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Edit: For those of you who mentioned this -- I will use a separate system to record environmental sounds using a high quality mic. The bluetooth idea is ONLY for recording the speech of many subjects without picking up background noise. And isn't that what BT headsets are designed for?

Hopefully this isn't too subjective...

I'm preparing to begin documentary film making. I want to have a mic close to the mouth of every person in a scene.

One cheap option would be to buy a bunch of old ipods (possibly install RockBox) and buy some mics to record with.

But a simpler and cheaper option would be to buy a bunch of bluetooth headsets and set a nearby laptop to record them.


Question: Are there any bluetooth headsets, new or old, that are WIDELY KNOWN to have VERY GOOD MICROPHONE QUALITY?

Obviously I'm referring to the audio quality of the entire system from mic to transmission, and I realize that the bluetooth protocol itself introduces serious lossy compression, but it IS designed with the acoustic qualities of SPEECH in mind.

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How many people are you looking at on the set? –  notthetup May 7 '11 at 14:27
    
Subjective, but quite answerable. Interesting question! –  neilfein May 7 '11 at 19:59
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You'll get the best audio quality with a boom mic and field recorder, but if quality is your primary concern and you don't have a boom operator, you might consider looking into lavalier mics and mixing board. Lavalier mics would essentially do what you're considering doing with the bluetooth headsets. –  neilfein May 7 '11 at 20:09
    
@Neil, good comment, you should turn it into an answer. –  Mark Heath May 7 '11 at 20:11
    
@Mark - Thanks, but it doesn't answer the question: Are BT headsets gonna cut it? My feeling is no, since they generally use gating to get better "quality" of audio. Not to mention the additional task of syncing the audio later on. –  neilfein May 7 '11 at 20:12
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You'll get the best audio quality with a boom mic and a field recorder who knows how o use the equipment well. However, if quality is your primary concern and you don't have a skilled boom operator, you might consider looking into lavalier mics.

Lavalier mics would essentially do what you're considering doing with the bluetooth headsets. You clip one onto everyone who's going to speak, pair them with the receivers, then plug them into either a mixing board or audio interface directly and record. (You'll need a setup like this with the BT headsets as well.)

Some cameras will allow you to record audio in stereo, but unless you only have two actors, you'll be better off capturing the audio separately is possible.

I understand that audio captured on an external device (like a laptop or field recorder) can be synced to the video later by using timecode or manually by the sound of the clapboard.

Bluetooth headsets are likely to be using gates or other noise reduction technology that will sound terrible. These systems are designed so you can understand what somebody is saying, at the expense of sacrificing realism such as background noise.

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This is really pushing the limits of what I know about audio for film; anyone, please feel free to edit or leave a comment correcting me. –  neilfein May 7 '11 at 20:28
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