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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.
Now let's just take a look at a typical package that I would take on a narrative shoot. Starting with one of the chief things you want any time recording narrative, you're going to need a boom pole. The lighter weight, the better. But if it's heavier, not that big a deal. But it will go a little bit easier on the boom operator's arms if you have a light weight boom pole. So boom pole is number one. And along with the boom pole, you're also going to need a shotgun microphone. This is going to be our chief microphone. If I don't have any other mic at all, I'm definitely going to want to have at least one good shotgun microphone.
In this case, I've got the old workhorse Sennheiser MKH-416 microphone right here, with the wind foam on it of course. And, in addition to that, I want to make sure that I have a good shock mount on my boom pole. And that's going to help take up any handling noise, help if I'm moving around the boom, it's not going to get too noisy. But not just any kind of shock mount. I recommend that if you can afford it, that you go with a pistol grip shock mount. The reason I like the pistol grip shock mount is because the pistol grip shock mount can actually come off of the boom.
So if you're shooting in tight spaces, you can put your microphone just in here and squeeze that boom operator. Or in this case pistol grip operator, wherever we need to get them. So, pistol grip shock mount right there. Shooting outdoors for wind, we're going to want at least a softie with us. So, a softie with this faux fur on here is going to help block the wind noise when you're shooting outdoors. This isn't quite enough for most outdoor scenes, so we want something a little bit heavier duty for that. We also are going to want to have some wireless Lavalier microphones.
Sometimes there's scenes and certain shots where a boom just can't get in there good enough, so hiding these live mics on our actors is another good technique to use to be able to pick up scenes for wider shots. And other places that are trickier for the boom to get into. Also, a mixer, not a must, but always recommended. you can certainly work faster without a mixer, but you can always record better audio with more versatility if you do have a mixer. So, I definitely recommend a mixer in your kit, but it's not 100% necessary. So when you can afford it, go ahead and add that into your kit.
And of course, we want to have plenty of XLR cable for all of our hard-wired loud mics, so our boom operator can get as far into the set as they need to. And, right here, we have hard-wired loud mic. Now this mic could be mounted on talent if they're stationary. But really I like to have the hard-wired loud mics for narrative to hide in the scenes. So if I need to hide a mic in the scene these are nice and small and unobtrusive. And I can easily slip them into a lot of places on the set where the camera would never pick them up. And then lastly, right here, we have a little bit of special material called mole skin, which is used for hiding loud mics on actors.
So if I want to hide these wireless loud mics underneath of an actors clothing, this mole skin is going to help me do that. And that's it. That's our whole narrative audio kit. Make sure you have the right tool for the job.
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