Tag Archives: lavalier mics

Progressing on Interviews

I just conducted my fourth interview last night and progress is going well on that front. The format is semi-structured interviews so I am still tweaking my questions. Currently I have two formats for my questions one is a general outline of topics and the other is the same topics but specific questions. Wouldn’t you know that the general outline is too broad and the specific questions are, well — too specific! I’m hoping to get time in the next day or two to get my questions/topics into a format that is between the two. I’ve also added a couple questions that are needed that I didn’t have before.

Interviews are averaging around 1.5 hours which works as I usually schedule 2 hours. I found last night that I am able to set-up my video equipment a lot faster than the first couple interviews where I felt awkward fumbling with cords and attachments with the lavalier mics. The Audio-Technica 3350 lav mics have been just phenomenal the sound that I get with these is crystal clear. My first interview I used the mono y adapter and found that to work fine but I used the Hosa stereo y adapterfor my interviews on Monday and found the sound to be clearer and when they are imported to Adobe Premiere Pro the sound is split between left and right with my voice on one side and the interviewer voice on the other.  I think this will make any sound editing a lot nimbler with the two voices on separate tracks. It has really been a trial and error endeavor. I tested sound quality before my interviews but I received all my audio equipment just days before my first interview so wasn’t able to upload it and get it in to Adobe Premiere Pro to check the audio tracks until this week. Now I feel I have a good handle on the audio.

One issue I have noted is lighting. I’ve been conducting interviews during the day and at night. I find the interviews during the day look a lot better with the natural lighting but the first interview I conducted was in a dimly lit area at night so it is very dark. I’m hoping I can tweak this in Adobe Premier Pro. The Bescor LED lightis extremely bright and people find it too bright when it is pointed at them. In this run and gun scenario I’m not sure what I’ll do. For now I have diffused the LED light but that seemed to mute the light too much. I’m still thinking this through and hope to figure something out that isn’t too intrusive.

In general people seem okay and fairly natural on video. Have a bit of downtime until more interviews next week on Monday. So far I’m scheduling them mostly on Monday as I have the two babies in childcare or in the evenings or on weekends. That has been working pretty well so far except the difference in lighting.

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My Video Equipment Rig

It seems funny to say that since I’m such a beginner and it’s hard to think of what I’m putting together as professional since it’s not! I’ll tell you what I have so far and preface these comments by the fact that I’ll be buying additional gear as I go along. Also, you would not believe the amount of time that has gone into researching what camera to buy that took months. It required me to think about what I’ll be filming in 60i, 30p, 24p which is a separate topic. I decided that I’ll be filming in native 24p so late last year I bought the Canon Vixia HF S21, with a kit that included some filters, a tripod, an SD memory card, and a bag.

Just recently I’ve been researching like mad to buy the remaining gear I’ll need for sit-down interviews and conferences/events. After much deliberation between the Sennheiser MKE-400, Rode Videomic, Rode Videomic Pro, Azden GCZ-990, Audio-Technica Pro-24cm, and the Canon DM-100 and listening to and reading many reviews I decided on the Rode Videomic Pro. Audio for video is much more complex than I had imagined and I am also concerned about having a backup. For the sit down interviews I have two Audio-Technica ATR3350 wired lavalier mic’s (connected through a Hosa mono to stereo cable) and a Zoom H1 with accessory kit, and a table-top tripod.  For lighting I bought a Bescor LED 25 light with mount, and no name wide-angle lens and telephoto lens.

It’s taken me about six months of research to put it together but I think I will be able to do a good job capturing the video and audio and I will pray to the video gods that I can make a half decent documentary out of it. It’s been so much work and I haven’t even gotten to production yet. As far as post I have Adobe Creative Suite 4 trial and at this point no clue how to use it. I was supposed to do a training workshop at SAW video before the holidays but wasn’t able to sit that long at 9 months pregnant. Premier Pro looks very complicated given my limited experience with Windows Movie Maker.

I’m grateful for my Carleton Scholarship and TA’ship and the support from the Simpcw First Nation towards my research project.

I’d be really interested to hear if anyone has thoughts or comments or wants to share how they have set up their rig and how it’s working. Also thank goodness for forums like videomaker.com, cnet.com, dvinfo.net, hv20.com, vimeo and the B&H photo.

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