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I'm working on a production next week we're I'll be booming inside a diner but I only have a Rode NTG-3 , Blue Bluebird, MXL 991 SDC. I don't have any hypercardioid microphones, but would it be possible in the future to get an Oktava MK 012 hypercardioid capsule and replace the one in the MXL 991 with it? I'm trying to go for the cheapest solution since I'm a recent college grad and am on a very tight budget. Thanks!

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    personally, i think you'd be better served renting a decent microphone every now and then and saving up your cash to buy higher quality. there's nothing wrong with having cheap microphones, they can be good in some situations. but i'd advise against cheaping out because you WANT one now. have a little patience, rent other mics to find out what you like and what suits your purpose, and save up your cash to buy one of those. – Shaun Farley Dec 17 '10 at 14:24
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I would honestly worry less about your mic and more about your mic position. Recording for a film, your priority should be clear dialogue and making sure the camera crew allow you near to the actors to get the best recording of their lines. If you get a good clear recording then you can be satisfied that you will have done your job.

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I'm going to echo Shaun and say rent a mic. Rent a Schoeps MK-41 capsule if you can - I did a shoot in a giant metal building, and it sounds beautiful with great rejection of all the reflections you'll get in a space like that. I rented mine for $35, and it was a small price to pay for the quality of the microphone.

As an aside, this will always be my advice to folks starting out - do NOT buy anything until you can justify the cost with the income it is CURRENTLY producing. If it's cheaper to rent per job than to eat the cost of purchasing, then rent until it doesn't make sense to do so. Getting cheap gear, or, worse, going into debt to buy expensive, quality gear, is a mistake. You pay way more in interest than you should. Things you should buy - good headphones ($100), a boom pole ($250 or so for a decent aluminum pole), and maybe a mixer, although those are quite expensive depending on what you get. Other than that, quality mics and recorders are very expensive.

I know that was unsolicited, but I don't want to see young folks making financial mistakes that will hamper you in the future.

Good luck on your shoot!

  • Right now I have a Rode NTG-3, Rode 10' boom pole, Sound Devices MixPre, and Zoom H4n. Since I'll be using my own money to purchase batteries and such to use for the production is it okay for me to ask for reimbursement on top of what they're already paying me? Both you and Shaun have made great points about renting mics. Would you consider the Fostex-FR2LE to be a quality recorder? – Mitchell Scott Dec 17 '10 at 20:21
  • @Mitchell Scott - In some areas, not all mind you, when you hire a sound mixer or a camera operator...that's all you're getting. many productions pay for the gear seperately (even if it's the operator's gear). reimbursement of expendables is something you can bring to the table, but it should really be done ahead of time. while it may not be as ruggedly constructed as say a sound devices or zaxcom, the fr2le is a solid recorder. and i know people who swear by them. – Shaun Farley Dec 17 '10 at 20:32
  • @Mitchell If they hired you knowing what your current setup is, I would plan on using that as it stands. If you can convince them that a rental will greatly increase the quality of their sound, then they'll pay for it. If they are not convinced, I don't think you should take a pay hit. – VCProd Dec 17 '10 at 22:36
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I would stick with the RODE. It's going to sound better than any other solution that you would probably find on a tight budget. Any reason in particular you wanted to use the Octava / MXL combo?

  • I've just heard good things about recording with the Oktava MK 12 for location dialogue indoors and thought maybe the capsule of the Oktava might work on the 991 but now I think it just sounds silly haha. I will be sticking with the Rode. Why is it hypercardioids are desired indoors more so than a supercardioid pattern which picks up less in the rear end? – Mitchell Scott Dec 17 '10 at 7:26
  • My experience is that it relates to the indoor reflections, which the rear of the supercardoid can pick up resulting in phase issues. It all depends on the location and scene setup (i.e. how close you can get to the talent), but since you are not in a church or something, then reflections might not be too much of an issue. Amount of phase issues also relates to if the scene requires that you move the mic a lot. But listen to Singe's advice since that is the most important aspect of the job. Never tried the NTG-3, only the 416 for INT, but they should be somewhat similar pickup-wise. – Thomas Miksa Dec 17 '10 at 12:47
  • @Mitchell @Thomas - it's more than just the reflections, the supercardiod/lobar has less off axis rejection of low end frequency, which are more likely to be present as eigentones indoors than outdoors. so you may pick up more low end background noise indoors using it than you would a hypercardioid. it's all about placement though, and you work with either. the hypercardioid just might be better in some situations, and is usually faster when selecting placement indoors. – Shaun Farley Dec 17 '10 at 14:21
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    There's a lot of science that goes into it, but at the end of the day, all that matters is what you hear. If you can get your hands on a hyper just so you can do an A-B, then go for it - more options means you have a better chance of getting the cleanest sound possible. If you can't, stick with the RODE (which is a decent mic), and just play with your placement. Listen very closely to the audio you're getting and see if you like it. If you don't, move the mic until you do like it. It's a game of inches. You can read the article I wrote on it here if you'd like: hartcol.in/bWX1LY – Colin Hart Dec 17 '10 at 19:04
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I'll post what I sent you in an e-mail last night, just in case there's anything in there someone else around here can find useful:

I don’t really know anything about the 991.

As for the shotgun situation...yes, hypercardioids usually are preferred for indoor use, but shotguns can work fine as well. Make sure you listen to the mic, preferably through the final record monitor (always listen to what’s going onto tape/disc), and adjust placement as necessary. Try to keep it from getting too close to the ceiling. If the ceiling has those drop tiles, try taking out the ones the rear axis is pointing at. If you don’t pick up more noise travelling through the plenum, just leave them out and that should help cut down on reflections.

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The Oktava is a good mic - especially for the price. I couldn't tell you anything about an Oktava capsule being compatible with an MXL body though.

-Greg-

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I use the Rode NTG-3 all the time (it's my work horse at the moment) and have been well impressed with it's performance. Haven't used the others so I can't comment on those.

My advice recording indoors, regardless of the mic used would be to listen to the space through the mic and eliminate as many unwanted noise sources as possible.

Singe has some sage advice also.

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