Join Richard Harrington for an in-depth discussion in this video Why use a dedicated audio recorder?, part of DSLR Video Tips: Audio.
Robbie Carman: Hi there! I am Robbie Carman. Rich Harrington: And I am Rich Harrington. Robbie Carman: And Rich, this week we want to talk about what type of audio recorder do you need, and I think that this is something that generates a lot of buzz in the DSLR community, and that is sort of the idea of recording dual system sound; shooting video on your DSLR and then recording audio somewhere else, like a dedicated digital audio recorder. Rich Harrington: And one of the things I want to say is this is not unique to DSLR. Most RED Camera workflow, same thing. Feature film, same thing. It really just comes down to the fact that audio is so much better when you record it separately.
Now this really becomes a critical issue, because audio on a DSLR couldn't suck much more, could it? Robbie Carman: Well, when you factor in that the microphone is basically three pinheads in a piece of plastic at the top of the camera. Rich Harrington: Right where the hand tends to grab. Robbie Carman: Yeah, you're probably not going to get great results from that, and because of that, people often decide to choose a separate digital audio recorder to choose from. And this week we're going to sort of cover a bunch of the issues surrounding how to choose sort of an audio recorder; in terms of what inputs do I need, what file formats and sample rate, and all that kind of stuff that we use on a DSLR production.
But the point really is a separate digital audio recorder can really add a lot of benefits and really give you great sounding audio when you're shooting DSLRs for a particular production. Rich Harrington: Yeah. What I like to point out is that it gives you great flexibility. In this case here, I've attached it to a stand. I can easily position this near my subject, just behind them, run the microphone, cuts down, gives me more freedom for mobility. I can move the camera and not be tethered to my subject while getting great audio. Robbie Carman: Absolutely! And then the thing about these too is that there are just a lot of different form factors, a lot of different price points, and a lot of different features.
From something like this little small zoom H4n, to more expensive devices from those that you find maybe from sound devices and other dedicated audio companies, and it just really--you have to choose what matches your project. You might need some features. You might not need other features. But the point you're making Rich is well-taken, is that you can get great sounding audio out of a pretty simple and pretty cost-effective device and that goes a long way to improving your productions, and I think that a dedicated digital audio recorder is something that every DSLR kit should have. Rich Harrington: Yeah, even if you're just buying the $100 version of this, $100 on an audio recorder is going to be $500 better than the audio built into the camera. It just goes a long way.
Plus, this is going to free you up for lots of different options in what type of mics you connect. So when we come back we're going to talk exactly about that. What are the different ways to bring audio into these devices and really knowing the type of scenarios you're going to be shooting in will impact which device you choose.
- Why does my audio sound so bad?
- How do I use a dedicated audio recorder?
- Which type of microphone should I use?
- What adapters do I need?
- How do I sync sound—in the field and in post?
Authors Rich Harrington and Robbie Carman offer simple solutions that will help you capture high-quality audio without a lot of expensive gear. Plus, get run-and-gun techniques for getting clean audio in noisy settings, syncing audio with video in post, and using click tracks to capture great live music performances.