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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.

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Indepth technical discussion of SMPTE time code, drop-frame and non drop-frame TC, time code generation, external and jam-sync, Denecke time code slates, sync boxes, sync pulse and audio resolving.
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finishing sound for video; splitting the production track into separate elements, "sweetening", "off off-line" first edit. also covered loading camera original and audio, syncing, first picture edit, multi-track and checkerboarding.
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basic microphone pick-up patterns are covered, including cardioid, supercardioid and hypercardioid. M-S stereo, bidirectional, X and Y stereo.