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Recommendations for Mid Side Shotgun mic Setup?

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by Joe Meyer, Sep 27, 2018.

  1. Joe Meyer

    Joe Meyer Active Member

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    So I am fairly new to folly audio recording. I was looking around youtube for how folly artist (from a beginner standpoint) typically would go about getting into folly sound production. One video recommended that I could start with a mid side audio setup for doing stereo and mono sound and recording it into a zoom H4N. So is that what you guys would suggest? And if so what mics under $200 would you suggest (per mic)? Also if you have a good suggestion for mounting for being on a budget that would be good as well!
     
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

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    Are you simply interested in Foley (not Folly!) recording, or is that the area of sound recording you want to be in from the start? Foley is a very specialised form of the recording art, and, in my view, is somewhere to aim for and not the place to begin.

    I think you would be better served by starting out being a part of a small team making many different types of live recordings, where you would naturally learn the craft from those with experience. This might well lead to you acquiring gear yourself with which to carry out certain types of recordings on your own, and then you take it from there.

    In no way am I'm trying to deter you from taking up sound recording as a hobby or even as a profession, far from it. However, you are much more likely to be successful in it if you get a good grounding in the basics as applied over a reasonably wide set of circumstances.
     
  3. Joe Meyer

    Joe Meyer Active Member

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    Thanks for the clarification on the spelling haha! Foley I just used as the term to probably more accurately describe what I am doing. I am a video game developer looking at buying a rig to start capture sounds for my game. So im not sure what the classifies under to be honest. I have experience mixing sounds together on my computer making gun shots sounds for several games I have made in the past, but these have all been sounds I got off those free sounds sites a few years back in high school. So now I was looking to get into recording my own sounds to use so I dont run into licensing issues, plus just recording sounds in general for me is fun. For some sound I used a Blue Yeti Microphone for some stuff in the past, recording to a laptop id bring out. Now I want to get a rig with some better microphones more meant to do what I want to do. So I am not sure if that classifies me as a beginner? But I do have some experience!
     
  4. cyrano

    cyrano Active Member

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    Maybe you should forget Mid/Side recording and forget about shotgun mics.

    Mid/Side is powerful, but not easy to begin with. And a good shotgun is expensive and more useful on outdoor recordings.

    Get a couple of affordable mics like the Behringer B5. These come with cardio and omni capsules and will allow you to try out both styles.

    Start thinking about the room you will be recording in. Unless, of course, you count on recording outdoors. In that case, start with a recorder like the Zoom H4n. The built-in mics are quite decent and will allow you to learn.

    And beware of youtube. A lot of the stuff on there isn't real. Some suggestions on good reads are to be found in this thread:

    https://homerecording.com/bbs/gener...does-anyone-know-books-articles-foley-290982/
     
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  5. Joe Meyer

    Joe Meyer Active Member

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    Thank you for the response, im not sure if you read my response to @Boswell but I do have some experience in the field, and I feel that I am a bit past built in mics as seeing I have been in public with my Blue Yeti and laptop in hand recording various sounds. I was looking for a shotgun mic because I was planning on going in public and the outside to get these sounds. So im not sure if your response would change in regard to my repose to boswell.
    Also I did notice alot of youtube videos tend to not tell you all the facts and just tend to tell you the most relevant information which can have alot of downside, I have been doing alot of reading though.
    Lastly would shotgun mics also perform well in a studio environment? Assuming you suggest I should get one.
     
  6. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    Shotgun mics usually have a very narrow pickup patern, it's rare to see them in studio except for voice over. But they are not your standard studio mics..
    For starters if you are on the move a Zoom recorder with X/Y mics can be a good start. Eventually, upgrading to a pair of Small condenser mics would be a good step foward. With those you can grab small ensembles, chamber musician, ambiant noises and scenery, acoustic guitars and foley recordings too...
     
  7. Joe Meyer

    Joe Meyer Active Member

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    Okay I see what you mean, it seems since I would be having to recreate a environment in a video game, im probably going to need a few different mics. I am probably going to start with shotgun mics, because I think I am going to try to get more isolated sounds more than I would be getting a broad range of environmental sounds at the start. Would you suggest x/y over mid side for my use case of capturing gun ranges, sounds potentially located in a city, etc?
     
  8. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

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    I really think you should not start with shotgun microphones unless you are thinking of recording sound for a low-budget hand-held movie - they are a recipe for poor results. They also do not work in M-S configurations, as there would be an incorrect overlap in the polar patterns between an M-axis shotgun and an S-axis fig-8 mic for the decoding to work.

    In an M-S configuration, the M-axis microphone must be either a cardioid for standard M-S or a fig-8 for M-S Blumlein. Additionally, the M and S axis microphones must give outputs that are in phase, otherwise the sum-and-difference method of decoding M-S to L-R does not work. That means that you can't use a condenser (shotgun or otherwise) as the M axis and a ribbon as the fig-8 S-axis.

    The starting point for general recordings is X-Y stereo. This is the reason the default microphone axes in portable recorders like the Zoom are arranged as 90 degree X-Y.
     
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  9. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    Isolation is often done in studio. Sound effect specialists are very kind of using anything to simulate other sounds.. Walking in mud could be done with hands in a melon or some other trickery.. Going outside in a busy/noise environement and trying to isolate a sound is very difficult.. shotgun mics arent magical. If other sounds exist in the air around a source they will be recorded as well. It's why having a mic the closest of the source or isolating the source are the best ways to isolate the sound.
    Also it's why TV news onsite people use handheld mics close to their mouth and a lot of vlog are done with lavalier...
    So before buying a Shotgun mic.. think it through ;)
     
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  10. Joe Meyer

    Joe Meyer Active Member

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    Okay I am going to try to respond to both comments in one, thank you for the info im getting a good understanding of what you guys are saying. It seems I have fallen for the idea that shotgun mics are pretty good for what I was doing, but it seems you're guys comments go around the idea that using 2 condenser mics in a x/y configuration is a good starting point, because it can give the stereo sound and be a better overall mic configuration for recording in a studio. So I have a few follow up questions, I can try to isolate as many sounds as I can but sometimes ill need to go outside, I already have some studio equipment for recording (scarlet 2i2) So my question is what condenser mics are a good option for me, recording sound effects and maybe some voice? Also what is a way to capture audio in a outside world scenario ie zoom h4n?? and Lastly what are shotgun mics good at then? I was given to understand from outside sources that they were good a capture a super specific sound and only that sound.
     
  11. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

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    Shotgun mics are best suited for capturing spoken voice at a distance in situations such as ENG, where intelligibility is more important than audio quality.
     
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  12. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    Let's start with this one. Shotgun are good in focusing the capture of what is in front of it but reject sides. The problem we see by experience is that audio travel in all direction and if you are far from a source with your shotgun you won't capture only the source but every sound that travels between the mic and the source, what hits the source from all directions and what's behind the source if the source doesn't absorb it. The frequency response will also be narrower with budget shotgun compared to same priced condensers mics.
    Of course the condenser mic needs to be very close to a source to have any isolation. Where it gets tricky is that it's hard to have a natural stereo image with shotguns because of their narrow patern. If you do X/Y with small condensers the result will be far better than with shotguns.

    upload_2018-9-28_11-56-33.png

    You can start with the Zoom alone and grow with it by adding better mics in the future and them better recorder etc.. If you don't mind going on site with a laptop and your focusrite interface, then start with the mics...

    A pair like these could be a good start : https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/M5MP--rode-m5-matched-pair
    And these could be your pro choice : https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/QTC40mp--earthworks-qtc40-matched-pair

    Another point is if you are to record into a small room with poor acoustics, condenser mics will grab every single deffects of the room will be recorded.. For that reason we usually recommand to musician to use dynamic mics that have better rejections than condensers.. but they often give an unprecise image of the source because of their frequency curves...
     
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  13. Joe Meyer

    Joe Meyer Active Member

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    Thank you for the suggestion, I am going to get those Rode mics, I think that it is a really good place to start!
     
  14. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

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    I think you need to do some research into Foley. It's the art of creating or re-creating sound effects that sound real, but usually aren't. The techniques are often down to recording in quite dead studios so you can get a really clean sound you can then process. Wild tracks or location recordings aren't Foley at all.

    Foley artistes and recordists tend to pick very specific mics for each effect they crave working on. As an aside on M/S, Sennheiser actually make a stereo M/S mic the 418, rather than the 416 short shotgun, which is a pretty unpleasant sounding microphone when used inappropriately (which often means using them indoors - because they are great at capturing the rotten sounds of the room rather than the wanted sound source when aiming is even a little bit off.

    You're going to spend a grand on a sound field mic? Really? What exactly are you hoping to produce. As Foley is not reality, stereo is often created rather than captured. I have the capability to record in M/S easily, and I very, very rarely do - only when I know placement could be problematic, and being able to tweak afterwards is useful.
     
  15. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    Having dabbled a bit in Foley, I can tell you that it is a very specific section of the craft of audio... it’s a specialty, not unlike acoustics, or R&D, or remote recording... there are many different kinds of audio engineers. But getting into specialized forms of audio requires time, study, and application.
    If your heart is set on sound design,
    You might want to consider looking to see if you can do an internship under a real Foley engineer.
    Interns don’t get paid; their payment is the knowledge they gain from those professionals who specialize in certain areas of the craft.
    What is important to know, is that in many cases, the sounds you are hearing in films (and video games) are not actual recordings of what the sounds you hear are meant to convey.
    For example, when you see ( and hear) in a film the sound of a switchblade knife opening, it is not a recording of an actual switchblade. Switchblades aren’t loud. When the blade is opened, it makes a very soft “click”, and not that giant “CLICK!!!” you hear in the movies as one is opened. Sounds like this are recorded in a controlled environment, often using multiple sounds that are then manipulated further.
    Here’s another example:
    Years ago, when the movie Twister was made, the Foley engineers who were working in the post production process of the film used a combination of many sounds for the sound of the tornadoes - and the sound sources they used were fairly odd, and not something one would normally associate with the sound of an actual tornado. The engineers recorded things like hair dryers, 55 gallon drums filled with water and corn syrup that they would swirl with paddles... other sounds were combined, such as pigs squealing, jet engines, lawn mowers, Diesel engines in big trucks... and many of these came from preexisting SFX libraries. These, and other sounds, were then combined, and then manipulated further in pitch, speed, EQ, and using delays, reverbs and envelope filters.
    As mentioned by Bos (@Boswell ), you can’t use shotgun mics in an M-S array.
    And actual M-S /Blumlein arrays can be challenging for those who have never worked with it... for that matter, they can even be challenging to those who have worked with them before.
    I know you mentioned that you have some audio experience, and that’s good, but Foley is it’s own thing. And while I would never discourage anyone from achieving their goals, there are steps to take that will benefit you along the way, so that when you do start working in Foley, you have a clear understanding of the foundations of audio.
    At this point - and it’s only a suggestion - is that You’d probably be better off to start with learning about different mics - condensers, dynamics, ribbons - as well as patterns - Omni, cardioid, Hyper-cardioid, and bi- directional - and then study various single and multi-mic arrays. Learn about gain structure, pads, hi and low pass filters, as well as what certain mics require in terms of gain.
    And yeah, as far as YouTube goes, while there is some great information available, there are many YT vids that don’t give you full info on things; but what’s worse- and what you need to be more aware of, are the vids that tell you things that are simply wrong... and unfortunately, there are far too many that are like that out there.
    Hanging around here at RO is going to be one of your best sources for research and information. We have true audio professionals here, who know what they are talking about, and who won’t stear you wrong. While I’m not implying that each of us knows “everything” ( lol except for Boswell, he’s one amazingly smart cat!), what one of us might not know, someone else absolute will, and you can be assured that there’s always someone here who can help you with a variety of audio topics, and who can give you accurate answers to your questions.
    Mics (and mic preamps) range from under a hundred dollars, for a cheap condenser and an entry level pre like the 2i2, to thousands ( and more thousands) of dollars for pro level gear.
    It would help to know your budget; it’s hard for us to suggest certain pieces of gear if we don’t know what you want ( or have) to spend.
    ;)
    -d.
     
  16. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

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    Donny's on the marker with this. Years ago I was an assistant in the sound department for a month or two creating sound for a wildlife series. In the main, we had mute footage, shot with very long lenses - so we had a huge eagle or owl taking off from the nest and no sound. My job was creating these sounds. My mentor was brilliant - we'd end up with big leather motorcycle gloves and would flap these up and down, and it made amazingly realistic wing flaps - but realistic from the viewers aspect, we had no idea what sound it really made, and probably no sound at all! One of my other tasks was to create the sound of a large ape falling over, again a distant shot with no audio at all. I soon discovered that if you fall over, it does not make the sounds you hear on TV, but reality would sound wrong, so we had to create these things. Same with animal eating - we just created what we thought it would sound like. Microphone wise, we selected mics that worked, and they were usually all mono. AKG 451 was very popular for quiet things because it is quite sensitive. Good for walking on gravel too. Useless at walking on sand - which produces such a low level of audio that we had to create this one from fine gravel, rather than sound. Often we would combine half a dozen individual sounds. Stereo was usually confined for wild tracks, again created from a number of sources, and the only stereo was really the faint animal sounds we blended in that were panned left and right individually. Foley, because it is artificial doesn't normally have a real stereo width - you create this to match. What would actually be the point of M/S? You have single source creations, there is no width for the mic to capture as much of what you record has to be very dry, to allow reverb to be added or not, after. With a sound source in front of you - the only side channel would be reflections, which shouldn't be there.
     
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  17. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    @paulears
    Paul explained it better than I did. ;)
     
  18. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

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    Shotgun mics reduce the level of the sound coming from the sides, but sound still gets in and it's generally not that pleasant. And (as has been said) they don't really work in a M-S setup. And (as has been said) stereo is probably not useful for foley.
     
  19. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    I didn't know this one.. A stereo shotgun !! Nice...
     
  20. ronmac

    ronmac Active Member

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    MS with shotgun mics is sometimes used outdoors for ambiance in the film and nature recording world.

    eg. You may have a long shot to an eagle perched in a tree over a moving stream or river. The shotgun (M) mic is perfect to capture the focus of bird calls and movement, while the figure of 8 (S) is perfect to capture the sound of the moving water. If you are lucky, and the eagle dives to the river for a fish your MS setup will capture the ambiance of the scene and the focused center image of the impact. In post you can decide how wide you want the S to be and, in the scene described above, you can even automate the S getting narrower as the camera zooms in to further draw the viewer's focus on the impact of the eagle hitting the water.

    There is no reason you can't use an MS setup for foley, although it may not be everyone's way of working. The beauty of MS is that there is very little downside to recording the two elements to separate tracks, even if you decide to trash the S track later. I often roll with an MS setup, even if I am expecting to only use the M mic, simply because I like to keep my mics mounted as a pair for easy transport (one shock mount and wind protection for the pair) and quick access to either/or use for different scenes.

    It will be hard to get good quality S mics within your budget. You really need a single diaphragm, figure of eight mic for precise imaging, and they aren't cheap. I currently use a Sennheiser MKH30 (single diaphragm, figure of eight), paired with a KMR81i or KMR82i (shotguns) for exterior shoots, or paired with a KM150 (hypercardioid), MKH40(cardioid), MKH50 (hypercardioid) for both interior and exterior shoots.
     
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