The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
This set-up for lengthy interviews??
Old 1 week ago
  #1
Here for the gear
 

This set-up for lengthy interviews??

I'd love to hear thoughts about the recording set-up shown in the attached photo of Michelle Obama's inaugural podcasts (not interested in politics, just recording technique and gear please).

I'm about to record a series of oral history interviews and this set-up looks like it may be ideal given the parameters of the project which are as follows:

**Lengthy interviews with inexperienced subjects (i.e., no proper mic technique)
**Record both interviewer and interviewee
**Subjects will be seated but will likely shift around in seat during longer interview
**Recordings will be made in homes or offices
**Desire to set-up everything BEFORE subject enters room (so preferably no lavs)
**Least intimidating set-up possible to encourage relaxed and candid conversations

With the above in mind, do you think the set-up shown in this photo could work? If so, any recommendation on which microphone would be best for this set-up? I'm assuming a cardioid condenser (or super-cardioid) to allow subjects some leeway to shift in their seats without going off axis? This set-up seems less intimidating than an overhead boom microphone, especially if it can be placed slightly off to the side and what, maybe 18" away?

As of right now I had planned on purchasing MixPre 3ii and a couple Oktava MK-012. Any and all thoughts/recommendations are greatly appreciated. I'm new at this

Thank you.
Attached Thumbnails
This set-up for lengthy interviews??-michelle-obama-podcast-kb-main-200728-v2_075a9f1514c906a118deaf1bcffc287c.jpg  
Old 1 week ago
  #2
Lives for gear
Suggest using OMNI mic's for interviews if the rooms are not really bad.

If you can find an Old MD211 they are fantastic interview mic's.

https://reverb.com/item/9363157-senn...ni-vintage-mic
Old 1 week ago
  #3
Lives for gear
My experience capturing novice talent speaking on video makes me prefer overhead. It can be less intimidating: out of sight [or nearly so] => out of mind [or nearly so].

Mic preference would depend on the room. My go to mics would be Schoeps CCM41 and miniCMIT. And I would still use high-quality wireless lavs [DPA 4060/6060 via Audio Limited A10] as back up. . .if there is any possibility the talent might move.

Be sure to capture ambient room sound - at least several seconds, and use silence in between questions to collect even more. . .and it’s the right thing to do.


Go get ‘em!

Ray H.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
Here for the gear
 

Thank you for your suggestions. I will definitely take them into consideration.
Old 1 week ago
  #5
Gear Addict
 
Dan Popp's Avatar
My experience with amateurs suggests that cardioid or wide cardioid will be needed; and if the mics are overhead the interviewees will only tilt their heads up to talk toward it (look at all the actors leaning down to the podium mics during award shows). The soft chairs idea is good, and no table for them to bang on. Good luck.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Popp View Post
My experience with amateurs suggests that cardioid or wide cardioid will be needed; and if the mics are overhead the interviewees will only tilt their heads up to talk toward it (look at all the actors leaning down to the podium mics during award shows). The soft chairs idea is good, and no table for them to bang on. Good luck.
The part about overheads made me smile - I recall seeing a news story about domesticated turkeys drowning in the rain because they looked up. So, I can see it happening.

But, the looking up thing hasn’t happened to me yet, nor the leaning forward. I think maybe because there is no auditable feedback for the interviewee as there would be with a PA system. And maybe also because I spend a little time doing chit-chat - including about their mics, the lighting, and how they look on camera - to help set the interviewee at ease in the environment. Or maybe because - no matter what I say/do - they are far more obsessed with, or terrified by the cameras [and lighting]. Or maybe I’ve just been lucky in that regard.

No table is a definite rule. But the soft chair can be a difficult call, as some tend to not flatter themselves while slouching in one. I most often avoid that if I can - unless the interviewee is particularly photogenic there. It is more often I’m going to look to break up a long interview in some other way to keep the interviewee comfortable. If I do have them long in a soft chair, I would likely move away from the hyper-cardioid and shotgun. . .to a cardioid, wide, or maybe even an omni. Not my preference, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.


Kind regards,

Ray H.

Sometimes - to make less hostile an environment for the interviewee - I will show him or her how to work my timecode slate [clapper], and teach them what to say: Shared sticks, Scene 3, Take 5, Mark, [clap and hold]. . .where the scene number translates to topic area or question number. But I’m still usually the script girl, so they don’t actually have to keep track. . .unless they are a personal friend or really want to. Then I make them the script girl. The term, script girl [for anyone who doesn’t know] is a critically important, traditional Hollywood-type movie job position. . .and equally fun/disarming on interviews when neither of us are actually girls.

BTW, the gear I mentioned in my post above were for your longer-term reference. You'll do fine, I think, starting with what you planned. If you haven't yet, keep an eye on Curtis Judd's YouTube channel.
Old 1 week ago
  #7
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RayHeath View Post
No table is a definite rule. But the soft chair can be a difficult call, as some tend to not flatter themselves while slouching in one. I most often avoid that if I can - unless the interviewee is particularly photogenic there. It is more often I’m going to look to break up a long interview in some other way to keep the interviewee comfortable. If I do have them long in a soft chair, I would likely move away from the hyper-cardioid and shotgun. . .to a cardioid, wide, or maybe even an omni. Not my preference, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

Many of my interview subjects are older people. In my experience they are a bit more particular about sitting in comfortable chairs and tend to shift around more to remain comfortable during longer sessions. This is one reason I was wondering if a wider pick-up pattern would be recommended for this particular situation.

Thanks again for all the helpful feedback from everyone. This is very helpful.
Old 1 week ago
  #8
Lives for gear
I think that the more annoying problem with using a microphone with a wider pattern is you'll record room reverberations, clocks, hvac, and the fridge...hence the CCM41 suggestion is certainly appropriate.

If you pay attention to setting your gain so that you have adequate signal., I think you'll be fine.

You might look into the Zoom F6 and check Curtis Judd's channel as suggested. It could be that they way the gain works on the F6 would give you some additional safety against coming away with a recording that's too low. I don't own an F6, but it is something you might look into before you spend your money.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byMZkEvYRKw
Old 1 week ago
  #9
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
I did a live internet radio show for about 4 and a half years and the setup was very similar to that. Host, sidekick and interview guest on a big sectional couch with 416's. Maybe a tiny bit closer than they are in the Obamas photo but not much.

Here's a link to an episode from late 2018...

Life Changes Show Ep. 506
Old 1 week ago
  #10
Lives for gear
 
AfterViewer's Avatar
 

Very cool music track. Interesting to hear her speak of the band's qualifications in the song's lyrics.

Last edited by AfterViewer; 1 week ago at 07:11 AM..
Old 1 week ago
  #11
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by AfterViewer View Post
Very cool music track. Interesting to hear her speak of the band's qualifications in the song's lyrics.
Check out the Ed Cherney mixes that got them the Grammy nomination. Big shoes.
📝 Reply
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
🖨️ Show Printable Version
✉️ Email this Page
🔍 Search thread
🎙️ View mentioned gear
Forum Jump
Forum Jump