Great Mic/Recorder Pair

I'm just exploring all options before pulling the trigger on buying an indoor mic. I saw the video on the Rode website where they put the little mic on the visor of a car, and thought... hmm... if a little mic like that would sound better than my shotgun inside, I could imagine times (like micing the car) where a smaller one would be nice.
 
OK sound gurus...Is it more a fact that a pro boom op / mixer pair can master the tool and get good sound by adjusting their technique according to the situation over a one size fits all mic solution ?? Im thinking yes

I dont have the chops to pull it off, but Im thinking that is more the case. let a pro do it w/ decent eqt and you get the best results. That magic sennheiser mic or whatever is not the be-all end-all solution. It is the hands of the artist with adequate tools
 
OK sound gurus...Is it more a fact that a pro boom op / mixer pair can master the tool and get good sound by adjusting their technique according to the situation over a one size fits all mic solution ?? Im thinking yes
You would be correct in thinking "yes". I'm not going to get too involved in discussions about production sound equipment because to be honest I don't know that much about it and Alcove seems to have much more expertise in this area than me. However, I do know mics and mic technique well. Nearly 20 years ago I learnt a very valuable lesson about mics, maybe this story will be useful:

I was working with an international concert soloist who was recording an album for BMG Records at the Hit Factory in London, one of the top recording studios in the world at that time. The Hit Factory had a fabulous (and famous) mic collection, reputedly insured for $10m and we were due to record a Marimba, arguably the most difficult of all musical instruments to record. The chief recording engineer asked what mics we should try, so I began testing my way through their mic collection, starting with the most expensive ones, their famous matched pair of Neumann M50s (worth about $200,000). The M50s sounded superb but it wasn't quite the sound we wanted. After an hour or two the engineer said that he now had a good idea of the sound we were looking for so he would choose some mics, otherwise it would take about a week to go through the whole mic collection. Studio 1 was very big and I couldn't quite see from the control room which mics he had used but as soon as the soloist started playing I knew we'd found the sound. I asked what mics he'd used and the reply was, "Shure SM57s"... at about $100 each, probably the cheapest mics in their collection! I was stunned at this choice of mic but it was the right sound, and that recording went on to become one of the definitive marimba recordings.

As a by the way, I took measurements and drew careful diagrams of the mics and their positions and recreated the mic'ing pattern precisely in my own studio. Even with the same musician and same instrument, the result was poor and sounded just like it had been recorded on cheap $100 mics! After much experimentation, I did eventually achieve good results in my own studio but with completely different mics and mic placement.

The two lessons learned:

1. The right mic for the job is the one which gives the desired sound and under specific circumstances that could mean that a pair of mics worth $200 is a better choice than a pair of mics worth $200k. In other words, there isn't a one mic fits all and there isn't a mic which is inherently "better" than any other mic. There are just different mics and which is the best depends on what you're recording, where you're recording it and the sound you're after.

2. I would never have dreamt of using SM57s, what made the engineer choose them? The answer was his experience of the mics at his disposal, his knowledge of their response and the resultant sound they would create in the acoustic environment of the Hit Factory's Studio 1. Good equipment is essential for good sound but knowing how to use it is even more important!

I know a music recording in a studio is quite different to production sound but the lessons about mics and mic techniques I learnt that day are applicable to any audio recording situation.

G
 
OK .. forget the mic what about the ears ? The ears connected to the brain that says "this mic will do it" . Like Donald Southerland when he said " Did it look at you? Did the fire look at you? It did." that is what a pro does..he "sees" and is able to make a decision based on what he sees or hears. Sorry, either you have learned it or not. that is where the expert grabs the right tool for the job. Keep grabbing the wrong tool and look..you might learn what the right tool is. OHH im not there yet..
 
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More so than any other creative/artistic pursuit, filmmaking is a team sport. You can paint alone, sculpt alone, write alone, take photographs alone, compose alone and even perform alone. But storytelling with actors, whether it's on a stage or committed to audio/visual media, requires that you involve others.

Filmmaking is about telling a story. The audience experiences the story through the actors and the interactions of the actors with each other and their environment. So far those interactions are limited to sounds and moving pictures.

The directors job is to make those physical and verbal interactions interesting. What happens all to often is that, once s/he is on the set, the director forgets about the dialog; yet the dialog, the verbal interaction between the characters, is what involves the audience in the story.

"Filmmaking is the art of the invisible; if anyone notices your work you have not done your job correctly." And nothing is more invisible than sound. Get the sound right and no one notices; get it wrong, if the audience cannot understand what the characters are saying to each other, they will not care how beautiful the visuals are.

Everyone is always asking "what mic/recorder/whatever should I get" hoping that it will improve their sound. But as with every other aspect of filmmaking - in fact with almost every other art form - it is the skill with which the tools are used and not the tools themselves that makes the ultimate difference. That's why I always advise getting someone who knows what they are doing to swing the boom and set the levels. Then, if the acting is good, the project has a chance. After all, especially at the indie level, most films are about the verbal interactions of the characters. So get the production sound right and your project, from a technical standpoint, stands a good chance.
 
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