A Question

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Fred588
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A Question

Postby Fred588 » Mon Feb 12, 2024 5:43 pm

If anyone here is involved in nature photography and is also knowledgeable about audio equipment, I would like an educated opinion on something. To whit: Next summer there is expected to be a large cicada swarm, and that can make a LOT of noise. Can you provide an opinion on the use of a highly directional microphone to try to minimize the cicada noise. Also, can you provide any information concerning the relevant frequency range. The last time this happened I was able to improve the affected audio to some extent in post production using band pass filters, but I suspect I might have done better.
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dlodoski
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Re: A Question

Postby dlodoski » Mon Feb 12, 2024 6:13 pm

Cicada sound is relatively broad band, skewed to the higher frequencies. If you were to filter (EQ) it starting from a purely omnidirectional (ambient) starting point, everyone would sound like they were talking through a pillow. This is a worse case scenario.

A more realistic scenario is using a directional mic attached to a camera (or otherwise working from a similar angle). This will be better, but still not ideal.

The best option is to use a hyper cardioid mic (even mono if necessary), put it on a boom and point it straight down at the action. The reason it would need to be perpendicular to the ground is that there is a 'pick up' lobe coming off of the back of those microphones. It's only about half as sensitive as the forward lobe, but that would be enough to be self-defeating, considering that cicadas could be fairly high up in the trees behind you. So, straight up and down would be the key.

The other option is to get really close to the models for dialogue purposes, either with a wireless lavalier setup (not practical), or by getting as physically close as possible with anything directional. The inverse square law comes into effect here, so distance is important.

Fred588
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Re: A Question

Postby Fred588 » Mon Feb 12, 2024 6:51 pm

dlodoski wrote:Cicada sound is relatively broad band, skewed to the higher frequencies. If you were to filter (EQ) it starting from a purely omnidirectional (ambient) starting point, everyone would sound like they were talking through a pillow. This is a worse case scenario.

A more realistic scenario is using a directional mic attached to a camera (or otherwise working from a similar angle). This will be better, but still not ideal.

The best option is to use a hyper cardioid mic (even mono if necessary), put it on a boom and point it straight down at the action. The reason it would need to be perpendicular to the ground is that there is a 'pick up' lobe coming off of the back of those microphones. It's only about half as sensitive as the forward lobe, but that would be enough to be self-defeating, considering that cicadas could be fairly high up in the trees behind you. So, straight up and down would be the key.

The other option is to get really close to the models for dialogue purposes, either with a wireless lavalier setup (not practical), or by getting as physically close as possible with anything directional. The inverse square law comes into effect here, so distance is important.


The directional shotgun on the camera is what we did last time. Its possible we might try the high angle as well.
Studio 588 currently offers more than 2200 different HD and QD quicksand videos and has supported production of well over 2400 video scenes and other projects by 13 different producers. Info may be found at:
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http://psychicworldjungleland.com

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Re: A Question

Postby Boggy Man » Tue Feb 13, 2024 6:08 am

I have seen microphones with parabolic reflectors used on nature shows for capturing specific wildlife calls, which should therefore have the best audio focus on the subject(s).
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dlodoski
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Re: A Question

Postby dlodoski » Tue Feb 13, 2024 6:00 pm

Boggy Man wrote:I have seen microphones with parabolic reflectors used on nature shows for capturing specific wildlife calls, which should therefore have the best audio focus on the subject(s).

This is a possible solution as well, although you'd still have to be careful of which direction it was being pointed.

Otherwise you'll end up with a Sonic Cone of Cicadas. Hehe


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