3D Mic Pro and immersive audio

 First:  I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THAT YOU WEAR HEADPHONES WHEN LISTENING TO THE VIDEO BELOW.  

Second: we have a discount code that you can use to get a 15% off of the "Pro" or "Indie" version of the mic (also below.) 

Mitra 3D Mic Pro from Vincent Laforet on Vimeo.

What differentiates an Indie film from a major Hollywood Blockbuster?  (Besides the fact that the Indie is probably better ;)?)  

It’s not the special effects, the anamorphic lenses or the super technocranes…  

It’s the quality of the sound.

Sound is extremely important to filmmaking – in some ways more than the images themselves.  Sound helps to fill out the space we are seeing on screen. It makes the image immersive and clues us into the environment of what’s being shown to us, so that we can deduce what is happening beyond the screen’s edges.

You can look as far back as Fritz Lang’s 1931 thriller, M, to see examples of how off screen sound can be used to create tension or imply the existence of something beyond the screen’s edge.  In that film, Lang uses the familiar tune of the killer whistling to foreshadow his arrival on screen or create his presence without actually showing him.  Skip forward 41 years to 1972, when Walter Murch was named the first ever "sound designer" on Apocolypse Now by director Francis Ford Coppola for his creative contributions to the film’s audio track.  Since then – Sound Designers have been an integral part of filmmaking.   I for one will never release a narrative film of any length without it going through sound design first – no matter the deadline!  

To that point here’s a great mic that I’ve been playing with for a little over a month that I wanted to share with you.   I was contacted by the maker a few months ago and asked to try it out.   The moment I recorded my first clip with it (at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge – a shot you’ll see in the video above) and laid the audio down on the same track as the video – I played it 20 times in a row.  Literally.   I felt immersed in the shot – and it reminded me of the quality of audio that I heard in the opening battle scene of Saving Private Ryan.   Given that I didn’t have to mix anything or do anything fancy with the audio in post – I was hooked.    

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not an expert on Audio.  But I do know good sound – we all do.   What amazes me about the audio within the clip above and the Mitra 3D Mic Pro is that it’s raw audio out of the mic and recorded on a Zoom H4N.    It hasn’t been mixed: no equalizing, bass boosting, trebble tweaking done YET.  And it sounds amazing.

A similar result can of course be obtained by a skilled audio technician with two mikes, positioned accurately and mixed together.  The beauty of this for me is that I am not a skilled technician – and was able to get audio like this right out of the box using a $300 audio recorder.

Also – feel free to take advantage of the discount code below:

 Go to www.3dmicpro.com and use coupon code VL3D2011 during checkout for a 15% discount.

The basic thing you need to know about this microphone, is that it has two high quality mics that are spaced apart roughly the same distance as your ears are from one another.   It also utilizes a sound modifier technology which captures immersive sound just like we hear it.    Most, if not all mics out there are mono mics – and a normal stereo microphone cannot record the same information in the same manner.   The beauty of this system is that you can handhold the Mitra mic or put it on a small tripod and let it roll.   Just monitor your levels and you can have this incredibly immersive sound out of the box.   You can then mix it into 5.1 if you want as well.  

I think every film crew that needs good, natural sound should take a look at one of these – especially time lapse photographers/videographers.  It adds an ENTIRE NEW DIMENSION to your video.  There are two versions – the PRO and INDIE versions which differ mostly in the XLR outputs and related electronics, however both mics have the identical sound processing engine, and both record the same quality audio.

Special thanks to TJ Walker from Boombox Group Productions for allowing us to use the footage from our shoot on Alcatraz.  More to come on that soon…