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Podcast rig suggestions for a specific application
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1
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Thread Starter
Podcast rig suggestions for a specific application

Hi all,

I'm a full time mastering engineer although I did spend the first 15 years of my career recording an mixing. I'm starting a new podcast/interview project with some specific requirements and wanted to get some input on possible gear choices, for a lifetime audio guy I'm pretty ignorant in this area.

I will be interviewing homeless people, wherever I meet them. I don't want to use a handheld mic because I feel it will make people self conscious, I want the conversations to feel as natural as possible and they will be anywhere from 20 mins to an hour long.

I'll be recording on the street so background and traffic noise will be an issue and something like a lav mic seems too fiddly to set up. I have gotten a DPA magnetic necklace mic to try but I'm concerned about phase issues if I'm wearing an omni as well as the interviewee.

For the recorder I'm looking for something with uncompressed audio, reliable, sounds good and ideally small so it can always be in my laptop bag.

Thanks,
Ruairi
Old 2 weeks ago
  #2
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Bruce Watson's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruairi View Post
I will be interviewing homeless people, wherever I meet them. I don't want to use a handheld mic because I feel it will make people self conscious, I want the conversations to feel as natural as possible and they will be anywhere from 20 mins to an hour long.

I'll be recording on the street so background and traffic noise will be an issue and something like a lav mic seems too fiddly to set up.
I've seen it done in war zones and other areas where the photographer / interviewer doesn't want to draw attention to the fact that an interview is actually taking place. That is, use a shotgun mic like a Sennheiser MKH 8060, which the interviewer holds down by his/her hip, and points upward toward the interviewee's mouth. Same thing for the camera (usually a separate camera person), holding the camera down on the hip (not on shoulder) shooting slightly upwards.

Takes some practice to keep the interviewee's mouth in-pattern, and to make it look completely casual like you aren't recording anything, you're just asking for directions to somewhere else. The real trick is to be able to hold it in position without fidgeting (which we'll all hear as handling noise in the final recording). That is way more difficult to accomplish than it sounds.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #3
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Sorry to be so flippant, but if you embedded one of the front or side hanging corks with a mini lav mic you'd have a fair chance of capturing interviewer and interviewee with approx equal volume...maybe ?

Zoom H5 hidden under the top of the hat maybe as well...and needless to add the hat is intended for use in fly-infested zones
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Old 2 weeks ago
  #4
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Thread Starter
Thanks for the out of the box thinking Gents.

Bruce, your idea makes a lot of sense. Unfortunately these will be long form conversations and I'll need to be available mentally and emotionally to connect, I worry that if I have to focus on a technical matter like that, or watching levels closely for example that I won't be present.

My interviewees will absolutely know they are being recorded and will have given permission, I'd just like both of us to forget that as soon as possible and relate in a human way.

I need to do some research on recorders, I considered using my phone with the new DPA D-Vice but I'm thinking an all in one unit might be better.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #5
Lives for gear
 

Thread Starter
The Sound Devices Mix Pre 3 certainly seems like a nice unit for the money, it's about where my budget tops out.

Cheers,
Ruairi
Old 2 weeks ago
  #6
You might take a look at the Lectro PDR and a decent lav mic. The whole rig can be worn on a necklace and even has the ability to resolve with catch and release timecode. No need for transmitter/receivers and all the brain damage associated with that... and when the interview is over you pop out the miniSD card and start editing. You get 6 hours of record time on a single AAA battery and SD card.
All the best,
-mark
Old 2 weeks ago
  #7
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Thread Starter
Thanks for the heads up on the PDR Mark, it looks like a clever unit. The idea of an all in one with no wires connecting the interviewee and me is appealing. Unfortunately I'd need another recorder to cover my mic.

I'm a little concerned that a lab mic will have issues with rustle etc. My subjects are often not very still.

The whole thing is a balancing act between non intrusive and quality.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #8
Gear Nut
 
Mr P's Avatar
 

If you use two necklace mics, mix them after the fact, so that only the mic of the person talking is open at any one time. This is how stage musicals avoid obvious comb filtering despite there being many omni lav mics on stage at any one time.

There are a few ideas in this link, particularly the ear rig, which might be acceptable to your subjects, fitting wise, and would net better SNR and be less sensitive to movement than a necklace worn mic.

Last edited by Mr P; 2 weeks ago at 06:22 AM.. Reason: Added link to masque sound blog.
Old 1 week ago
  #9
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr P View Post
If you use two necklace mics, mix them after the fact, so that only the mic of the person talking is open at any one time. This is how stage musicals avoid obvious comb filtering despite there being many omni lav mics on stage at any one time.

There are a few ideas in this link, particularly the ear rig, which might be acceptable to your subjects, fitting wise, and would net better SNR and be less sensitive to movement than a necklace worn mic.
Thanks for the suggestions Mr. P. The ear rig does look interesting but my worry is getting too much into the personal space of my interview subjects, many of whom are skeptical of strangers.

I'm coming back to the idea of some kind of dual shotgun arrangement that I can sit on the ground or table between the interviewee and I, something I can set and forget that will offer reasonable rejection of background noise.
Old 1 week ago
  #10
Lives for gear
a lav mic attached to their shirt or collar will give good proximity to their speech, maybe a wireless belt pack sender they can slip into a back pocket...once installed they can largely forget about it as "an object" between you both. Wired for you both is another (cheaper) option....

Your lav mic would go straight into the recorder via thin cable. Then just choose your environment for most comfort, minimal wind breezes and background noises. Dunno about relative costs: 2 lav mics, one with sender/receiver..one wired (or both wired) vs a stereo mic or a single pzm placed on the floor or table.

Hire or try before buying, then commit financially to the one which gives you best performance
Old 1 week ago
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

I've done hundreds of Run 'n gun type interviews. In all, a handheld offers the best quality in difficult, noisy environments. Other advantages are the ability to steer an interview, play with mic-distance on loud vs soft voices or extra noisy bg's, and simply point the mic to another person when in a group conversation.
For a lack of audio quality & professional handling, I wouldn't use an iRig or similar thingy. You'd best use a 'real' small recorder like a Sony, Tascam or Zoom.
Possible mics: Electro Voice RE50 or Sennheiser E900 series.
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