finally I got a MKH30 figure 8 mic. Today, I went to record some train arrivals/departures and pass bys with my 30/60 combo in a blimp (unfortunately no 40 available yet). Most of the time I held the blimp in my hand and panned the setup while recording so the Mid-capsule was always pointed towards the moving sound source. Now my problem is that when listening to the recordings I don’t have a real clue from which side the sound is coming from. The recordings sound nice overall but the trains aren’t moving from one side to the other (which is logical because of the panning).
I understand that for stationary sounds (e.g. doors) MS is quite useful because you basically have one mono version (Mid) and a stereo version (Mid+Side) of the sound.
The reason I thought panning was the way to go is that I would have the opportunity to drop the Side-Channel and have the Mid-Channel which I could later pan in sync to the picture (like traditional pass bys in mono). When recording pass bys stationary, it would give me a clear stereo image but no options in post concerning panning the Mid-Channel. Am I missing something?
So my question is, do you follow moving sound sources (esp. car/train pass bys) with your MS-Setup while recording?
If you do, how do you handle the files in post? Do you pan the stereo files? Or is MS the wrong choice for these situations after all?
The best thing for understanding the MS Stereo format is to test it out. I can give you some hints here:
If you follow the object like you did, you get a stereo recording of a moving object. In your case, you follow the train. That means, if you play back the sound, you have a constant recording of the train arriving, stopping, then departing again. If you point to the locomotive, you have the constant sound of the engine how it decelerates and stops and so on. So this is the way if you want to record the train in complete.
If you want to record an object traveling from left to right, then you need to keep the microphone steady. Put it on a stand. If you put it 90 degree to the train, the train will pass by from left, going to the center and then to right. This is no difference in MS than any other stereo format. In MS, you have a wide and nice natural pan in this case and you can decide with the decoding plugin, how wide it should be later in post.
So to be clear: following an object in MS (or any other stereo format) gives you a ‘static’ stereo record. This stereo record, you can pan it later as well or just us a mono or in MS the mid-channel.
Keep it static on a stand, you can let the object passing by on the left side, from left to right or from center to right, depending on how the object passing at the microphones.
This static recorded pass-by sound sounds much better if you really want something passing by. It’s a ‘real’-pass-by sfx and sounds very realistic but you only have limited control about the pass-by itself, in most case it is how it is and you need to record it in different speeds.
Test it out. Make some notes to the recs so you know later what you did. I’m sure you will understand it pretty quick.
It is good to record this things with 2 stereo setups on 4 channels: you can make 1 rec static and 1 is following the object. Then you have the choice which recording will be better for your situation.
Dropping the side channel, then panning, sounds about right for a train pass, but stereo m/s might be useful too.
I may be getting it wrong here, but…why would you pan a stereo file when you have a similar mono version? Except, of course, if you like how it sounds 🙂
Also – and I don’t know if you’ve noticed – but with the 30/60 combo there is a tendency to “holes” in the stereo image, because the patterns of the 30 and the 60 don’t entirely overlap. Most audible on close, moving sources in fact!