First of all, I’d like to thank Will Hutchinson of Micromuff for providing a complimentary Micromuff Skinny for me to review for the GH2 shooters’ community. See my disclosure policy here. The Micromuff Skinny is a small deadcat that attaches directly to the onboard microphones on top of the GH2 body. It arrived tidily packaged in a small round cardboard box which made a nice impression. But would it do the job?
I wanted to review the Micromuff Skinny deadcat because not too long ago I ended up needing to reshoot part of a job because of some really bad wind noise on my B Cam (a GH2). For local businesses I offer a lot of different packages to match different budgets, but my premium packages include two cameras (GH2′s) so that the final product isn’t just a long running static shot. I find this particularly helpful for talking head types of interviews.
Before I got my second GH2, I used to just conduct an interview, move the camera and repeat the interview. This works if you don’t have any other options, but it can really wear on your talent and it easily doubles the amount of time the project takes to edit. With a two camera set up, I have one GH2 locked off, while I man the other. Footage is easily synched in post using Plural Eyes. Easily I say, unless you’ve been shooting outside and your audio is mostly incoherent rumbling wind noise. Plural Eyes uses the audio tracks of both sets of footage to make a multiclip. This process only works if both sets of audio are mostly clear. In my case I was using a lav mic with wind protection on my talent with the wireless receiver running into my A Cam and relying on the built in microphone of my B Cam, which turned out to be a mistake. What’s that old saying? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. A tiny onboard deadcat custom made for my GH2? Let’s try it out!
So you can tell from the above review that the Micromuff Skinny Deadcat is definitely effective at reducing wind noise. It’s also obvious that it doesn’t magically eliminate it. It does however do a good enough job to allow Plural Eyes to work it’s magic and create a multiclip of multiple camera footage. I wouldn’t count on it to achieve perfect results capturing audio on your primary camera. You need a professional audio solution. The Micromuff Skinny Deadcat, at least in it’s current form is a very capable way of insuring that your audio will sync when you’re using the built in microphones on your GH2 as a second camera. Nothing more, nothing less. The product retails for 12.95 pounds in Britain, which converts to just a little over $20.00 here in the USA. It’s definitely affordable when you consider the cost and inconvenience of having to reshoot spoiled footage and the cost of outfitting your second camera with a mostly unnecessary professional audio solution.
I think that Will might actually be able to improve the design of this product by changing it to have the deadcat material partially fold under the unit so that the fur would naturally extend around the microphones as well as above them. This would probably block any wind that might be sneaking through the velcro connection that holds the Micromuff Skinny Deadcat to its mounting place. I’m pretty sure that’s where the remaining wind noise is coming from. That velcro joint is just openly exposed because of the placement of the microphones on the top of the GH2, while it’s not exposed on canon cameras that have the microphone on the front of the body.
For another real world review of the Micromuff Skinny, check out Jesse Brauning’s review here.
What are your thoughts about this product? Would you buy it? Are you using another method to control wind noise? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!