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In Video for Photographers: Shooting with a DSLR, photographer and videographer Rob Sheppard provides the essential foundation that photographers need to make the leap from still pictures to moving ones. From technical considerations, such as audio and frame rates, to aesthetic issues, such as composition and story development, this course presents concepts and techniques photographers need to get the best results from their gear and learn the art of video-based storytelling. Exercise files are included with the course.
I want to talk now about some advanced techniques for audio. Now I want to be clear that you don't need this as you get started but you may hear or read about it and wonder what's going on. Well, one challenge to audio comes from something called AGC or automatic gain control. And what it's doing is it is recording your sound at a certain level. But like all automatic things is that when you shoot automatic that doesn't always give you the best results. Same thing for recording sound, and sometimes this will give the wrong level of sound being recorded.
Unfortunately most cameras do not allow you to turn off AGC or to control how loud or soft you record audio. One way around this is to use a separate recorder such as this Zoom H4n, a popular recorder among video pros. Now you simply plug your mic into this recorder and set the levels as to how loud you're recording. In addition, you can use headphones to monitor the signal as you're recording and as you're setting it up.
A recorder like this also allows longer recording times than you can get from a DSLR for recording audio. In addition, you can add different types of microphones to this recorder. Now you can add this type of a microphone. You can add a lav. But there are some professional types of mics that use something called an XLR connector. This connector can not be easily used with a DSLR but it can be easily used with a recorder like this, just plugging it into the bottom.
In fact, you can plug in almost any type of microphone you can imagine to a recorder like this. Now one problem that you might have guessed is that the audio, the good audio, is now separate from the video. That's why this is often called a double system sound. You can record with a loud sound that has a visual component to help you with that, because what happens is as you take a big sound, like a hand clapping, and when that comes together, you match that up in the software in the computer.
The thing that you're probably most familiar with is the clapboard that you've seen Hollywood using. Scene 1, take one. And when that sound comes together, the clapboard comes together, your hands come together, whatever. You have a visual thing happening and the sound at the same time that is easy to line up in the computer. In addition, there is software that is called Pluralize that will help you do that automatically in most video editing programs. Well, sound is so important to video that pros will sometimes use special gear like this to help get better sound.
The point of telling you this is not to suggest that you go out and buy this gear or that you try it, but to give you some additional perspective on recording audio. At some point you may run across this type of recording audio, or as you progress you may need a better way of controlling your audio recording. And a double system does give you that.
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