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Traveling with a Camcorder - Identifying Mics

Tips and Techniques Jennifer: Traveling with your camcorder. Airport security Brian: Using and identifying mics

Video Transcript

Brian Peterson: Hi, I’m Brian Peterson. Jennifer O'Rourke: And I’m Jennifer O’Rourke. Brian Peterson: And this is Tips and Techniques. And we have a couple of, actually, some of more in-depth than we normally go here. Yours is going to be interesting. It’s going to be really fun. I haven’t actually hear everything about this one, so I’ll be listening, too. Jennifer O'Rourke: It really is because it’s summer time, yesterday was the first day of summer, so, it’s timely. And it’s hot here in Chico. It’s only a 106 today, it’s going to be 112 this weekend. So if you think all of California is supposed to be that cool and breezy air, not here, no here. But, people are already going on vacation, hop on a train, plane, or automobile, and if you go on a plane nowadays, airport security is really, really weird about some things. Some places you can go, you don’t have any problems, some places you can go and they’re really going to harass you a lot. My son and daughter went to Mexico recently on an international plane, and he, my daughter was going through all this security, and my son was taking pictures of her, and the security stops him, and then want to look at the pictures that he took, and then let him keep the camera but tell him to turn it off. But our letter- Brian Peterson: This was a still camera or? Jennifer O'Rourke: That was a still camera. Brian Peterson: Really? Jennifer O'Rourke: M-hm. And she had, her arms and they were doing the whole wand thing around her and my son thought that was funny. Brian Peterson: Oh. Jennifer O'Rourke: And he wanted to take pictures of her. Part of their memorable moment on their trip to Mexico. But, Cole Metzler of Hamilton, Ohio writes about the incident he witnessed recently, last summer actually, that he thought was just really tragic. There was this, a woman who was a grandmother, and is meeting her grandchildren for the very first time in the airport lobby. And as the whole family reunion takes place, it’s all very emotional, and very exciting for the family, and the security happened to be in the background of a video. And they confiscated his tape, and erased it. The whole moment they were waiting for, the first time the children get to see their grandmother. And the video was erased. Brian Peterson: Wow! Jennifer O'Rourke: So, what he’s saying here is, what happened in this incident is, if the person who’s shooting the video had turned the camera a different direction, and not where the security people in the background, then maybe they would be able to keep the video. But because the security people, and what security people were doing in the background was there, they ruined the tape. Brian Peterson: Oh, okay. So, obviously, two things you don’t do in an airport, try to avoid the background of security and don’t say, I’m shooting! Jennifer O'Rourke: I’m videotaping. Yeah, yeah. Brian Peterson: Yeah. So, good ideas there. Jennifer O'Rourke: Yeah, you just don’t want to lose all of your good precious memories. Now, this would have been horrible if he had been coming home, if he’d been coming home, and the video was bad. Because they might have erased everything that he had taken on that trip. Brian Peterson: Your mike is going to have to move. Jennifer O'Rourke: Speaking of mikes, I’m wearing a t-shirt, and you’re really not supposed to be wearing t-shirts because there’s no really good way to plug it in. Brian Peterson: Yeah, we’ve been really trying to wear, you know, the shirts where we have a place to stick – so we’re going to make holes now in the shirts that don’t have a button. Jennifer O'Rourke: But- Brian Peterson: That is a great segment, though. Jennifer O'Rourke: It is, it is. Charlie said, I had a mike in armpit because I was trying to hide it, but it wasn’t working. Brian Peterson: Mike. You can’t hide it sometimes. Sometimes it’s just… Jennifer O'Rourke: And so, Brian is going to show us a bunch of different ways and different types of mikes, so you can play with. Brian Peterson: This is something that we cover at all our workshops and seminars, and if you hadn’t had a chance to come to one of them, this is a great opportunity. We’re just going to give a really, really brief primer on how to, how to assess the quality of mike, and what kind of mike to use. Probably, we’ll go so fast you’re going to have to hit the rewind button a couple of times. But, Charlie, let’s go and throw up that one graphic which shows mike patterns. We’re going to start with mike patterns. And we may actually have to cut this in the edited version. So, as you can see, we’ve got two, three, four different general mike patterns. From my right, your left, we’re going to start over here. And, so, microphone very similar to this is probably what most folks use when they’re either just doing interviews. This has a traditional cardioid pattern. It’s called cardioid because it’s like an upside down heart. Jennifer O'Rourke: Heart. Brian Peterson: That’s what it looks like. And if you can picture this in 3D, oh! We should probably do that sometimes, do that in 3D. Jennifer O'Rourke: Oh, yeah. Brian Peterson: 360 degrees of that pattern is how these microphones pick up the best. Now, they’ll certainly pick up from the rear, but they’re really designed to pick up most from this area in here. So, that is a standard cardioid pattern most frequently found in handhelds, sometimes in lavaliers, but mostly in handhelds. Now, two different types of handhelds here. This one requires a battery, and it has a little elm here called condenser which requires juice to work. This is called the dynamic, and you and I both worked with these. Jennifer O'Rourke: Oh, yeah. Classic, aren’t they? Brian Peterson: We know these guys. It’s called dynamic mike and it’s also called the tent stake driver. These are so rugged that you can drop them, you can hit them, in fact, it looks like the screen on this is knocked a few people on the nugget a few times. And you can bless people with them too. Jennifer O'Rourke: It could be, it could be 20 years old. I know- Brian Peterson: This could be, Jennifer O'Rourke: I know everywhere I worked, every photographer had their original mike, they never you don’t lose them. Brian Peterson: You don’t lose them. Mike flags are big square things with logos that frequently go on with them, and it’s the place to grab. Again, when in a position where you’re not sure if you’ll have batteries, this is kind of neat thing to have with you. They’re not the greatest fidelity, but dynamic mike will always work. So that’s a great mike to have. Moving down to this next pattern here. We see, this is something called a supercardioid, it’s not exactly a cardioid pattern, super, it’s starting to focus more of its energy toward the front. Now, in this case the capsule is very, very small. It could be a lavalier, but more than likely it would be a small shotgun. Frequently the type found on camcorders, the more professional type camcorders Prosumer, where you have the mike on top. Kind of a shorter version of kind of like that. That would be a super, supercardioid. And starting to the position where the sensors are toward the front. Now, the next step is a shotgun. And these can go anywhere from this length to 3ft. And really all this is, is a standard microphone with a long tube on the front. Now, it’s a very well engineered tube on the front, but mike element still is down here. What this does effectively is, just, if I could telescope. You point it, and where you point at, you hear. Jennifer O'Rourke: You hear. So, do you hear anything on the sides or just a fan off? Brian Peterson: You know, when you look at the mike pattern here, you can see that it does have some sort of the acceptance on the rear and a little bit on the side, but frankly, this image here isn’t all that accurate. In my experience and those of my engineer friends have been more where this image goes much more toward the front. So, much, what’s called all fact rejection. And you can do a fun test. If you have just a standard cardioids mike, take this at home. And certainly during Christmas, when you’ve got extra tubes and wrappings, plug in, stick that tube over the front, and you’ll actually turn it into a very horrible sounding shotgun, but it works. Jennifer O'Rourke: That’s a good idea. I’ve been shooting in numerous situation where we had like a farmist market set up, and we were doing interviews with this and it was, we were getting just too much background noise, and we had to move to something like that. Brian Peterson: Yeah. So, great idea. If you’re shooting interviews and you want to keep an on camera mike like a second backup, these shotguns are great. Especially if they’re in some sort of isoplastic device. Maybe a little bit of rubber, but better a little rubber band that prevents shock in transport worth noise on the tape, kind of vibrating through the camcorder into the microphone. Jennifer O'Rourke: Right. Brian Peterson: They can also be used as a handheld in a pinch, but very directional. You don’t want to, you know, play like you’re trying to find somebody, you have to lock on them. Jennifer O'Rourke: Right, lock right on them. Brian Peterson: Right. Now here’s a little bit different beast. This guy is called the PZM, or the pressure zone microphone, and we can see this in the last area here. It really has a pickup fairly even amongst, if you took a basketball, cut it in half, and somehow kept it inflated, that would essentially be a pickup pattern of one of these. So, 180 degrees hemispherical, works wonderful for conferences where you have people around the table, and you can’t mike everybody. They can sound a little bit hollow sometimes, but I tell you, they’re better than trying to use a shotgun and try to get everybody at the same time. Jennifer O'Rourke: Right. Brian Peterson: You just can’t do it. Jennifer O'Rourke: You just stick that down there. Now, how far away would something like that…? Brian Peterson: You know, these guys here probably are the best suited to, you know, a table no larger than 8ft perimeter. But, you know, use what you’ve got. And if that’s all you’ve got, this is what you will use. The last is the studio microphone. Jennifer O'Rourke: Right. Brian Peterson: We’ve all seen these. This is what’s called, kind of categorical, a large diaphragm microphone. And diaphragm essentially, kind of like these, but it’s a lot bigger diaphragm. What this means is, you just get a much cleaner signal. You get the low lows, and you get the high highs, and you get a very flat response pattern. Which is our next graphic which we will pull up here. It’s a lot of response pattern is the thing you’re really looking for when you’re trying to assess the quality of a microphone. Now again, here we’ll probably cut to it in editing, but a flat line all the way across. If we go to the left here, you’ll see at 50db a very little change in how this microphone receives a signal. It’s called a flat response. Same thing with the right edge of this. When you start seeing a little bit of blip up in the graph, that’s actually raising the volume of those frequencies. So this will traditionally increase frequencies in the 5000 and above range. And then below 50, it rolls off very, very quickly. Now if we can get a close up, actually, on this, Charlie, we can see on the back of lot of these types of microphones is what is called roll off patterns. And this one actually has two. This has what’s called the base roll off, so if you get someone who has a really deep voice of guy kind of approach, I can do that when I’m sick. Jennifer O'Rourke: Not me! (laughs) Brian Peterson: When I’m sick, I sometimes sound like that. You can click that and it will actually attenuate the low end response even more, so you know, you don’t get overly boomy sound. Jennifer O'Rourke: Oh, I never knew that. Brian Peterson: What is also neat on this one is that you have a high end boost. So, if you get somebody who, for some reason, doesn’t have any high end of their voice, you can actually boost this. This is actually low to high mid range boost. So you can somewhat customize the, the sensitivity of these large mikes. Jennifer O'Rourke: Can it bring the mud level up or? Brian Peterson: Judicious use of that will allow for that, customizing. All right, so, microphones. Jennifer O'Rourke: Microphones. You know, the funny thing about mikes is, it’s one of the things people don’t think about enough. Your sound is really, really important. It’s one half of the video story is all about, and people tend to forget that, and just use whatever mikes. We’ve been experimenting a lot, you’ve seen on vidcast #21, we used a lot of different kinds of mikes, lot of different placements, some experiments to see how it works, and we really encourage people, encourage you to experiment too, and try them out. Brian Peterson: Absolutely. If you’ve got a friend or someone you can borrow mikes from, that’s a great way to learn how to see if something works better for you and your particular application. All right, we’re over time, we’re going to take off now, we’re going to go to our Take 20 segment. Jennifer O'Rourke: Right. Brian Peterson: With Morgan and Charlie. Jennifer O'Rourke: Good to see you. Brian Peterson: Until next time. Jennifer O'Rourke: Bye-bye.