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Help human rights group trying to decide on field recording setup

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Hello All,
We are a group that is creating an archive of interviews with witnesses/relatives/victims of human rights abuse, we have a team of non-AV professionals that conduct these, and capture video as well.

The interviews are usually 1-2 hours long, and are between the interviewer and the interviewee, though we sometimes get an extra person chiming in in the middle
We would like the interviews audio to be good enough to splice into future documentaries and research projects.

Our current setup of zoom h2s facing the person contribute too much noise, and render it pretty useless for splicing.

I do not know if it's possible to get decent audio running a lav mic to the h2's mio-in, especially since it would need a Y-adapter to get two omni mics, one going in the left, and the other going in the right channel.
My suggestion was going to be a recorder such as the dr-40, h4n, or the dr-100 along with two phantom powered wired lav mics. It is not crucial for us to not have it visible in the shot, and we cannot afford a boom operator (too much travel to sometimes dangerous areas)

Our budget is a little flexible, but I wanted to keep it under $120 per mic, though ideally, they would be around the $60 mark. Vampire clips would be a plus.

ps. Is there a way to have it so that there is an extra mic recording the room for unexpected people chiming in, or in cases where are two interviewees and we want to interviewer for information purpose? I know some recorders will multitrack internal and external mics, but I also heard that causes a lot of noise. Another thing I thought that might work was to use to on-cam mic, or put another mic on camera for splicing if that emergency arises.

Thanks a lot for the suggestions! 

post #2 of 3

I think the 4-channel DR-40 would be perfect what what you need.  You can run a lav into each of the XLR inputs and use the on-board mics for people that chime in during the interviews.  B&H offers a really nice package -- http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/849160-REG/Tascam_DR_40_One_on_One_Interviewer_Package.html that includes the DR-40, a couple of fairly nice AT lavs, headphones, and cables.  I have several AT lavs (although not the 831) and the quality is excellent.  The AT899 wired lav I have came with a great assortment of clips, including the vampire--so you'd need to check what you get with the AT803.

 

I'd always recommend recording on-camera as well if you have that option.  It'll be a backup and useful for syncing the external tracks when you edit later.  You'll need to come up with some basic training on attaching the lavs--it's not hard, but understanding mic and cable placement and how to secure will help a lot.  If you're anywhere near B&H in NYC, they can help with options, but I think the kit above is a very solid basic setup.


Edited by Barry S - 10/15/12 at 12:21pm
post #3 of 3

You won't get very good sound from $120 mics, let alone from $60 ones. Don't expect anything more than just usable sound, especially since you're working with a novice sound team.

 

Also, the quality of the microphones will have the biggest contribution to the overall sound quality. 50% of it is always the user, 35% is your mic, 10% the Pre-Amps & 5% your A/D converters. Budget accordingly.

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