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The Interview Kit

By: Stephen Toback

In the last week, we were approached by no less than three faculty that wanted a way to do interviews on their own. The Link offers good HD video kits that include one wireless lav mic. We could offer to get another wireless lav but the wireless lav’s we’d recommend would be in the $700 range. If you’ve used wireless lav’s before, you know the possible trouble with interference. Getting the receivers mounted to the camera is also not fun. We thought this would be too much for faculty to deal with when we wanted them to focus on the interview itself.

We came up with two solutions – shotgun mic(s) and wired lav’s. We tested the $60 Audio Technica ATR6550 and decided on getting a pair of them with an interesting mount for the two microphones. ┬áThe mics were good, but in our lab, with a fair amount a fan noise, they really didn’t work well enough. Graduating to shotgun mics of several hundred dollars may help, but it seemed that it was getting complex.

We purchase (2) Audio Technica ATR33050iS wired lavalier mics for $32 each. They sound great. Sure, it might get tangled, but most interviews will be sit downs and this should be the easiest solution. I will be purchasing extra batteries as well as it is very easy to leave them on.

One challenge was how to get the audio of two speakers into the camera. You’d think a simple headphone splitter would work, but it would combine both stereo inputs into one stereo input with no separation of the mics. You do want them on separate channels for easier mixing.

Radio Shack to the rescue! I’m not sure what I’m going to do if that company goes away. Through a series of connectors, I was able to route each microphone to the left/right inputs of the camera. I started with a 1/4″ stereo male to (2) RCA female connectors, marked left and right. I then used a 1/4″ stereo female to 1/8″ (3.5mm) stereo male adapter to get it into the camera. To connect the microphones, I used a mono 1/8″ female to RCA male adapter. Voila! This mess of connectors can stay connected so the faculty just need to plug it into the camera and plug each microphone in.

So, we’ve built a good audio interview kit for less than $100 (camera not included)

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