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Shotgun Mics for Olympus Pen

Discussion in 'Filmmaking' started by Jez, Oct 9, 2012.

  1. Jez

    Jez New to Mu-43

    Oct 1, 2012
    I've been filming wildlife with an Olympus Pen E-PL1 (connected to a Sigma 500mm lens via an adapter), and getting quite good sound with the Olympus ME51S external microphone. However, I want more directional sound, so tried two shotgun mics - a Hama RMZ-10, and a Sony ECM-CG50. Both gave extremely low volume sound, to the point of being almost inaudible. I tried using a pre-amp, and turning up the gain, which helped a bit, but not enough.
    Anyone used a shotgun mic successfully with my camera (or similar), and which one was it? (I'm a total novice at this as you can no doubt tell.)
  2. Sammyboy

    Sammyboy m43 Pro

    Oct 26, 2010
    Steeler Country
  3. Jez

    Jez New to Mu-43

    Oct 1, 2012
    Thanks for the suggestion.
    I was wondering whether any shotgun mics would give good results plugged directly into the EMA-1 mic. adapter (like the ME51S), or whether a pre-amp would likely always be needed with a shotgun mic to boost the volume?
  4. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    How far away are the animals? Shotguns are very directional but don't reach extremely far. I have done sound for movies and moving the shotgun back just a few feet can make the audio unusable{and get you yelled at by the sound mixer and maybe the assistant director:rolleyes: }. As a general rule the longer the shotgun the longer distance it can pick up but it also tends to pic up a narrower frequency range. Shotgun mics are set for the human range and it could be that the animals are higher/lower in frequency? You might want to check out a parabolic mic{they can be home made!}.
  5. Gerald

    Gerald Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 20, 2011
    I suspect that the two microphones that you used need Phantom power to be audible. In other words, they get power from the camera. And I dont think your camera offers that. There are alternatives to this with mics that run on batteries. Some manufacturers run two models on their mics for this reason. I think Rode offers this. We use an NTG series mic on a weekly basis and it offers good results. Audio Technica is known as a good cost efficient brand too.
  6. f6cvalkyrie

    f6cvalkyrie Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 12, 2010
    Brussels, Belgium
    I use a Rode (not a shotgun version) with good results, on my GH2

    C U,
  7. atomic

    atomic Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 3, 2011
    Gerald has it right. You want a self (battery) powered mic. The camera is not providing enough power to the mics.
  8. Jez

    Jez New to Mu-43

    Oct 1, 2012
    Hi, Appreciate the replies. Both the shotgun mics I have tried are powered by a single AA battery.
    Here's a link to my first effort to film with this camera, using the external Olympus ME51S microphone mounted on the end of the lens, and using a homemade wind muff (the birds are about five to ten metres away):

    Puffins on Skomer Island, Wales - YouTube

    The sound is not bad, but I was hoping for something more directional to cut out some of the extraneous noises behind the camera, hence trying a shotgun. As I said, even using an ART pre-amp with the gain turned right up, the volume is still below that of the Olympus mic. Perhaps I might sell the Sony and try with an Audio Technica or Rode. Pity Olympus didn't make a dedicated shotgun mic for the Pen cameras!
  9. Paul Amyes

    Paul Amyes Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 27, 2011
    Hobart, Tasmania
    The mics pick up sound from the back almost as much as they do from the front. Generally speaking I run a Rode Video Mic Pro and either run it straight into the camera via the SEMA1 connector if I'm working loose and fast, or if I'm static and using a tripod then I connect the mic via a Zoom H2n recorder this enables me to monitor the levels via screen and headphones.
  10. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Yes, shotgun mics pick up behind them as well as in front! They have a pickup pattern like this.
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    This is the reason why they are pointed down when used on a set.

    For the best results for what you are doing I would use a parabolic mic. You can use the shotgun head if the tube will screw off and build your own. They are true uni-directional and have a much longer pickup range than any other mic.
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
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