View Full Version : how to record sound?

02-12-2005, 10:49 AM
i'm in the process of putting together my first short film (using a DV) and was wondering how do i record the sound? im not interested in dubbing or stem mic's what are the other options available?

02-12-2005, 11:43 AM
i'm in the process of putting together my first short film (using a DV) and was wondering how do i record the sound? im not interested in dubbing or stem mic's what are the other options available?
I only know a "stem mic" to be a mic attached to a console and usually used in a PA system.

If you are saying you donít want to use a boom mic, then the only other options are using the camera mic - not a very good one - and using body micís, also called lavalieres.

To record good dialogue tracks you need to get the mic as close to the actors as possable. The boom mic is the standard equipment.

02-12-2005, 01:51 PM
Lav's also have a tendancy to fluctuate with the talent, creating a ruffling sound.In static situations like interviews or people sitting down at a table or something you can disguise the Lavs pretty easily, and the wireless ones especially, and they even give off very nice sound, but really your best bet, overall is the boom. The boom will deliver unidirectional sound or even wide if you want, and although it is a pain to use a boom pole and boom, as long as you can see what you are framing, and especially if you plan to letterbox, the boom is quite easy to hide. But just remember you need to get the boom real close to the talent, as close as you can.

As has been said, DO NOT USE THE IN CAMERA MIC. In situations where there is little sound happening in a scene, just dialog, the noise pickup is terrible. I did only use the in camera mic for TSP, and suffice to say, NEVER AGAIN.

Will Vincent
02-13-2005, 08:44 AM
If you do use a shotgun mic on a boom, then you might also want to use a mic preamp to boost the sound a bit before running it into the recording unit (be that the camera, a DAT, etc) If you use lavalieres you'll want a mixer of some kind, even just a simple mic-mixer that keeps everything at mic level, that way you can put a lav on each of the talent with lines. Then just make sure the guy that would otherwise be holding the boom is riding the levels on the mixer.

If you want to get real complex you could record each actor on their own track with a multitrack recorder..

09-27-2005, 07:40 PM
If you want to get real complex you could record each actor on their own track with a multitrack recorder..

Is this ever done? 2 shotguns or more into a multitrack recorder? one for each actor? Or is it usually just a single boom and then doing timed lip sync VO in post if you need to get a better quality sound?


Boz Uriel
09-28-2005, 12:59 AM
I shoot with a shotgun mic that's 99.99% of the time on a boom. The sound goes through a small mixer or at least a software mixer then directly to my laptop. The connectors are all gold 3.5 MM. The sound man records raw .wav files this way and he has instant access to kill it and re-do, or save it to the hard drive. While me and the DP are making sure the video is good, he's making sure the audio is good. Hope this helps.

09-28-2005, 01:28 PM
Hey this does help. What software do you use in the field? Why use gold connectors ? is there really that much difference?

Does your sound man hold the boom and deal with the mixer/ lap top set up as well? or do you have two seperate people doing these jobs?

Do you use a radio mic on the boom? Or put up with trailing cables?


Boz Uriel
09-28-2005, 08:34 PM
Software in the field, we use Sound Forge by Sony.

Gold connectors are better for any signal, they conduct better when the connection is metal to metal (or so I'm told by the Radio Shack guy), difference? probably not with the equipment I'm using but I don't scrimp on patch cords. ;)

My sound man holds the boom yes, test shots with my shotgun mic are inconclusive when it comes to having the mic above the actor's head or below. So I let him do what he wants position wise. While he holds the boom, he has on a rather expensive pair of head phones that block out a lot of the outside noise, so he concentrates on the sound. The mixer is for dropping out other noises or enhancing sounds. I.e. You know how some people have a really high pitched 's' sound to their speech, well he can knock that down. We do sound tests with all our actors and he's really good about getting his settings right.

The boom has a long extension cord (25' if I remember right) so the laptop sits on a stand with rollers and he's free to move around. We haven't done any tracking shots but if we do I'll have someone carry the laptop.

The wires are hooked up using those velcro straps and we used gaffer's tape to send the wire down the boom.

Need more? Just ask. ;)

strange m1nd
10-10-2005, 03:03 AM
I was wondering... where can you get a good affordable mic... shotgun mic?

Boz Uriel
10-10-2005, 10:40 AM
What's affordable to you? Best Buy usually carries a shotgun mic or two in stock, Sima Universal Mini Zoom Camcorder Microphone, Model: MZM-1 is $50 and the Sony Shotgun Camcorder Microphone, Model: ECM-HGZ1 is $70.

Otherwise you can check out this is where I picked up my Azden SGM-1X $150.

Hope this helps.

strange m1nd
10-10-2005, 01:11 PM
Is the Azden professional quality?

strange m1nd
10-12-2005, 02:40 PM
Ok, that Azden looks great actually, but it doesn't look like it comes with a boom pole or whatever it's called... how much more is a boom pole, Boz?

And I don't have much money to get a mixer and all that... YET. But I do need a good software mixer like you said. If anyone can help me with that too I would appreciate it... thanks

10-12-2005, 02:46 PM
Ok, that Azden looks great actually, but it doesn't look like it comes with a boom pole or whatever it's called... how much more is a boom pole

Real boom poles aren't too cheap. Good ones cost $200-$500 and up. Depends what they're made of (aluminum, carbon fiber, etc.) and whether or not they are internally wired. You're probably also going to want a shock mount for the microphone to go on the end of the boom (again pretty pricey).

Or, you can make your own boom and shock mount. I built a shock mount and pole following these directions (with a few modifications), and it works pretty well. Here's are the links.

strange m1nd
10-12-2005, 02:49 PM
Ok well I found this package for $170

Anyone ???

10-12-2005, 03:47 PM
I saw those when I was looking for a boom mic system. I think the pole and mount definitely look servicable (heck better than anything you make from scratch). I've never used that audio technica mic, but I was skeptical of getting a quality shotgun mic for under $100 (I don't think it has an XLR connecter, looks like a mini) . I also didn't like that the cable is permanently attached to the mic because if the cable goes bad, there goes your mic.

10-12-2005, 06:09 PM
I have that mic, and am impressed with the sound quality at that price point. It reviews favorably against other mic's at that price point (~US$50) as well. The stick and boom look good (I'm going to be making my own though as I don't have $100 to throw at a pole. It would be nice though to not have to make it.

strange m1nd
10-12-2005, 06:17 PM
If I get that package can I upgrade the mic in the future and still use that boom?

10-12-2005, 06:29 PM
I think it said it was a universal shock mount, you should be able to stick any boom mic in there.

strange m1nd
10-13-2005, 04:59 PM
ok... so what would a good software mixer be? anyone?

10-13-2005, 06:19 PM
In most typical shooting situations, I send the mics right into the camera (or through an analog mixer and then into the camera). If I have a sound person, they sometimes run a backup feed into a DAT or laptop. For field recording of audio only, I record into Audacity (sharware) on my iBook.

Basic post mixing I sometimes do right in my NLE. For most sound editing/processing I'll usually use SoundForge on my PC (about $300). I'd probably record into SoundForge if I could, but my HP laptop is as loud as an airplane.

strange m1nd
10-13-2005, 06:38 PM
well thanks alot for the information

for a short would plugging the mic right into the camera be suitable (instead of using a laptop/preamp/mixer)?

i have soundforge so I can edit on that, is it pretty easy to blend the sounds together to make it sound natural?

10-13-2005, 07:32 PM
Careful recording to the camera, you'll want to make sure you are on batteries, not plugged into the wall and if you have to cross power cables with your audio cables to cross them at 90 degrees to eliminate.

I do this and have to remove (inverse wave) a sound print of my camera (full spectrum hiss). I get the sound print by recording a minute of dead air to tape with no microphones connected at all.

Off Topic: If anyone knows why my XL1s is hissing, please PM me with a solution. Or if someone else has the same problem, maybe we could experiment to fix it.

10-15-2005, 09:32 PM
Here are pictures of my blimp: cost less than $10.

I just picked up an 12' aluminum painting boom pole for $15 at home depot. I will be removing the painting thread and adding a mic stand thread to it for connecting the blimp. a 25' extension for the mic cord and I'm good to go! I have a second 25' extension in case we need it. An adapter from mono to stereo as well. I'm also going to get a y-adapter and a second mic/boom setup so I can record two folks at once on the left and right tracks of my XL1s.

Boz Uriel
10-16-2005, 12:57 AM
I'm so sorry strange m1nd, I didn't keep up with this thread. My boom pole is exactly like knightly's. :D

My hiss went away as soon as I paid for the best mic cord I could find. 25' of it and I was warned NOT to hook two together. Sound loss and all that technical stuff I don't fully understand. Just an FYI.

10-16-2005, 11:30 AM
My hiss is from the camera and records with no sound input at all.

10-28-2005, 07:52 PM
Thanks for excellent information guys. Makes threads like these a real pleasure to read. :) Real information- yeah!

08-08-2006, 04:44 AM
Don't forget a compressor limiter. Utilize the proximity effect (get it CLOSE to the talent) for a BEEFY sound. This might require hiding the mic behind a prop or something. Put the mic too far from talent and you'll pick up too much noise. Sometimes lavaliers are just the way to go. Often inexperienced boom ops will handle the boom roughly. It doesn't take hardly anything at all to cause a rumbling sound. Don't forget the wind screen for exteriors.