My Gear: Audio

Mitra 3D Mic Pro from Vincent Laforet on Vimeo.

 The video above was shot with the Mitra 3D Mic and a Zoom H4N (see below for more details.)  For a discount of the mic Go to www.3dmicpro.com and use coupon code VL3D0012 during checkout.

 

744t: Portable, Four-Track Audio Recorder B&H Mfr. Site

VL: This is a ROCK solid sound recorder used on professional movie sets.  This means that it is also out of most people’s price range (see the Zoom H4N below for a great alternative.)  I’ve defaulted to this right away because I found that with any interview setup or dialogue in a narrative – you will quickly be using more than 2 audio inputs.  Always get an audio recorder that has rechargeable batteries (in case you use mics w/ Phantom power) and that have no moving pieces – i.e. in this case you can record to a CF card.   When you don’t have moving pieces – you have fewer points of failure.   And never forget: one of the major differences between an Indy film and a blockbuster hollywood production is the quality of sound.  Never overlook the need for high quality audio – especially for dialogue scenes.  Voiceovers are expensive and time consuming – and sometimes you can never get them to match with the acting on set.   This unit also has time code which is great – as you can sync your slate and other devices to it – so all are on the same "timecode" page. 

Description (from Sound Devices): The 744T is a powerful four-track file-based digital audio recorder. The super-compact 744T records and plays back audio to and from its internal hard drive, Compact Flash cards, and external FireWire drives, making field recording simple and fast. It writes and reads uncompressed PCM audio at 16 or 24 bits with sample rates between 32 kHz and 192 kHz. Compressed (MP3) audio recording and playback from 64 kb/s to 320 kb/s is also supported. The time code implementation makes the 744T ready for any recording job—from over-the-shoulder to cart-based production.

NTG-2 Condenser Shotgun Microphone B&H Mfr. Site

VL: I’ve found this to be an excellent shotgun mic  - with excellent base.  

Description (from Rode): The new RODE NTG-2 is a lightweight condenser shotgun microphone, designed for professional applications within the film, video, television and production industries.The NTG-2 provides a balanced low impedance output stage and operates either from an internal 1.5 V battery (AA) or 48 V to the P48 standard. A wide bandwidth and controlled polar response coupled with low noise SMT electronics, makes the NTG-2 the perfect choice for film, video engineering and voice-over work.

3D Mic Pro
Mfr. Site

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

VL:  This is an extremely effective and interesting microphone – especially for time lapse / scenic  videos where you want to immerse people in the environment. 

Description (from Mitra): Mitra Corp. designed 3D Mic Pro, an immersive sound imaging microphone which uses patent pending technology to capture breathtaking binaural like immersive sound in any sound recorder or video camera equipped with Mic/Line/XLR socket. The recorded immersive sound can be played back in any audio video system through a pair of closely placed speakers or by headphones or ear-buds. 3D Mic Pro brings the immersive 3D sound in handheld devices such as MP3 players, Smartphones, Tablets. For the very first time 3D Mic Pro makes professional quality 3D sound production practical and affordable for musicians, videographers, sound engineers, naturalists, Radio Jockeys and hobbyists. Anyone can now record professional quality immersive sound in YouTube videos, professional or home videos, indi film productions, garage band demo CDs, nature sound recordings or stereo radio broadcasts. Possibilities are only limited by imagination. 

3D Mic Indie
Mfr. Site

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

VL:  This is the Indie version of the 3D Mic.  It contains only 1 Mic level phono output, and not the two XLR outputs.

Description (from Mitra):3D Mic Indie is designed to offer exceptional value and affordability for any DSLR filmmakers. It has exact same immersive sound engine as 3D Mic Pro, so it will capture same breathtaking true-to-life immersive sound in a DSLR or a sound recorder. The only way it differs from the big brother 3D Mic Pro is in its audio connectivity. 3D Mic Indie offers only phono socket to connect it with any DSLR, video camera or audio recorder. The recorded immersive sound can be played back in any audio video system through a pair of closely placed speakers or by headphones or ear-buds. 3D Mic Indie brings the immersive 3D sound in handheld devices such as MP3 players, Smartphones, Tablets. 3D Mic Indie makes professional quality 3D sound production practical and affordable for musicians, videographers, sound engineers, naturalists, Radio Jockeys and hobbyists. Anyone can now record professional quality immersive sound in YouTube videos, professional or home videos, indi film productions, garage band demo CDs, nature sound recordings or stereo radio broadcasts. Possibilities are only limited by imagination. 

KE-89CC Avalon Series Internal Cabled Boom Pole B&H Mfr. Site

VL: A must have part of any audio kit.  This is a great starting off point for your audio kit. 

Description (from K-Tek): Crafted in cost-effective aluminum tubing, Avalon boom poles are designed to meet the needs of ENG and DV Camera crews. The series offers many of the same benefits of the original Klassic boom poles in an affordable package — eliminating some deluxe features but without sacrificing any of the K-Tek quality.

ew 100 G3 Wireless Microphone System B&H Mfr. Site

VL:  This is the first kit I purchased and I use it to this day.  The Sennheiser wireless units are pretty standard across the industry.  Remember – you need one set PER actor…  and if you get two sets make sure you get them on different frequencies – Sennheiser sells them as separate packages for that reason. 

Description (from Sennheiser): This ENG set offers a great amount of flexibility for portable recording indoors or outdoors. Its SKP 100 G3 plug-on transmitter transforms XLR equipped devices (such as microphones and mixing consoles) into wireless devices by simply plugging the unit in. The bodypack transmitter, as well as the plug on, can be synced up to the receiver with the simple push of a button. A very small high-quality omni-directional clip-on microphone completes this set.

HD 380 pro Circumaural Monitoring Headphones B&H Mfr. Site

VL:  These are good dependable headphones – it is essential for the audio engineer and director to be listening to sound as they shoot dialogue – so they can pick up anything that the human ear isn’t… and may be extremely difficult to fix in post. 

Description (from Sennheiser): The HD 380 Pro professional monitoring headphone is designed to exceed the demands of the professional environment. The HD 380 Pro provides an extended frequency response with increased sound pressure level (up to 110 dB) for accurate sound reproduction in demanding applications. Not only that, but the lightweight, secure and rugged design offers a comfortable listening experience for long recording sessions.

H4n X/Y Stereo Recorder B&H Mfr. Site

VL:  The Zoom H4n has pretty much become the industry standard for all photojournalists / documentary filmmakers and indy filmmakers out there.  It can mount on any HDDSLR Rig big or small and has EXCELLENT audio.    Unless you are working on a long-form narrative or with multiple actors – this will serve you very very well.   It’s simple, has built-in stereo mikes and is incredibly portable – what more can I say?  This is the way to go unless you need something like the 744T above for more demanding/complex productions.  Great for reporters too! 

Description: The Zoom H4n Handy Recorder picks up where the H4 left off and adds additional features to an already popular audio recorder. Ideal for recording interviews, lectures, rehearsals, meetings, and more, this palm-sized unit packs the ability to record up to 4 channels of audio at greater than CD quality.

DR-100mkII 2 Channel Linear PCM Recorder B&H Mfr. Site

VL:  I’ve been a big fan of the Zoom H4N for awhile – but recently I’ve found myself using the Tascam.  

Description: The rugged TASCAM DR-100mkII offers high-end recording features to musicians and engineers who demand more from their portable recorder. It features four built-in microphones, two cardioid and two omnidirectional, for great sounding recordings. A pair of XLR microphone inputs with phantom power welcomes pro-grade condenser microphones, and line in and out connectors are also provided. The markII version adds balanced line ins, S/PDIF digital inputs, locking connectors and more.

DR-40 Handheld Digital Audio Recorder B&H Mfr. Site

VL:  Again – after 2 yeas of working with the Zoom – this line of Tascams is well worth a look.  We’re still in the process of testing them out over a period of months before I draw any final conclusions – but so far: EXCELLENT.

Description: he adjustable mics, four-track recording and extended battery life of the TASCAM DR-40 give you the flexibility you need to record tracks anywhere. The DR-40 captures up to four tracks from built-in, high-quality condenser microphones, XLR mic or line inputs. The internal mics are adjustable from XY to AB position, helping you to tailor your recording to the sound of the room. A pair of great-sounding TASCAM microphone preamps welcome condenser microphones with phantom power, recording at up to 96kHz/24-bit resolution. It accommodates balanced XLR or 1/4" line inputs using locking Neutrik Combo jacks. The DR-40 accepts SD or SDHC cards up to 32GB, and a 2GB card is included.