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Case Study

Hikari Takano with his B3 Omnidirectional Lavalier

Countryman Microphones the Ideal Choice for Hikari Takano

B3 Omnidirectional Lavalier delivers clean, natural sound

Los Angeles, CA – February 2015… Interviewer, Editor, Producer Hikari Takano has a diverse background that involves work both in front of and behind the camera. As an actor, he made his feature film debut in Fred Schepisi’s Mr. Baseball, starring Tom Selleck. Subsequently, he appeared in Barry Sonnenfeld’s For Love or Money as well as numerous television commercials. Since those days, Takano has moved behind the camera into the production side of the business, where he now functions as an interviewer with projects involving well known celebrities such as Harvey Keitel, Mickey Rourke, Billy Bob Thornton, David Lynch, Thomas Jane, and countless others. To ensure the best possible audio quality for his projects, he routinely uses the B3 Omnidirectional Lavalier microphone from Menlo Park, CA-based Countryman Associates.

Takano described his search for the “right” microphone, “With the popularity of DSLR cameras being used for interviews, I and countless other production professionals quickly discovered that the DSLR’s audio quality was generally horrendous. Hence, it became a necessity to use external recorders plus lavalier or shotgun mics, or both. Then, as the cameras got better—particularly the Sony mirrorless cameras I started filming with—I wanted the very best sound quality possible that performed consistently without any clipping and didn't record at levels that were too low or too loud. I started searching for a higher level lavalier mic and Countryman’s General Manager Rosa Pimentel suggested I try the Countryman B3.”

“I used the B3 in my most recent interview with actor Peter Stormare (of Fargo, Armageddon, Prison Break, and 22 Jump Street fame),” Takano reports. “Unlike other interviews that sounded good once a lot of audio filtering and processing had been performed, the Countryman B3 delivered the sound just as it should be—without all the manipulation. The great thing about the B3 lavs is that I don't have to touch the audio track at all if I choose not to do so. That's a nice position to be in and it’s definitely a time saver!”

Takano described his preferred production method for his interviews, “I don’t use my lavalier mics wirelessly simply because adding a receiver to my workflow means relying on another battery source. For the most part, I work alone, though sometimes I’ll take an intern to help me set up and press the camera record buttons. I have to be prepared for the possibility of the interview going much longer than planned. The more original content I have, the better, so I run the B3 microphone’s XLR cables directly to the external recorder, which is powered via an AC Adapter to avoid the possibility of battery failure during the interview.”

When queried about those attributes of the Countryman B3 lavalier microphone that he finds most appealing for his type of work, Takano offered the follow thoughts. “Obviously, the most important consideration when choosing a lavalier mic is the sound quality. The Countryman B3 produces the cleanest and most natural sound I have ever encountered. It also certainly helps when the dimension of the lavalier mic is just right, as it is with the B3. It’s very common for a lavalier mic head to be a little bigger than desired or way too small, like the pin-style lavs that don't stand on the clip properly. And I personally love the longer cord on the B3 mics. A cord that's too short can be a real hindrance.”

Before shifting his focus to an upcoming project, Takano summarized his experience regarding Countryman’s reliability and his overall fondness for the B3 microphone. “I’ve been extremely pleased with the Countryman B3,” Takano said. “The microphone is well designed, well built, and very reliable. I’ve never needed to contact the company for support or service since taking delivery of the product. It just works.”

He continued, “I would strongly recommend the Countryman B3 mic to the documentary filmmaker or TV/web content creator who wants to take his or her audio quality to the top level while feeling confident they are capturing the cleanest and most realistic sound possible for their project. To repeat what I stated earlier, the biggest surprise and the most impressive aspect of using the Countryman B3 was the fact I had to do so little to the recorded files.”

View Hikari Takano’s interview with Peter Stormare and learn more about Hikari Takano at www.HikariTakano.co.