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Outdoor SFX recording - shotgun vs long shotgun vs supercardioid
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Outdoor SFX recording - shotgun vs long shotgun vs supercardioid

Hi all, I really appreciate all the wisdom getting shared in these forums and have learned a hell of a lot from lurking here over the years.

I need a mic for recording mono sound effects outdoors such as footsteps, rock impacts, various material sounds etc. Very little dialogue (if any) so the mic will usually be set up on a stand rather than being swung around on a boom. Ideally I'd have a foley pit or my very own quiet area outside with all the materials handy, but I live in a city with traffic, leaves rustling, birds, insects etc to contend with. I know that weather, time of day and mic placement are most important, but I also want my mic choice to be the right one.

The obvious contenders are shotguns such as the CS3e, MKH416, MKH8060, NTG3, CMIT 5U etc. However I'm also wondering whether a long shotgun like the NTG8 or MKH8070 could be an option. I know they're normally used for distant sounds, but could the extreme rejection make them good for capturing close sounds without unwanted background noises? I don't hear of them being used like this much and figure there's probably a reason why not. I'm guessing they might colour off-axis sound too much? The physical size would be a bit impractical too, but I'd overlook that if it really helped reject the unwanted background noises.

To further muddy the waters, I'm also very keen on the MKH8050, due to its extended frequency range while still being somewhat directional.

So, the question is how much better rejection would a long gun provide for my uses when compared to a regular shotgun, or compared to a supercardioid like the MKH8050? Any other options or considerations that I might be overlooking?

Unfortunately we don't seem to have anywhere to rent different mics where I live.

Budget isn't really a concern within reason. I'd much prefer to buy it once and enjoy it forever.

Many thanks in advance!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #2
Lives for gear
Stick with RF capsule for exteriors for a start
MKH 816/815 on the Bay go quite cheaply
They are coloured on the side and have a rear lobe, but are very tough.
Newer 8060/70 are quieter and cleaner but more expensive
MKH 50 are lovely and much smaller and the capsule can be got closer to the action
They still have a rear lobe though , all require full Rycoting.
Hiring is best for comparisons, good companies have efficient logistics.
What country ?
Roger
Old 2 weeks ago
  #3
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cvj View Post
The obvious contenders are shotguns such as the CS3e, MKH416, MKH8060, NTG3, CMIT 5U etc. However I'm also wondering whether a long shotgun like the NTG8 or MKH8070 could be an option. I know they're normally used for distant sounds, but could the extreme rejection make them good for capturing close sounds without unwanted background noises?

There lies the answer to your question: Is depends on what you want to reject and how much of it there is in relation to your source sound. You wouldn't want to record footsteps in a noisy place so a huge shotgun is going to bring more disadvantages to the game than advantages. Extreme directivity mean you can hardly move while performing and you get strong(er) coloration to the sides.

You said "close sounds" if you can get close there's no need for extremely directive mics to start with.

So there's no general answer to your question. Omnipresent noise is not going to be reduces by a directive mic. If the noise is very directive (coming just from one spot) a directive mix can help cancel that our by placing is accordingly.

Example: a 50Hz hum from all around a room won't be reduced one bit by sticking a hyper shotgun in there as directivity is frequency dependent. Even you most directive mic will be an omni in the low end.

So, as always, the answer is: It depends.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #4
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolo 46 View Post
Stick with RF capsule for exteriors for a start
MKH 816/815 on the Bay go quite cheaply
They are coloured on the side and have a rear lobe, but are very tough.
Newer 8060/70 are quieter and cleaner but more expensive
MKH 50 are lovely and much smaller and the capsule can be got closer to the action
They still have a rear lobe though , all require full Rycoting.
Hiring is best for comparisons, good companies have efficient logistics.
What country ?
Roger
Thanks very much for replying! I'm in Brisbane, Australia, and we don't have too many hire options unfortunately. Same thing for the secondhand market, though I have been keeping my eye out.

You mention RF capsule for outdoors - I couldn't figure out what the CS3e is. DC maybe? I'm pretty ignorant with this. Am I right in assuming it wouldn't be quite as robust as the Sennheisers outdoors?

I imagine the 8060 would be nice but if I'm forgoing the extreme rejection of the CS3e then the 8050 becomes tempting with its increased frequency range. Basically I want to either have the best directionality I can or that increased range, rather than a compromise in the middle. And then no doubt I'll buy the other one anyway further down the track
Old 2 weeks ago
  #5
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by apple-q View Post
There lies the answer to your question: Is depends on what you want to reject and how much of it there is in relation to your source sound.
Thanks a lot for taking the time to reply and offering your advice. A lot of recording I do is out in national parks or in the bush (even for SFX as opposed to ambience). So, the sounds I'm wanting to reject are things like bird calls, insects, leaves rustling, sometimes voices and car engines etc. Definitely not ideal for recording footsteps and such but sometimes the materials involved mean I need to do it outside somewhere (e.g. the sound of walking on a boulder, or of big rocks tumbling etc). I know mic placement and time of day etc are way more important than type of mic for this but I do think something more directional is going to help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by apple-q View Post
You said "close sounds" if you can get close there's no need for extremely directive mics to start with.
I know what you mean but even getting as close as I can I either get some unwanted proximity effect or sometimes the other unwanted noises still come through into the recording (bearing in mind this is usually with cardioids and omnis at the moment - hence the need for a shotgun!) Probably a good indicator that the environment just isn't right but I've managed to get some workable material in the past and would rather get out more to give it a go and fix what I can in post than sit around waiting for everything to align perfectly

Quote:
Originally Posted by apple-q View Post
Omnipresent noise is not going to be reduces by a directive mic. If the noise is very directive (coming just from one spot) a directive mix can help cancel that our by placing is accordingly.

Example: a 50Hz hum from all around a room won't be reduced one bit by sticking a hyper shotgun in there as directivity is frequency dependent. Even you most directive mic will be an omni in the low end.
That's a very good point. A lot of the noises are a bit omnipresent but sometimes they come from a rough direction. My hope is that I can reject them to some degree in the latter case.

You've given me some good points to think about - thank you. Do you have any specific thoughts on the Sanken CS3e vs a long shotgun? I imagine the long shotgun might be harder to keep things nicely on-axis but would also offer better rejection of the higher frequencies. Is that about right?
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