I may be shooting on sailboats on the ocean this summer for
a 8 - 10 minute sales video with a doc format. I will probably
choose a PD 150 or 170 due to robustness and low profile as
well as light sensitivity for night scenes .
What scares me is doing the sound in that environment: wind
noise, boat sounds, shouted instructions, as well as sharing
the 50' boat with 8 -10 other people. It will be verite style
and due to cost and space factors, I'll most likely be doing
it alone for 2 weeks.
What do people recommend for audio solutions? There will almost
certainly be characters developing over the two weeks who
will be more important than others, but I won't know who until
they do, maybe 4 or 5 days into it.
I'm thinking of using a good, short, cam mounted shotgun w/
a windscreen on ALC with a couple of wireless Lavs to hook
onto people as they become important to the story. Does this
sound reasonable? Can I just set the PD150 on auto and not
mess with the levels (except monitor them)? What kind of sound
can I expect in a two person conversation if I have a Lav
on only one of them assuming they're fairly close together?
Any thoughts or help will be greatly appreciated.
You definitely need a sound person for this job, let me check
You’re in a tough situation. Assuming you’re not
only under way in very fair weather with hardly a wind blowing
you need a good flurry for your camera microphone. Your main
problem will be the limited space (in the cockpit or salon)
so your camera mic will more often than not point into the
wrong direction. Therefore a hyper-cardio mic might be better
than a shotgun.
I would pre-rig various areas on the boat so I could plug
in whatever mic per need. A shotgun looking down at the cockpit
(from the antenna mast...etc.), one in the main salon....etc.
Lavalier microphones that are hidden under layers of clothes
only work satisfactorily for the one person who’s wearing
it. If the Lav is mounted in the open both characters will
be recorded fine if they’re not too far from each other.
If the crew wears heavy weather outfit you have to mount it
externally anyway, but you need special wind protection for
the Lavs. Rycote et.al manufacture also 'furries' for Lavs.
Then again a solidly built 50 ft yacht sells for something
like $750.000,00 there ought to be enough budget for...call
me, I’m a good sailor too!
Sound mixer etc.
Rob Lindsay writes:
>I may be shooting on sailboats
on the ocean this summer for a 8 - 10 >minute sales video with
a doc format. I will probably choose a PD 150 >or 170 due to
robustness and low profile as well as light sensitivity for
Good choice of camera. Make sure you've got some kind of spray
shield you can wrap around it when you need to. Salt spray
can be death to cameras. Keep your tapes and camera stored
in a warm, dry place.
[[ What do people recommend for audio solutions?]]
First choice :
- Get a Sennheiser K6/ME66 short-shotgun mic. - Get a Zeppelin-type windscreen with a pistol grip and internal
shock mount. - Train someone on board to use it. Establish hand signals
so you can tell them when it's safe to move the mic in close.
Second choice :
- Keep the zeppelin mounted on the camera (you may need a
custom mount for this) and feed it into audio Channel 1. - Mount an omnidirectional Lavalier inside the zeppelin as
well, and feed it into channel 2. This will give you a choice
of directionality in post. (Mount the Lav on the Zeppelin's
internal shock mount -- you want to keep it as far away from
the outer screen as possible) - Keep the WIND feature (a menu option) switched ON. This
steepens the slope of the bass-cut curve. - Keep both channels on Automatic Level Control. - Make sure the audio switches on the PD's handle are set
In all cases :
- Keep the mic's bass-cut switch in the maximum-cut position. - Always monitor with good headphones.
>wireless Lavs to hook onto people as they become important
to the >story.
If you don't have a separate, experienced soundperson, this
will get complicated. You'll have to deal with wind, clothing
noise, snagged (and broken) cables, bent clips, mics dropping
down into (and out of) shirts and so forth. You'll also have
to set your Lavs input trims properly, keep your gain structure
optimised, and constantly keep track of battery life. You
can attach the receivers to the camera, but that will add
weight and complexity....or keep them on your belt and have
to put up with snaggable cables. And in the end you'll still
have visible mics on these persons that betrays a kind of
artifice you might not want to display.
Save the wireless for special situations : i.e. if someone's
climbing the mast or goes out in a dinghy and is way out of
range of the shotgun.
>What kind of sound can I expect in a two person conversation
if I have a >Lav on only one of them assuming they're fairly
You'll have a completely different auditory perspective on
each of them. And every time you bring up the softer voice
in post, the background noise will come up, too.
Karl Lohninger writes :
>a hyper-cardioid mic might be better than a shotgun.
That's an option. It'll be smaller and lighter, but with a
bit less reach, and you should find one that has a bass-cut switch any suggestions,
Karl?). I can't overemphasize how important bass-cut is in
noisy environments. It really extends the reach of your mic
and eliminates all kinds of noise. If the voices sound a bit
harsh in post you can put back some upper (not lower!) bass
and/or chop your high end a bit to establish a better overall
>I would pre-rig various areas on the boat so I could plug
in whatever mic >per need.
That's an interesting approach. Might get a bit complicated,
though. And you'd have to ensure that unused cables are very
well secured. On sailboats, as you guys know, safety is always
Dan "mostly but not entirely an armchair sailor"
Marin County, CA
For your wireless transmitters, you may want to check this
>And you should find one (a
hyper cardioid microphone) that has a bass->cut switch (any
I own quite a selection of AKG 451s, 460s, and 480s. All have
bass cut switches and can be used with an assortment of capsules
- from omni, cardioid, hyper...to short and long shotgun).
They're excellent quality and also affordable. EBay also lists
them regularly. And with a little adapter one can use all
capsules made for the 451s on the 460/480 series.
But, in case you use (any brand) mics with switchable capsules
- prepare them in dry environment and then seal the threads
with a piece of gaffer tape before taking them into high humidity
Sound mixer, etc.
Shotgun microphones can also be protected from wet elements
by using non-lubricated condoms over them. I've had great
success with a 416 during hurricane coverage using this method.
Stretch it tight and I actually put the rycote (or whatever
windscreen you have) back on over the top of the condom to
keep it in place.
One of my favourite memories is going into the drug store
as the hurricane approached, and as everyone was buying water
and canned goods, my soundMAN and I were at the counter asking
about non-lubricated condoms. The sales lady didn't know what
Anyway - they work.
Miami Beach, FL
Karl Lohninger writes :
>[I own quite a selection of
AKG 451s, 460s, and 480s. All have bass cut >switches and can
be used with an assortment of capsules]
Yes. A good choice. The only disadvantage for *some* applications
would be the need for phantom power. But the PD150 supplies
I use my 460 as a studio mic -- I don't think of it as being
rugged enough for run-n-gun use. What's your experience been?
Marin County, CA
Dan Drasin wrote:
>RE: AKG 451s, 460s, and 480s.
>I use my 460 as a studio mic -- I don't think of it as
being rugged >enough for run-n-gun use. What's your experience
All these mics are used by me on a daily basis on location.
I have swivels on all of them using mostly CK3 capsules on
set. Excellent experience. If I know there will be highly
humid and damp situations I prep them carefully at home and
don't take them apart on set. That's it. The 480 (transformerless)
might in rare instances react to heavy RF influence - in that
case I'll switch it out with a 460 which has a transformer
output. The 480 has a +6db switch that comes in nicely in
My son's (sound mixer too) main exterior shotgun mic is a
460 with a ck69 short/long module - it sounds excellent with
no failures to report. I've just sold my 816 and will also
add a CK69 to my arsenal to make my wife's (and boom operator)
life easier. A fully extended 22 feet pole with an 816 with
windscreen and furry does get heavy on longer takes. The AKG
with a CK69 weighs almost half of an 816....
Sound mixer, etc
Take a B camera. Water, salt spray, water, rolling ships,
water, slippery decks, more water. Take two of all the essentials.
Talk to the guys at Trew, they might have some good ideas.
In windy conditions I've had more luck with shotguns in a
good windsock than with Lavs.
>In windy conditions I've had
more luck with shotguns in a good >windsock than with Lavs.
There's really no way to screen a Lav effectively against
Sometimes you can get away with placing the Lav under clothing,
but that requires careful pinning, gaffer taping, etc., to
keep the mic in place and properly oriented, and also to prevent
clothing noise. Clothing heavier than, say, a thin undershirt,
will also impact your high-frequency response (i.e. muffle
your sound) and the cavity formed by the mic under clothing
will sometimes give you phase problems.
Marin County, CA
Sound is always tough in that situation. Sometimes the hidden
lav will work great and sometimes the boom will. Think about
placing the backs of your talent to the wind hiding the lave
on the Leeward side. Same is true for the shot gun. Place
it on the Leeward Side of your talent using their bodies to
screen the wind. Almost touch them with the boom. If sound
is critical for a shot run one of the channels lav the other
Think about getting a shot gun with its own power supply and
a separate transmitter. That way you can avoid wires getting
in the way. Many receivers have four preset frequencies. So
with two receivers you could handle eight inputs. I’d
take a minimum two receivers and three transmitters. One of
the transmitters for the Boom. More would be better but it
is a cost issue. Gear breaks so back ups are a good idea.
If you can afford four transmitters and a boom mike you could
pre wire four of the people and then just switch the channels
on your receivers to get the key people.
>Unfortunately, I won't be able
to use Lavs for the most part because the >kids will be either
shirtless or in bikinis or t shirts.
Perhaps you need to talk to 'Wardrobe' and take some control?
Bikinis mic up fine. And the guys could wear polo shirts [translation
- soft-collared casual shirts with V neck and two/three buttons
As to who helps the girls fit lapels to their bikini tops
and tucks the
cable under the straps round to the back...
Hasn't been there, might get into trouble if he did...
Perth, Western Australia.
Clive Woodward writes:
>As to who helps the girls fit
lapels to their bikini tops and tucks the cable >under the
straps round to the back...
One of my periodic bread & butter gigs involves running
audio and video operations for a local, upscale private grade
school that puts on some quite amazing close-to-Broadway-scale
stage shows. The fifth and eighth-graders do these unbelievably
sophisticated performances and I mic 'em with 16 Sennheiser
wireless Lavs and about 6 ambient mics. I run the performance
sound myself and edit the videos (I hire a couple of shooters
It's actually an extremely challenging gig.
But let's just say it has its perks.
Dan "paragon of propriety" Drasin
Marin County, CA
Thanks to all who wrote back w/ ideas for getting sound while
shooting on a 50' sailboat w/ 8-9 teenagers. the job isn't
set yet, but this is how it looks if it goes :
Unfortunately, I won't be able to use Lavs for the most part
because the kids will be either shirtless or in bikinis or
t shirts. I am looking at using a PD170 w/ W/A adapter (any
preferences?) and a rain cover. Add a short shotgun (Senn
415?) w/ a windscreen, 2 Lavs for controlled interviews and
classes, and backups for all the above. Maybe one of those
DV hand held rigs that separates the mic from the camera as
well. Anyone used one?