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I will be filming dance 1-3 instructors who will be teaching to the camera, without other people in the room. They will be moving, sometimes quickly while talking (but in a confined area 5x5feet-ish). They will also sometimes be facing to the side or with their backs turned toward the camera while talking.

I will be flying to different locations to film. So mobility as well as price and effectiveness are all factors.

I guess my options are:

  1. Wireless Lav
  2. Shotgun(s)
  3. Boom mic

I'm a novice at this and really don't know. My current thinking is:

Wireless Lav Mic

  • pros:

    • consistent audio in all directions
  • cons:

    • costly
    • fragile
    • annoying for dancers moving
    • require batteries
    • need one for every instructor

Shotgun mics

  • pros:
    • not in dancers way
    • no batteries
  • cons:
    • need multiple mics?
    • even possible to get quality audio in all directions?
    • need stands, heavy, not mobile friendly?

Boom (overhead) mics

  • pros:
    • not in dancers way
    • no batteries
    • maybe only need one cardioid?
  • cons:
    • need multiple mics?
    • as good quality as with Lav?
    • even possible to get quality audio in all directions?
    • need stands, heavy, not mobile friendly?

So I could be way off on my understanding. What recommendations do you have for me?

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    Dance instructors–they're going to be in front of big mirrors like they often have in dance studios, correct? Unless you're happy seeing the boom in shot that rules out everything except lavs. As for boom mics giving you as good quality as lavs I find the reverse is often true: boom mics give better quality when you can use them, but sometimes they're too difficult to use. If mirrors are not a problem and you have someone to swing the boom then you could do it with one boom mic. – stib Mar 23 '17 at 11:02
  • There will not be any mirrors, and there will be no one to manually control the boom mic. It (they) will have to be stationary. – pixelearth Mar 23 '17 at 15:25
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There is another option that is good to know about, the Crown PCC-160 boundary mic. This is a standard mic to put at the edge of a stage to get good quality sound from actors in plays.

"Supercardioid pattern with PCC boundary technology assures phase coherence throughout the audible spectrum" means that it is rejecting sound from behind, and the phase coherence means that voices are more clear than with normal mics, as long as you place them at a boundary like the floor or on a wall. Physics stuff.

Lavs will get you the most clear sound, but the Crown PCC will do better than a shotgun (unless you have the shotgun close with a boom pole). Rent a pair to try them out as backup, I think you will want to buy them after you see how effective they are.

Edit: Rereading your question, if the dancers are confined to a 5x5' area and they might be speaking with their back to the camera, lav is the best, but next best is probably a boom mic on a stand, with the mic positioned directly over the center of the area, pointed straight down. That should pick up a pretty balanced voice recording. A second shotgun positioned in line with the camera to get the front 'viewpoint' audio would capture a more natural-sounding voice when the speaker is speaking toward the camera. The Crown PCCs would have to be positioned all around the area, and they would pick up more of the dancer's feet sounds than the boom mic.

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I just noticed your asking about mics. Good that you're thinking about the issue.

  • Scout the locations beforehand and avoid places with bad reverb (or weird sounds) at all costs. As mentioned in my reply to your lighting question, look for places with heavy curtains to reduce the reverb.

  • In your situation (no crew, no budget), go for good lavs.

  • Have someone monitor the audio levels, other than you, while you shoot: you don't want to go home with bad audio or no audio at all.

  • Tape your dancers' shoes.

  • Good point about monitoring the levels, but it's not just levels: make sure someone is listening on headphones, particularly with lavs, because if you get clothing rustle or thumps you won't see it just from the levels. – stib Mar 27 '17 at 0:39
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I would go with a wireless headset microphone like the Shure SM31.

  1. Better than a body-affixed mic like a lav, to avoid clothing rustle, which will be severe
  2. Eliminates any concerns over pointing the mic at the person while they turn their head and move around on the dance floor
  3. Unobtrusive; this requires no boom operator, no stands
  4. Because it is close-mic'd you will not have to worry as much about reverberant spaces. Dance studios usually are terribly reverberant due to the mirrors and the hard floors.

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