Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Episode 2: Sound

As important as you might think video is, sound is really a bigger part of your production. People are more willing to put up with poor video than they are with poor video. Watch this video to see more about capturing good quality sound.

There are a number of different YouTube videos that cover the idea of sound that I have put together in a playlist. Know of some others? Let me know in the comments box below!

Playlist of everything (well, almost) you want to know about sound

Equipment List

This is a list of the sound equipment I use. This is not an endorsement of any of it and I haven't received any free equipment, payment from the manufacturers, etc. (darn).  I picked this equipment after some online research and talking with my local camera shop.

And, I'll freely admit, I'm not an expert on this, and I'm learning what works and what doesn't by trial and error. And I still have a lot to learn about all of the features and how to get everything to play together.

  • Sound Recorders
    • Zoom H1  This is a a great, simple recorder that I use a lot. It has a 1/8" jack for the lavalier or Rode shotgun microphone, it doesn't have a lot of complicated functions, it just does what it has to do.  It is made of plastic, so, don't expect it to take a beating. I've already had to use some super glue on it. It's small, fits inside a pocket easily, and is my "go to" recorder.  About $100.
      Zoom H1
    • Zoom H4n  This is the big brother to the H1 and it has a ton more features (many of which I really don't know how to do yet). This is one beefy, metal-encased unit, designed to work in the field.  From what I am reading and hearing, this is pretty much an industry standard.  You can have multiple inputs into it, 1/8", XLR and the on-board microphones themselves.  About $260.
      Zoom H4N

      XLR are the more professional microphones, and I'm not there yet (those are the two big cables you see at the bottom of the H4N in the picture above).
      Rode VideoMic

      In case you are wondering why I have two recorders, the simple reason is for redundancy. If one dies, I have a backup. I really use the H1 most of the time because it is just so darn simple to use. I have to get better at the H4, though.
  • Microphones
  • Rode VideoMic Pro
    • Rode VideoMic Shotgun  This is a pretty good microphone. I say pretty good because it looks like the Rode VideoMic Pro might have been a better one to go with because it is easier to change some of the settings on the Pro. On the non-pro version, you have to open the battery compartment and try to reach some impossible-to-reach dip switches...what a dumb design. Here's a review by Caleb Pike from DSLR Video Shooter that I wish I had seen first.

      What I do like about the VideoMic is that it has the 1/8" connector which means it can plug into the camera or into the H1 or H4N. I use it a lot on the camera to capture sound for my scratch track. What's a scratch track? It's not sound that I'm going to use on the final product, but let's me easily sync up the sound file from the external recorder with the video. As I mentioned in the video above, recording sound on the camera really doesn't work well because a camera is designed to...well, it's not designed to record sound.

      It is has a 3/8" thread on the bottom that you can easily screw into a boom pole or, in my case, I use a monopod as a boom pole. You can also remove the head of a tripod and screw it on there, which I have done on occasion as an alternative.
    • Lavalier  I have two lavalier microphones (redundancy) and I really don't remember what ones I bought. However, I am learning that there really is a lot of difference in terms of quality and compatibility that I need to learn more about. I thought, "hey, 1/8" tip is pretty'll work on anything!"  Wrong. I have to play games between the H1 and H4N sometimes to get them to work consistently. Duh.
  • Cables  This is another area that I am learning as I go. Quality matters. I bought a cable extender for the 1/8" and I was having a heck of a time chasing down the buzz that I was getting on the recorder. Finally turned out to be a bad (cheap) cable. Test what you buy right away and if it doesn't work, return it ASAP and try something else.

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