Rode NTG-2 Shotgun Microphone and Movie Scoring
by, 03-06-2012 at 03:23 PM (1361 Views)
I wrote this last July and never posted it.
This weekend was the annual 48 Hour Film festival. The idea is you have 48 hours to make a movie 7 minutes or less starting from scratch. You don't know the genre, required props, or required character names beforehand. At 7:00pm on a Friday night there is a huge rush to toss together a story, locations, cast, etc.
I brought out my sorta-portable recording rig (which isn't) and setup in a spare bedroom (probably 10'x10' with no acoustic treatment). My role was to score the thing and do the final mix of the film.
Rode NTG-2 Shotgun Microphone
I have to say that I was VERY impressed with the Rode NTG-2 Shotgun Microphone, which was recorded with a little portable recorder (I can't remember if it was a Zoom or Tascam...sorry). The mic has almost zero sibilance. I probably could have knocked a dB off here or there with a de-esser, but it was, by far, a kick butt mic for the film sound gig at this price range.
Due to time limitations, all the voiceover work was done with the Rode NTG-2. I would have preferred to use my rig, but the shotgun mic sound actually turned out pretty damn well in that fashion, too. Totally usable. I had a full 7 minutes to mix this thing due to getting a late start on the score and me underestimating the amount of time it takes to score a horror film, but the natural sound of the Rode NTG-2 didn't require much more than a UAD 1176 and a slight notch at 400Hz and 5k.
Before the 48 Hour film festival I was doing some homework trying to find a mic that I could use in the studio that I could swap to shotgun capsules. I didn't want to shell out big cash for a shotgun mic I'd use once per year. I was eyeballing the AKC C451, which is a prime time SDC, but could never find any sound examples. Now I know that if I really need to shell out the bucks for a kick butt shotgun mic, the Rode NTG-2 is what I'll get. I seem to be impressed more and more by this Rode company and I'm a guy who is used to using mics that are well over $2,000.
At $270, the thing is a steal. If I would have been told we were using Schoeps shotgun mics when the tracks were handed to me I would have believed it although I do not have any experience with tip top shotgun mics. (Because I'm used to having a fancy tube LDC in the front of a singer in a controlled environment that I've placed exactly where I want them with no stupid cameras to worry about, I kinda believe that film sound is never exactly ideal. I'm sure there is a healthy difference between a Schoeps and a Rode.)
Rode NTG-2 @ Musician's Friend --- Rode NTG-2 @ ZZounds.com --- Rode NTG-2 @ Ebay.com --- Rode NTG-2 @ Amazon --- Rode NTG-2 @ B&H
Portable Vocal Booth
For a few little things I did use a Gefell m930 in the untreated room. The Editor Keys portable vocal booth thing - which I'm finding more and more uses for even in my controlled environment - was absolutely critical. I still believe that really treating a room is better than relying on one of these and I still hear the same not-so-desirable room character with the portable booth in place, it's just nice having that room sound reduced considerably.
I didn't have my trusty Ninja Turtles blanket with me unfortunately.
Stormdrum 2, Absynth, and Massive made up the score entirely. Stormdrum has some AMAZING sounds for this horror genre....and just about any other genre that needs percussion. There were quite a few disturbing noises that were very useful as well that I didn't expect.
I found the browser feature on the Native Instruments synths, Absynth and Massive, to be absolutely essential. There were times when I needed a metallic ringing sound. I just clicked on “metallic” and “sustain” and all the patches that fit the bill popped up. That is the ONLY way to work. I wish Stormdrum had something like that because I know there were certain sounds buried in that thing I needed, but I just didn't have the time to find them in the context of this contest.
I totally overdid the score. It's clear that I'm a Type A person with a caffeine problem. The final scene was RUINED. I had it fully scored and I LOVED it. Then they changed the edit at the last minute and I had literally 3 minutes to fix it. I was not happy with it, but the time element is what makes these 48 Hour Film Festivals so fun.
I highly recommend anyone in need a great shotgun mic for the money take a look at the Rode NTG-2 shotgun mic.
For those so inclined, try to get involved with these 48 Hour Film festivals. They are a lot of work, almost no sleep for 48 hours, but there's something very rewarding about working hard and fast and knowing that you simply don't have the option to go back and “fix” it. It takes a lot of the pressure of perfection off and just lets you have fun.
BTW, I pushed HARD with what little clout I had to make a movie about a modern-day witch warlock that had a broom and flew all around the city. I was shot down and we made a “serious” movie. Simply put, you can't make Shawshank Redemption in 48 Hours. Oh well.
Here's the movie: