (starting around $200, but probably need one in the $500 range). Throw in a blimp and wind screen, shock mounts, etc. for both mics and that'll add maybe another $2000. You did not even mention a mixer, which would be absolutely necessary. The standard mixers in video are the ones from Sound Devices. There's the 302 3-channel mixer (about $1800 with bag and accessories), and the 442 (around $3000 for the kit, now replaced by the 552, which will be a little more). Then you need a couple of wireless lav systems (lowest usable are the Sennheiser G3 units at around $600 each, for top level production you'll need Lectrosonics or equivalent systems costing at least $2000 each.). Don't forget headphones - the Sony MDR7506 are the standard ones ($100). Again for ENG work, you'll also need to carry a stick mic (regular hand held mic for interviews, around $100). Then you can talk about a recorder. The Fostex you mention seems good, but again for every day use with the highest quality you would want to look at Sound Devices recorders. They start at about $1900 for a stereo one and go up if you want 4 or 8 tracks. Hollywood produced TV shows use 8 track recorders that can run $15,000! Throw in a breakaway cable ($200) and miscellaneous other cables and accessories (let's say maybe another $300-500) and you can see it's not cheap to get into professional field audio.

    I'm not trying to discourage you. I just wanted to point out that there is much more to doing audio than showing up with a mic.
  5. Shadow_7

    Shadow_7 Active Member

    Mar 22, 2010
    Fostex + Shure VP88 and get on with a news crew. Film work requires a lot of specialized and expensive gear. Not that I've worked that end. But I've been working towards sort of a super soccer mom camcorder setup. $2K later and I'm still $3K from where I want to be (for audio). Not including the camcorder half (or backups). Probably $10K+ once I get the basics, one channel of video and two channels of audio.

    You can cut a few $K by DIY accessories (zeppelin / dead rat), but ultimately you'll want the pretty stuff so your employer doesn't feel cheated with a redneck with a old sweater on the end of a broom stick.

    You're more likely to make a few bucks on the video side. Weddings, graduations, and other more regular work. Although you can always work the house board at a club. Kind of a step away from film school though. Depending on the club / venue. Other ways to make a buck too, P.I. work, radio station, etc... Most of which isn't traditional 9 to 5 work that you'd consider employment. But it should be enough to put food on the table and keep the batteries charged.
  6. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    These days real film sound requires multiple wireless microphones, multiple simultaneous record tracks, shotgun microphones and booms. Not to mention the fact that you may need to do playback after some takes. So in some ways even more complex than live multitrack music recordings. Suggestion: start doing wedding videos. Used wireless microphones can be problematic these days because of the new whitespace spectrum that is the only thing allowed to wireless microphone use. So be very careful when purchasing any used wireless microphones. Some frequencies are illegal to use and the units cannot be modified for different frequencies. Maybe you should produce a science fiction film and call it War Stars? And you can create a totally unique and revolutionary way to deliver sound by having everybody sit in a huge hot tub while viewing the movie and delivering the sound via fart like bubbles through the water? A new experience to surround sound you get to feel the bubbles.

    Now you know it was me in the hot tub
    Mx. Remy Ann David

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