April 9, 2016 at 3:56PM

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Lav VS. Shotgun

I'm about to shoot a short film with many different elements in different scenes (running, fighting, sitting and dialogue, etc).
I was wondering what audio solution might be best for what situation. So when do I use a lavalier microphone and when do I use a shotgun mic on a boompole?
Do you have a general rule for that (is there one by the industry?) or do you estimate the situation first and then decide wether it's worth/it makes sense to use rather a lavalier or rather a shotgun?

7 Comments

Shotgun mics work best when your boom operator keeps them well-aimed and a consistent distance from the talent. Lav mics work best when they are attached to clothing that doesn't move AT ALL. If you cannot keep the clothing quiet, lav mics will create all sorts of secondary noise problems that will drive you crazy in post.

April 9, 2016 at 4:17PM

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Usually you would always use both lav and shotgun mic then in the mix you use a mix of the two to find the good balance between presence of the voice and room ambiance. Also when lighting a scene you have to consider the boompole as you have to avoid shadows.
As it is quite tricky to hide well lav and concider the boompole, so more and more high budget film don't bother recording a usable sound while shooting, the just get a reference sound and recreate everything in post. So it is important to always record sound alone form every place, object used, steps, doors, etc, so you can easily dubb the dialogues in post if needed. Also don't hesitate to have a stereo mic placed next to the camera as it will give you great ambiance sound.

April 11, 2016 at 6:11AM

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AvdS
1153

I am curious to know where you have gleaned that "high budget film don't bother recording a usable sound while shooting".

April 13, 2016 at 4:25PM

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Minor Mogul
Dilettante
419

Trying to mix the two kinds of mics may present problems due to phase cancellation. Because the mics will be different distances from the sound source, their waveforms will not be aligned temporally and thus adding them together may actually suppress some frequencies.

The human voice has a fairly limited range, but this phenomenon is still something to consider. Listen carefully for phase artifacts.

November 12, 2016 at 9:52PM

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David Gurney
DP
1384

For "serious" work I will use both a boomed mic ( shotgun mic outdoors / hyper cardioid pencil mic indoors ) and lav mics on the talent, so I will always have a backup audio track to use in case something goes wrong with one audio source.

April 11, 2016 at 4:28PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32922

Allow me to give you a few practical tips...

Yes, use one channel on your camera as the lav channel, the other as a boom/shotgun mic. Remember, mounting your shotgun mic on top of your camera will display the sound in front of AND behind you, so make sure it's pointing DOWN at your talent. Most sound from above will be minimal.

ABSOLUTELY USE MOLESKIN!
Use these miracle pads to avoid rustling on your lav mics. Cut off sections and cover your lav mic heads against the talent's skin, or their clothing... then avoid using jackets or outer clothing that make move.

Here's a good deal on some: http://amzn.to/1SaHUpH

OR Some good ole Doctor Scholls: http://amzn.to/1VVPfvZ

Lastly, if you're looking for a good boom pole, trick is getting a nice, long pole with INTERNAL wiring. A lot of boom poles do not come with internal wiring, then your boom operator may actually ADD sound to the mix. Not good.

I use this one, very affordable I think: http://amzn.to/1oYiQb8

April 13, 2016 at 2:31PM

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Jordan Mederich
Documentarian / Filmmaker
1281

Those links don't work. Probably an anti-spam measure, but I don't know.

November 12, 2016 at 9:54PM

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David Gurney
DP
1384

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