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Microphone Basics

Contributed By Fred Ginsburg

The manual typewriter. Pressure driven generator. General purpose, reporter/interview. Low sensitivity; short reach. Indestructible. Good for containing loud noises (crashes, explosions). Great for narration and voice over (eliminates background). For on-site reporting. Not good for overhead dialogue or hidden miking. When used as a 'hand prop", better to mic from a boom or lavalier. Foam windscreens and shrink tubing can change cosmetic appearance of handheld mics.

Examples of dynamic handhelds include:
ElectroVoice 635a, RE5O,RE10/11/15/16, RE20; AT804, Beyer M58; ShureSM58.

Electret Condenser
Electric typewriter. Meters the sound. More sensitivity and reach than dynamics. Require nominal battery supply, usually built-in.

Examples of ENG shotgun mics:
Sennheiser K3U, ME-80 (short shotgun, general applications), ME-20 (omni, interview), ME-40 (cardioid, effects, music).

Audio Technica AT835 short shotgun is best buy. Also AT815. Most lavaliers are electret condenser.

Condenser Microphones
The word processor. RF Technology. Extremely sensitive. The best for dialogue! Requires external power supply of 12 or 48 volts.

Phantom Power
48 volt. Pin 1-, Pin 2+, Pin 3+

T Power
12 volt. Pin 1 shield, Pin 2+, Pin 3-

T Power red-dot/Nagra Kudelski
Pin 1 shield, Pin 2+, Pin 3+.

Obtain power from battery supplies, KAT 15, use of phase cables.

Examples of condensers:
Sennheiser MKH416/816/70, Audio Technica AT4073/4071/4051, Schoeps CMC/MK41, Neumann KMR 8li/82i.

Production Mixing
Dr. Fred Ginsburg, CAS sketches an overview of production mixing; mixing panels, dB levels, VU meters, headphone monitoring, signal recording and recording priorities.
Sound Expendables
Dr. Fred Ginsburg, CAS, offers some practical advice on budgeting tape usage, stock allocation, battery usage and sundry items for a film or video production.
Microphone Patterns
basic microphone pick-up patterns are covered, including cardioid, supercardioid and hypercardioid. M-S stereo, bidirectional, X and Y stereo.
music as a sound track element is discussed, differences between extraneous and practical music, canned and original score, needle drop and blanket rights.
narration use as a story device as part of a film sound track, definitions of "sync to picture" and "wild" narration from a script as well as voice of god and wild line narration.