Location Sound Recordist
The primary components of my set-up are:
- Supercardioid Microphone: Schoeps MK 41 (CMC 141)
- This mic is my workhorse for indoor dialog. A supercardioid is preferred over a shotgun in close indoor situations because there is effectively no off-axis coloration, better rear rejection, less sensitivity to room reflections, and it's much more compact. The MK 41 is a broadcast industry standard for indoor dialog.
- Shotgun Microphone: Sennheiser MKH 416
- A shotgun is used where more distance from the subject is required, particularly outdoors, because of its stronger off-axis attenuation. The MKH 416 is an industry standard, a great performer, and built to withstand tough outdoor conditions.
- Digital Field Recorder: Sound Devices MixPre-10 II
- This recorder has very high quality pre-amps, 142 dB of dynamic range, and write 32-bit float WAV files which make it "virtually unclippable." With this recorder, I can record audio from up to eight microphones.
- Wireless Lavalier: Sanken COS-11D, Sennheiser EW 100 G3
- A lavalier mic can be used to record an actor when a boom mic is not possible. The COS-11D is a sensitive, detailed microphone that produces great output. The EW 100 G3 radio system is capable of broadcast quality, with a clean audio channel and plenty of dynamic range. I currently have three of these systems.
- Timecode Systems UltraSync ONC
- A pair of these, which keep themselves in sync via radio. For cameras that (truly) support timecode, these can be used to enable automatic synchronization of audio and video recordings in post. For DSLR and other prosumer cameras, an LTC track can be recorded to the camera's audio input to accomplish the same thing.
- Boompole: K-Tek KP9CCR KlassicPro Graphite
- A real boompole designed for audio. This one extends to nine feet and contains an internal balanced XLR cable. Unlike a telescoping paint roller pole or a monopod, the clutches don't creak. I use a Rycote Invision shockmount with this.
- Windscreen: Rycote Windshield & Windjammer
- When shooting outdoors, this windscreen completely eliminates rumble caused by wind (but not the sound of wind interacting with nearby objects, such as trees). It also provides good protection from light rain.
In addition, I have other microphones for voice-overs, ambients, vehicles, and sound effects recording (as well as spares). I have a clapperboard slate, cables, monitor headphones, etc.
I am now set up to provide double-system or single-system sound recording, depending on the client's preference, camera, and editing capabilities.
Double-system sound, the standard for film projects, uses an external audio recorder to capture sound separately from the camera. This typically results in better sound capture, particularly when using DSLR or consumer-grade video cameras. However, there is a higher post-production workload, because the film editor must combine and synchronize the sound and video.
Single-system sound uses a field mixer to optimize the audio signals, which are then fed to the camera's audio inputs for recording. This simplifies the post-production editing, but it tends to result in poorer sound capture because of the lower-quality audio inputs built into cameras. This is not recommended for cameras without XLR inputs.
For projects requiring single-system sound, we will need to have a conversation in advance to discuss the type of camera being used. Cameras with non-standard audio inputs (including all of the Red cameras and the Blackmagic Cinema) will require me to order adapter cables, which will take some time. Currently, I am able to accommodate cameras with the following types of audio inputs:
- XLR - line or mic level
- Unbalanced 3.5mm stereo mic (most consumer and DSLR cameras)