Microphone Help?

Hey, as some of you might have seen my other thread, I am working on a movie. We are filming this Monday…hopefully…our last film date didn’t quite work out…

One of our main problems is audio. What would any of you suggest doing for audio? None of my microphones that I have currently work for what I need them for…and the one on the video camera isn’t good enough…

Thanks for any suggestions!


Does anyone have any suggestions???

This all depens on what kind of equipement you allready have or how much you wana spend on new stuff.
Are you filming mostly indoor or outdoor.
Describe your Problem a little better (is it too much background-noise? or whatever),
its a wide field, you know?

i’m sorry…I know lots about video and graphics but almost nothing about audio.

We are filming outdoor(its the only place our bluescreen will fit)
The camera will be a good distance from the actors…probably about twenty feet max…
I bought a microphone yesterday, but its definitely not right for the job…its an MD-4000sc…mostly for vocalists and whatnot after doing some research…
I’m willing to spend anywhere from $0-$100…so I don’t need anything EXTRAVAGANT…just better than a desktop mic…
Also, the main problem we have right now is too much background noise…the mic thats built in to the camera is not high quality enough…I think…



These seem like good ones
i dont have very much experience with this stuff either. You should consider which kind of mic like, would it be an omni, directional or zoom mic
omni is like omni light in blender it takes sound from all direction and then directional takes from straight front and zoom which is probaply in correct word for it anyways is good like in recording directionally but from further away from subject

compare lowest HZ and maximum freguencies these make difference in quality of sound in mics. Correct
input volume is important too

Well, its a little difficult to get good results in this price range.
How do you record the audio? Do you have anything like a preamp between the mic.
and your recording device?(Probably need phantompower)

In my opinion there are two way´s to get usable results.

  1. Mount a camera above the Greenscreen. Use a preamp(!). Try to enhance the quality afterwards with a wave editor of your choice.(I Can give you some hints how to if you get certan problems)

  2. Get a few of thouse little clip on mic´s which will cost more than 100 bucks couse every actor is connected whireless to a receiver.

Another way, wich means a lot of work and finetuning is to rerecord all phrases indoors, and sync it whith your video material.

I’m sorry…I’m a complete noob when it comes to this stuff…
What exactly is a preamp?


Also, about how I record stuff now is just using the built in mic with the camera…

All I really need to do is eliminate the crickets in the background…

Thanks again for your help though!


A preamp is some sort of an amplifier, witch delivers power (Phantompower its widely called) to the Capacitor in the Microphone. Without a preamp (or batteries inside the Mic.) you will allways get poor results.
However if your recording is o.k. exept for the cricets its not a preamp you need.
If the cricets are only hearable when noone is speaking, you can get rid of them using
a Noise-Gate. It will silence everything thats below a choosen threshhold level.
If the cricets are allmost equaly as loud as the rest of your recordings then better equipement won`t help that much eather.

You can mail me a portion of some audio with thouse cricets on, its dificult to tell in words how it sounds.
Or uplode some of it (just a few seconds are enouth, a few words + cricets), and i see what i can do.

Its also during them speaking too though…which is the main problem.
Do you think it would help to have a cone-shaped thing around the mic so it eliminates all things behind and to the side of the mic? That way it should only pick up stuff in front of it…right?

What is a noise-gate? That sounds promising…

This is how directional microphones are built.
http://www.soltronik.de/shop/product_info.php/products_id/79 for example.
Some kind of sattelite dish may work too.
Then however i would still recomend to use a preamp to get cleaner recordings.

But it won`t help you much…

Awesome…I’ll play around with it some today and let you know how it goes…

magiciandude, if you’re really tight in budget, i guess it’s enough for you to use any microphone that connects directly to your pc (as long as it has enough cable to reach the sound source). you may use audacity for your sound editing, it’s open source. though its noise-gate is not that polished compared with the commercial ones, i think it can be good enough.

i would suggest you post your sound file here, so we could take a look at it (i mean hear it). and give some recommendations. i could even also offer to edit it for you, and see if i can do something to improve the sound.

The Microphone Magican have allready will easyly do the job, Audacity is not a bad choice either, however if the cricets are so loud that they blend in with the rest off the sounds a noisegate won`t work. Read the Articel on Wiki i posted earlyer to make it more clear.

Thats exactly what i sugestet…

Thats exactly what i sugestet…

ooops… sorry… my bad, didn’t notice that. :smiley:
backbone, haven’t heard of microphone magican… and can’t seem to find a good link for it… help? tnx!

by magican i meant Magicandude , you know, his nickname:yes:.
The mic. he has ,as he described it, is an MD 4000 SC.
The frequencyrange isn`t top notch, but for speak recordings its still good. (or do you know anyone with a voice below 80Hz:confused:)

by magican i meant Magicandude , you know, his nickname:yes:.
The mic. he has ,as he described it, is an MD 4000 SC.

oooops… was in a real hurry while reading that :smiley: sorry… and a voice below 80Hz? he must be not a human being :smiley:

there are a few ways to approach this.
Since you dont have much audio background, I think a simple way is to get a battery powered shotgun mic. NB. a phontom powered mic is one that requires power from another source to function…eg a battery or preamp) . Preamps serve other functions as well . They preamplify your sound before it gets to your computer or other recording medium.

  1. The cheapest I know of is the azden agm-1x ( I dont have that but I have the sgm-2x) and I think if you go that way its your best bang for buck. but then its $150 at
    You would then need a xlr to 1/8’’ jack if it doesnt come with it. Most easily available cables would be xlr to 1/4 inch. (if you dont know what 1/8 and 1/4 jack are check the picture in the next link (ATR-55) you will see the mic is hardwired to 1/8 and has a 1/4 adapter).
    NB that the Azden allows you to change

Another option is the
2. http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/AudioTechnica-ATR-55-UniDirectional-Condenser-Shotgun-Microphone?sku=270603
I have not used it, and not sure if it has battery power . If it doesnt , you will need a pream like
If its battery powered, then you can go straight to your recorder(or comera or computer)

However the fact that the art preamp is xlr and the audiotechnica mic shown is hard wired to 1/8 jack… makes it not a perfect solution. ie you need another adaptor to get from mic to xlr in the preamp.
More adapters = more noise(interference ) in your sigmnal chain.

Some explanations:
Shotgun mic isolates sound and rejects sound from surrounding sources. So if targeted at your talent, will reduce extraneous sounds that are recorded.
Battery may be used to power the mic (instead of a preamp)

Some terms to help in your research:
hyper-directional , supercardioid, omnidirectional

OK hope this helps somehow,
gotta go.


EDit: just saw there is also the AZEN smx-10 that mounts on a camera. Depending on how serious your movie is you might want a dedicated recorder and use camera recorcing as a backup

Hey all…sorry i haven’t been updating you on everything…today since we haven’t had this audio stuff figured out, we filmed scenes with no dialog such as fight scenes(however there are a couple of lines in there) etc…

I will post sound clips as soon as I can…but the only ones I have are from various old projects 0_o…

Also…I’ll take a look into a shotgun mic and a preamp…but my parents are forcing me to save most of the remainder of my money from my summer job…

Also the problem with the MD4000SC Stagg Mic is that it has a bit of trouble picking sound up from a distance…is that normal? It only picks up voice if its a few inches…if not centimeters…from the face 0_o…which is bad :(…

Also…how can you use audacity as a noise gate? I didn’t know it had that capability?

Thanks again for your replies…and I’ll post some audio as soon as I can…but its bed time and I had to build a website in flash for the robotics team today after filming…haven’t had a chance to run through the clips yet…

It will probably be later in the week when I can even get to view my clips though…tomorrow I’ll be at school until late(robotics club meet and NHS induction) and then Wednesday is more robotics stuff…probably Thursday at the earliest…sorry about that…

Thanks again for all of your help though!


I just recorded my voice really quietly and then amplified it to get noise…then removed it using audacity’s noise removal…wow…that worked really well…I’m thinking it should get rid of those crickets with no problem…I might just have to stay up really late tomorrow to play with some of the clips I recorded today 0_o…

I wish I caught this thread earlier. I used to do music and sound work before I got into visual arts, so here it goes.

First, you can get really good results with a $40 microphone, and you can get really crappy results with a $300 one. What really matters is acoustics and background noise.

When I record audio for voice acting, ads, tutorials, or whatever, my set up is an Audigy 2 ZS Platinum, a Shure PG58 dynamic mic $60 (my old one was a $40 and it worked just as well), a boom stand and a pop-filter to go with it. That’s it, which means when I go to record voice actors, I bring my computer along. And actually the pop filter is optional, but it helps if you want to record whispers and they have to be really close to the mic, otherwise the actors are so loud anyway they have to be far back so the audio doesn’t clip.

The reason why the audio sounded as good as it did was because we found a classroom that had textured walls, and no air vent noise. You shouldn’t have to apply a noise reduction filter for it to sound decent, because the filter also washes out the S’es and other consonants.

Recording outdoors is tricky because there can be a lot of background noise, especially in urban areas: wind, cars, construction, noisy people, etc. You need at least a wind muffler and a shock mound for recording outdoors, and a really good mic, and that gets pricey.

What you can do, is record the ambient noises on set for where you are recording video, and then do what’s called ADR, which is record all the spoken lines again in a controlled environment, and then mix the soundtrack together. Voice, background noise (just enough so it doesn’t sound like it was recorded in a studio), and push any other sound effects like fist impacts and so on. Basically you are crafting the entire soundtrack, and you’ll get much better results doing it that way if you are short on a budget, and can’t afford appropriate gear for recording outdoors. It’s also a lot of fun rerecording your voice and trying to lipsync to yourself. :slight_smile:

I do have to stress the importance of having a decent sound card though. The internal cards that I’ve used, even the current generation of Realtek sound cards, have bad signal to noise ratio, and a bad DC bias. The Sound Blaster Audigy Platinum, though not audibly better for playback than the Realteks, has much better recording quality, and actually has an input for my microphone, and the mic is just the right volume, whereas the Realteks do not.

And yes, having trouble when picking up voices from further than a foot away is normal, for a dynamic mic anyway. When I record voice the sweet spot is about 8 inches. The reason for that is because of the way microphones work. A dynamic mic is basically a reverse speaker. Mechanical movement of the diaphragm attached to a coil moving back and forth inside a magnetic field creates the signal. Then you have a condenser mic, where the diaphragm is a thin piece of plastic coated with gold (or some other conductive metal) on the back, and is suspended away from a conductive plate. When the diaphragm moves, that changes the capacitance and creates the signal. For condenser mics to work, you need phantom power while dynamic mics don’t.

Because condenser mics use capacitance instead of electromagnetic induction, they are more sensitive, and I mean very sensitive. That is why I own a dynamic mic as opposed to a condenser mic; I record voice almost exclusively. Condenser mics pick up every noise in the room, even the rustling of your clothes when you talk. They are great for recording sound effects and groups of people in a studio, but I prefer to hear only the voice and very rarely do I get to record in an actual studio.

So it’s really a matter of what you are going to use it for. If you use a condenser mic, and you are recording indoors, make sure your room has studio like acoustics. I’m sure your’s doesn’t and mine certainly does not, but with a dynamic mic it isn’t doesn’t matter as much.

Hopefully that helps in making a decision. Again, if your are just having trouble getting the voices to sound clear enough, try ADR. You’d be surprised how a few ambient tracks, sound effects, and voice, all recorded separately and mixed together at the right levels can really make the soundtrack sound like a million bucks, without spending that much.

Hey all…
I am really considering buying a shotgun mic…so I’m doing some work for my parent’s company today to raise about $150 to buy one…

Is there any reason that I should not buy one?

Also…wow…Metsys…thank you for all of your information! I just really want to avoid having to lip sync later if possible…sometimes those results can suffer…especially if you knew my friends…who like to goof off as opposed to getting any work done 0_o…

But thank you VERY much for all of your information and spending the time to type it out for me.

Thanks everyone!