Video Production Techniques: Location Audio Recording
Illustration by John Hersey

Video Production Techniques: Location Audio Recording

with Anthony Q. Artis

Video: Equipment package for a musical performance

Now, I just want to quickly talk about some of the equipment Headphones, headphones, headphones always.

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Watch the Online Video Course Video Production Techniques: Location Audio Recording
1h 23m Appropriate for all Nov 20, 2013

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Audio is one the most important but least appreciated aspects of filmmaking. Your audience will notice if you don't put the same care and attention you pay to your visuals into your audio. In this how-to course, Anthony Q. Artis walks through many of the most common audio recording scenarios. Think of it like an audio "cookbook" with step-by-step recipes for situations like conference panels, stage shows, and narrative dialog scenes. Anthony also shows you how to set up mixers, wireless mics, and booms, and make sure your camera is correctly set up to capture audio. He wraps up with troubleshooting tips covering a range of issues, from wind noise to echoes, and shows how to fix the problems you can't solve on set in post production.

Topics include:
  • Hooking up a mixer
  • Selecting the right mic for the job—table, lavalier, or boom
  • Using wireless mics
  • Hiding mics
  • Mic'ing the crowd at an event
  • Capturing the action up close
  • Matching visual perspective to audio
  • Dealing with background noise
  • Reducing rumble, wind noise, and hiss in post
Anthony Q. Artis

Equipment package for a musical performance

Now, I just want to quickly talk about some of the equipment that we would bring along to record a live musical performance. So, a few things. We don't need a lot, but we do need a few specialty things. One of them that you might find very handy is the dynamic microphone. Now dynamic microphones, unlike the shotgun microphone I have here, do not require power. So these microphones actually pick up audio by using the little diaphragm, so they're really good for loud sounds like instruments, and speakers and other things like that. So a dynamic microphone is really good to have.

They're also very inexpensive and tough, about 99 bucks for one of those. Over here, I've got my shotgun microphone. Shotgun microphone, I would generally use to pick up the whole sound of the room, from the camera perspective. So this I would mount on my camera. Headphones, headphones, headphones always. You definitely need good over-the-ear headphones when you're recording music. It's going to be a lot of loud sound. You want to make sure you're able to, clearly as possible, hear what it is that you're recording. Because the audio in your ear, it's going to be competing with the audio in the room.

Also, another very valuable accessory anytime you're recording a musical performance, is going to be a mixer of some kind. The reason we want to make sure we have a mixer is because a, we might be dealing with multiple microphones, if we're dealing with the case of mic'ing instruments as well as audience, and vocalists. And also, we want to have a mixer, because if we're plugging into a sound system, you never know what kind of funky levels you might get. Even though it's supposed to be line in mic. Things don't always work out the way they're supposed to. A mixer will help you even those things out sometimes, and deal with any audio issues.

And then over here, I want to make sure I bring lots and lots of XLR cable. I want to always bring as much XLR cable as I might need to go from my camera position, to the stage. And then, the last thing that I would bring in addition to the XLR cables, are just a variety of adapters and accessories that I might need. Because I'm plugging into other people's systems. I might be plugging up instrument to mixing boards. You never know what they have coming out. So I want to make sure that I'm prepared. Take a trip by Radio Shack or Best Buy, and get a bunch of different adapters.

One of them that I know always comes in handy is a male to female XLR adapter. But I also have the headphones, and other types of adapters here for any little things that we might come across. So, this is your basic package, along with one other small accessory that's pretty inexpensive. And that's, you can get a music stand for under 30 bucks in most places. Music stand comes in handy, obviously for holding mics in place on stage, and if I decide I want to mic a speaker. So that's pretty much it. Pretty small basic package. The main thing is that I have the right tools for the job, and that I'm prepared for a variety of audio situations.

So now, I'm going to show you what some of those different situations are.

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