Range of a Shotgun Mic ?

Kolia

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I need help figuring out what type of mic to get.

Would I be able to capture a conversation outdoors from about 8 feet away with an on camera shotgun mic ? Thinking of a Rode Video Pro with a dead kitten fur cover.

This is just for family videos, so I can tape my kids without being too invasive.

Thanks for your input !
 
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Kolia

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I'll have the answer this weekend.
 

runnah

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Like flashes mics are better when you get them off the camera.
 
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Kolia

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Yeah. But at this point, putting a wireless lavalier mic on everybody is too much of an investment !

I can always return it if it doesn't work out.
 

runnah

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Yeah. But at this point, putting a wireless lavalier mic on everybody is too much of an investment !

I can always return it if it doesn't work out.

Sure, but if it were me I'd use a boom mic setup with an xlr to mini plug
 
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Kolia

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Lol

I agree !

This is for casual home video. Imagine me at the helm of my boat, shooting the kids sitting at the bow.

-All right kids, pretend daddy isn't there with a full audio video rig and act natural again !

I might setup a fixed boon tho. Not a bad idea. It might look like a fishing rod from a distance.

:D
 

Joeywhat

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A shotgun mic will work fine at those distances. It'll sound fine mounted on the camera as well. As good as some other techniques? No...but it won't sound bad (assuming the mic is decent).
 

brunerww

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Hi Kolia - the $229 Rode Videomic Pro will do a great job for kids outdoors - even from 8 feet away - but if you ever plan to get the mic off the camera and onto a boom, I don't recommend it. It has an unbalanced TRS 3.5mm output, which can introduce noise with long cable runs.

You would be better off with a battery powered Audio Technica AT897 pro mic ($211 at Amazon, $209 on eBay as of this post), a $25 Campro Deluxe shock mount and a $17 Hosa MIT-156 impedance matching cable (to match the impedance of the professional mic to your consumer camera).

The AT897 is more sensitive (for pickup at longer ranges) and has better frequency response than the Videomic Pro for a little over $20 more (the Rode's frequency response is 40-20,000 Hz, for example, while the Audio Technica's is 20-20,000).

In addition, if you ever decide to put the AT897 on a boom, you can connect it to your camera with long runs of pro XLR cable without introducing the noise you would get from unbalanced consumer cable.

This is the approach I use with my Panasonic GH3. I mounted an old Audio Technica AT835b (bought used on eBay), plus the Campro and the Hosa cable. The sound quality I get from this setup is excellent (see image below):


$P1110864.JPG

Hope this is helpful!

Bill
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For the latest camera and tech news, tips and techniques, please follow HCR on Blogger, YouTube and Google+
 

Helen B

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Why are you suggesting an impedance matching cable? The AT mic should normally be connected to the higher-Z mic pre in the camera, not matched to it. It's a voltage transfer system, not a power transfer system (such as speakers, for example, where you do want to match impedance). Matching impedance in this case will usually lower the S/N ratio by 6 dB. Is there something special about the GH3? The isolation the transformer provides may be beneficial, however, but not the matching.
 

brunerww

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On battery power, my mic's output is 600 Ohms, which the Hosa matches to the camera's ~2K Ohm input.

Panasonic doesn't give a number for the GH3's preamp, but, in my experience, most consumer cameras and camcorders have a High Z input impedance of about 2000 Ohms - and when I have tried plugging a Low to Medium Z output into a consumer High Z input I've gotten hum.

So it was great to find a $17 product whose specs said: "...designed to match 600R output impedance to 2.5K input impedance" and "Eliminates noise and hum caused by an impedance mismatch".

I've found these claims to be accurate, in my case.

Best,

B
 
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Kolia

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Success !

Very happy of the result with the RODE mic plus dead cat fuzzy sleeve.

Cruising around 25mph in the boat, I can record conversation despite the wind. Which was absolutely impossible with the camer's mic.
 

Helen B

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Bill,

2k is quite a common input impedance for pro mic preamps, and it is correct that the mic pre should have an input impedance significantly higher than the mic's impedance. It should not be matched for the best S/N. By matching you reduce the S/N by 6 dB. I'm not making this up, and I can explain it if you wish, but it is easy enough to Google. (It's a different matter for power transfer systems, like speakers.)

As I mentioned above, it is probably the isolation that the transformer provides that removes the hum. The other method you were using might not allow the XLR side to be balanced - ie everything might become unbalanced because of incorrect connections. The other thing a transformer does is to block the bias voltage that may coming out of the camera - the low DC voltage used to power some microphones (it's different from phantom power). The AT mic you were using should itself be immune to that - most pro mics I have used are - but blocking it does no harm if the mic doesn't need the power from the camera. It can be blocked by a capacitor as well as by a transformer.
 

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Success !

Very happy of the result with the RODE mic plus dead cat fuzzy sleeve.

Cruising around 25mph in the boat, I can record conversation despite the wind. Which was absolutely impossible with the camer's mic.

Thanks for posting back your findings on this mic. I am looking for one for family video projects.
 

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