My name is Moritz Sonntag and I am a German-based filmmaker for outdoor sports and documentaries.
In March 2016 I went to Taiwan for 4 weeks to document an international team of Canyoneers who tried to succeed in the longest canyoning descent that has ever been done before.
The goal was not only to achieve something new on a sport-level but also in filmmaking. High-Quality full-length films are well known in mountaineering, kayaking, and other outdoor-sports but are rare to non-existent in Canyoning.
The plan was to be in the Taiwanese backcountry with no electricity for 8-13 days and to be in the Canyon for 7-9 days. Therefore I was on the lookout for an audio-device that can handle on one hand the demand of power (being as light as possible is the key) and on the other hand allows me to shoot in wet and unstable conditions. The microphone would need to master water-resistant, rappelling in high-water waterfalls, jumping from 15+ meters and the possibility of falls.
I couldn’t find a microphone that fit my needs until I came in contact with Instamic. I was impressed by their concept, contacted them and was given the possibility to test these small handy and HQ-microphones in the harshest condition that exists for sound recording. And I can sayI am impressed by the usability of these tiny friends.
They helped me a lot and gave me the possibility to capture moments of sound that a camera in a waterproof housing would never be able to capture.
I placed the microphones on the helmets of the athletes to capture there discussions and o-ton while being in action. The velcro allowed me to place several mounts on several helmets so I was able to just clip the microphone to the protagonists' helmet, turn it on and record. The main pro of Instamic in that context was the speed to set them up. It is mounted, turned on and ready to shoot in under a minute, whichguarantees that the flow of the main activity is never interrupted too much by the filmmaking.
That was crucial for my project and the key to an authentic way of capturing the action.
Another big advantage is the power of the Instamic. It has a standby time of 8 hours! And I can record for 3 hours with the internal 8GB memory card. That is perfect because it means with two microphones I can either record sound for 6 hours or 2 protagonists for 3 hours. The time to recharge and unload the files will be in the evening. I traveled with a 5200mh mobile phone charger which allowed me to recharge each Instamic 5-6 times.
But the biggest and most important reason for me to work with Instamic is it’s water-resistant. I wasn’t quite sure if a microphone that is water resistant to 3 meters underwater can challenge the high flow of waterfalls or even jumps. But yes it can. It was tested jumping from 18 m and it survived and recorded the sound.It got hit by a 70-meter waterfall and it survived and recorded the sound of the water drops falling on the helmet. I was even possible to separate the voice from the sound of water under these conditions.
Even the leveling worked great and having two mono-tracks that recorded with a difference of about –20db ensured that even the very loud noises of water impacts weren’t peaking.
I am looking forward to looking deeper into the possibilities to capture extreme sports activities with these tiny friends and test borders of their resistance.
Here's few samples from Mortiz's Documentary - Malishan - World’s Longest Canyoning Expedition