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Can you help me replicate this interview set-up?

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Re: Can you help me replicate this interview set-up?

Postby TrianaSound » Mon Aug 03, 2020 5:39 am

Thanks to each of you for your comments. I really appreciate everyone taking time to share your expertise with me.

As a point of clarification, these interviews will NOT be filmed. If I were filming then I would probably just go with the overhead boom set-up. But for this particular project I'm trying to be as low key as possible which is why no cameras, no lights, and no overhead rigging :). As for lavs, you've all convinced me that they would be a solid choice if it were not for the current social distancing environment. Maybe in the future.

Hugh Robjohns wrote:What's the budget, and what are you recording them onto? Personally, I record interviews like this with Neumann KM185s onto a Nagra VI... but I doubt you'll want to go quite that high-end...

Regarding gear for this specific set-up, I had been thinking about purchasing a MixPre 3ii and a couple Oktava 012 with hyper-cardioid capsules. Other mics on my short list are the Audix SCX1-HC and Audio Technica AT4053b. Could possibly stretch budget for the Sennheiser MKH 50 or MKH 8050 if convinced they would be that much better than the others. Any thoughts about these choices? Or another specific mic recommendation for this set-up?

Finally, and I apologize in advance for the basic nature of this question, where would you aim the microphone for this set-up? I'm a bit confused by the photo. It appears that Ms. Obama's mic is aimed directly at her mouth whereas Mr. Obama's mic is aimed in front of him with him speaking across the polar pattern (if that makes sense)? I know that overhead booms are usually aimed at the chin, but unsure where to aim when on a lower stand that is more head level so as to minimize sounding off-mic if interviewee shifts around a bit.

Thanks again for your advice and recommendations.
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Re: Can you help me replicate this interview set-up?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:43 am

TrianaSound wrote:Regarding gear for this specific set-up, I had been thinking about purchasing a MixPre 3ii and a couple Oktava 012 with hyper-cardioid capsules.

Yes, that would get the job done nicely. The Mix Pre is a very nice recorder indeed.

Other mics on my short list are the Audix SCX1-HC and Audio Technica AT4053b.

Likewise. Both good quality mics.

Could possibly stretch budget for the Sennheiser MKH 50 or MKH 8050 if convinced they would be that much better than the others.

That would be the gold standard for this kind of thing, and the 8050s are particularly small and discrete, which could be helpful... These mics are very expensive though -- althogh they will hold their price well and last a lifetime. I have a lot of MKHs (4x20s, 3x40s, 2x30s and 1x50), and they are superb.

As I said, previously, the Neumann KM185s are another worthy option to consider, as are the Schoeps CCM41 or Collette with the MK41 super-cardioid capsule.

...where would you aim the microphone for this set-up?

Generally towards the mouth, but the pickup pattern is not so narrow that it's going to make any difference whether you point at the chin or forehead from two feet away. It's just not that critical. And the talker will inevitably move around during the discussion anyway.
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Re: Can you help me replicate this interview set-up?

Postby TrianaSound » Mon Aug 03, 2020 5:54 pm

@HughRobjohns Thanks again for the thoughtful and detailed reply. I feel much more confident moving forward with all the advice I've received from everyone in this forum.
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Re: Can you help me replicate this interview set-up?

Postby MOF » Mon Aug 03, 2020 6:57 pm

Some of those early interviews were done on a boom microphone and the mic’s in shot were a standby. A boom operator could accommodate an interviewee looking out to the audience and away from the floor stand mic’.
I still see personal mic’s badly positioned so that the interviewer and interviewee go ‘off-mic’’.
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Re: Can you help me replicate this interview set-up?

Postby The Red Bladder » Tue Aug 04, 2020 9:45 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Shotguns don't really work very well indoors -- the interference tube doesn't work correctly when there are strong side reflections
News to me! Hugh -we must assume that he isn't recording this in the lavatory! Chances are that he is doing this in a living room.

I have tried various shotguns over the years and they all pretty much suck (and the cheaper they are the more they suck) - with the notable exception of the Sennheiser 416. The MKH416 can be a meter away and still give a pretty good 'intimate' sound in a living room environment. The OP can slum it with an SM57 or an SM58 but the interviewee needs to not have to wear stupid body mics, keep a constant 18 inches from a 414 or stand on one leg and hold a Neumann between his knees.

The down-side is that they cost about £700 inc. VAT - considering that I only spent £500 net on one 18 months ago, we get to see how the £ has trousered in the past year. The OP should be able to get a good used one for that price (P48 version only!)

If the money ain't there, get a couple of SM58s and place them closer to the person - and stop over-thinking this issue!
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Re: Can you help me replicate this interview set-up?

Postby Arpangel » Tue Aug 04, 2020 10:28 am

The Red Bladder wrote:
Hugh Robjohns wrote:Shotguns don't really work very well indoors -- the interference tube doesn't work correctly when there are strong side reflections
News to me! Hugh -we must assume that he isn't recording this in the lavatory! Chances are that he is doing this in a living room.

I have tried various shotguns over the years and they all pretty much suck (and the cheaper they are the more they suck) - with the notable exception of the Sennheiser 416. The MKH416 can be a meter away and still give a pretty good 'intimate' sound in a living room environment. The OP can slum it with an SM57 or an SM58 but the interviewee needs to not have to wear stupid body mics, keep a constant 18 inches from a 414 or stand on one leg and hold a Neumann between his knees.

The down-side is that they cost about £700 inc. VAT - considering that I only spent £500 net on one 18 months ago, we get to see how the £ has trousered in the past year. The OP should be able to get a good used one for that price (P48 version only!)

If the money ain't there, get a couple of SM58s and place them closer to the person - and stop over-thinking this issue!

I helped record many an interview with shotguns, on low floor stands pointing up.
Admittedly, most of the time in large rooms, but they worked fine, no issues at all.
We never used the 416, our weapons of choice were Beyer, or Schoeps shotguns.
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Re: Can you help me replicate this interview set-up?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Aug 04, 2020 10:50 am

The Red Bladder wrote:News to me!

Nevertheless... it is a scientific fact...

In a well damped domestic sitting room the reduction in performance may well appear small, but booming close to the (reflective) ceiling can degrade the 'suck' quite noticeably.

The reason is that the interference tube works by expecting the wanted sound to come (only) straight down the tube, and the (entirely different) unwanted sound to come in only via the multiple side slots. Which is exactly what happens out of doors...

But when you're in a more reflective, enclosed environment, the wanted sound not only comes down the tube, a lot of it also comes in quite strongly via the side slots, and that messes up the cancellation processes which are necessary to give the shotgun polar pattern.

The result is that the polar pattern degrades to the natural hyper-cardioid pattern of the capsule, but you still have a lot of colouration and nastiness from any off axis sources.

Okay... in a quiet living room you may not notice that colouration and nastiness if there are no significant off-axis sources... But you ain't getting the 'suck' that you think you are and might just as well set up a good hyper-cardioid instead which will work better and sound nicer...

I have tried various shotguns over the years and they all pretty much suck (and the cheaper they are the more they suck) - with the notable exception of the Sennheiser 416.

I certainly agree about cheap shotgun mics. And the 416 is a well-proven and reliable tool... but the technology has moved on considerably and there are now much better-sounding alternatives. The Schoeps CMIT models are spectacularly good, but priced accordingly. For a more affordable option, the new Rode NTG5 sounds very good and is excellent value for money.
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