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Brian Liepe: There definitely are some challenges when recording audio with a DSLR. Many of the cameras don't have any manual audio recording features. They use something called AGC, Automatic Gain Control. Which automatically adjusts the volume at which audio is recorded as it's being acquired. This can create some undesirable results. The automatic level adjustment just isn't fast enough to anticipate rapid changes in volume. There are three ways to avoid AGC: one, buy a camera with manual audio controls, like the Canon 5D Mark II and III or the Nikon D800.
Two, record to an external audio recorder like the Zoom H4n. To do this, plug a shotgun mic directly into the Zoom, set your levels, and record high quality audio to an SD card. If your camera has an option for manual audio recording, switch it to automatic, so that your camera records a reference track.
Before each shot, press the Record button on the Zoom H4n or an audio recorder, using this method you could then sync audio later and post using an application like PluralEyes. Three, if your DSLR has manual audio recording features, you can record to both your DSLR and external audio recorder simultaneously. This is definitely what I recommend. Using a mixer, you can go from your mic into a mixer, then from the mixer you can send two output signals; one to the audio recorder and the other to the DSLR.
This will really help you sync up the audio in post, because the reference track from your DSLR will be very high-quality. Now remember most low end audio recorders can only take a mic level input same with the DSLRs, so when you're sending an output signal from your mixer you need a LINE level to MIC level pad converter like this one here. To send a line to your DSLR you'll need a female XLR to 1/8 jack adapter.
Once you've done this, send a 1 kHz tone to both the recorder and the DSLR, set your levels to approximately -20 DB on both devices and you're ready to rock. This is how we're recording the audio for this tutorial right now.
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