versatile mic and recorder?


Fleetwell Fox

Hey guys,

I recently shot a short film (5-6 min) on Super 8 and had it transferred to MiniDV. The image looks great, but my sound is trash. The shoot was very spontaneous, and since the old super 8 camera doesn't do sound we just recorded our dialogue with the built in mic of a 3 chip sony camera (the model of which i forget), hoping to sync it later. Unfortunately the sound is very low and I'll probably have to do it over again.

My question is this: What would you recommend for an all purpose mic and digital recording system to accompany the super 8 camera that I shoot with? Preferably somthing that can do dialogue and atmospheric sound. Is DAT still the standard? I know very little about sound and don't have a heap of money so I would appreciate your feedback before I go and buy the wrong gear.



Bob Kessler

New member
What's your budget? $500.00, $1,000.00, more? Help us narrow it down a bit.

I would recommend the Sennheiser MKH-60 Shotgun (about $2,700.00) with a Rycote blimp (about $700.00) and a K-Tec boom pole (about $600.00), and the Fostex FR-2 digital field recorder (about $2,000.00) plus misc accessories (about $500.00) and maybe a couple of wireless lavs (about $3,500.00), but somehow I get the feeling you don't want to spend $10,00.00.

One other thing; the best location sound gear in the world will not give you great sound unless you use it properly and scout your locations and prep the locations properly.

Bob Kessler

New member
I've used the Rode NTG-2 ($250.00) and it's okay for the price, I like it a lot better than the Rode NTG-1.

I've heard that the Audix UEM-81s ($250.00) is pretty good, but I've never used it. The same goes for the Audio-Technica AT897 ($270.00), I've heard good things but never used one.

You're still going to need a boompole, shockmount, blimp and cable, which will total about another $350.00

Rode NTG-2 - $250.00
K-Tek KE89 Boompole - $160.00.
K-Tek Z-CAM-FZ-L Zeppelin w/Fuzzy, Shock Mount & Windscreen $190.00

TOTAL = $600.00

Some vendors offer complete kits that could save you a few bucks. Shop around and see what kind of deal you can get. Watch out for stuff on eBay, usually it's just the mic and nothing else, not even a mic clip. I use B&H Photo for stuff like this and been pretty happy with their prices and service. For my audio post gear I deal with Sweetwater.

I've used the Sennheiser ME66/K6 ($450.00) a lot and it's very good, but my personal favorite is the Sennheiser MKH-416 ($1,700.00) [gee, I wonder why, LOL!!!).

As a sound designer/audio post engineer and sometime location mixer I naturally have a bias towards sound. However, as I have said numerous times, audiences will be forgiving of the visuals if the sound is good, but will not tolerate bad sound no matter how good the visuals are. To quote Spielberg (again), "Sound is half the experience". This is one of the reasons he is one of my favorite directors. The soundtracks are so detailed and meaningful; they contribute to the stories and characters in ways that most people never notice.

Since indie filmmaking is so tightly budgeted many try to skimp on the audio post process. The best way to save money in audio post is to capture great location sound. I spend way too many hours doing sonic surgery on bad location audio. On a recent indie feature I spent about 700 hours total on the audio post, over 300 hours of which was fixing bad location sound!!! (FYI, about 100+ hours was spent doing extensive re-syncs after re-edits.)

Being a sound designer/audio post engineer is a very wierd gig; if you do it badly everyone notices, if you do it well no one is even aware that it's there. No one, except other sound guys/gals and a few filmmakers, ever walk out of the theatre going "WOW that sounded great!!!"

I'll be here if you need me.


New member
I agree that sound is extremely underrated. Conceptually its much more difficult to respsect than the picture, which you can immediately interpret. I am sorry man, I appreciate your help and expertise a lot.