View Full Version : My Audio options, help please.

03-27-2010, 11:07 PM
Hey over the next few months I am hoping to embark on filming a documentary along with a few people. The only thing Iam unsure of at the moment is how to record the audio. Over the last couple of weeks I have researched differnent methods and how to record them. I have made up my mind to record the audio seperately to enchance the quality.
I have looked into DAT Recorders and they seem relatively inexpensive items like Tascam DA-P1 Portable professional DAT recorder appear to be able to do the trick, or their is various sound recorders like the zoom recorder. My only query about the zoom recorder is I don't know if you can add a microphone to it. Both these items seem to be a decent price on e-bay.
Is there any hard drive recorders that you know of that you could add a mic to or if you have any recomendations on how to record sound at a reasonable price please let me know.
Thanks for your time and help. :yes:

Alcove Audio
03-28-2010, 12:07 AM
There's a lot more to consider than just a recorder and a mic. Unless you are doing a lot of sit-down interviews and/or other set pieces the ease/speed with which you can get up and running is a primary consideration. There are no second takes with documentary work, especially if you are in run-and-gun mode.

DAT recorders are nice, but they are prone to malfunction in environmental extremes (heat, cold, high humidity). DATs have moving parts so there can be "skipping" and other artifacts when they are jostled if you are doing run-and-gun. There is also the added expense of DAT tapes, and they can be "eaten" by the DAT if the DAT get banged around.

The Zoom H4n is not very sturdy, it has a plastic case and a hard drop can turn it into an expensive paperweight. It also has relatively noisy mic pre-amps and eats batteries like crazy. B&H has a couple of used/shopworn FR-2LE recorders for around $375; a very decent investment. The only drawback is that the headphone output is a bit noisy so you are hearing noise that is not there, or you may not hear noise that is there and is being covered up by the headphone output noise (I still like it as far as bang-for-the-buck is concerned). There are other more expensive units such as the Marantz PMD-661 & PMD-670, the Tascam HD-P2 and the Edirol/Roland R-44.

If you are doing primarily interiors a cardioid condenser mic would be preferable to a shotgun mic which is more suitable to outdoors work. If you are doing sit-down interviews lavs may be preferable.

And don't forget the boom-pole, shockmount, cables, cases and headphones.

So think it through and give us some more details so we can give you more focused advice.

03-28-2010, 03:04 AM
If you go external, see if you can ALSO record on the camera at the same time, that way you have a reference, and a good back up.