View Full Version : recording sound

05-25-2005, 01:23 PM
I have been reading about sound recording and some say that using a DAT recorder is the best way to go. Is this true and if so does anyone know of any moderatley priced DAT recorders to use. Thanks.

05-25-2005, 04:32 PM
It really depends. If you're shooting film, then yes, you should use a DAT. If you're shooting video, you can either record DAT or plug the audio directly into the camera (although I recommend running it through a mixer first).

05-25-2005, 06:25 PM
Mini disc works pretty well too, from what I've heard.

Will Vincent
05-25-2005, 08:35 PM
Minidisc recorders and media are typically cheaper than DAT too, and the difference in quality is negligable (at least to 99.99% of peoples ears)

05-25-2005, 08:45 PM
I have yet to see a minidisc recorder with an xlr jack, though, to take a fancy mic. (Well, in the "cheap" department anyway)

I've been renting a neat package recently (Sennheiser mic, boom & realtime CD-burning deck-type-thing). I can never remember the brandname (starts with a "C"). The only bad thing about it is that it cannot run on battery packs.

(The other bad thing is that my sound always sucks, no matter what I do)

05-26-2005, 05:32 AM
I've heard alot of talk about how great minidisc recorders are but i need to set some facts straight. What sort of mics can you use? Zen mentioned above that there are no "cheap" minidisc recorders with xlr jacks so i'm wondering whether its worth recording to minidisc or straight to the camera with the decent xlr mics. Are there any external xlr jacks you can attatch to record with decent mics?

05-26-2005, 10:58 AM
Beeblebrox is right (de ja vu) Dat is the way to go, if you can afford it. The problem with mini disc is that it puts a degree of compression onto the sound which doesn't really show up until a film hits a serious sound system.

If you think there is any possibility at all that your film/video will ever be shown in a cinema that compression will become significant.

The other bad thing is that my sound always sucks, no matter what I do

Zen, bad sound is one of the most common problems for indie films. It's actually much harder to get right than the pictures. What do you think is going wrong?

05-26-2005, 11:25 AM
Zen mentioned above that there are no "cheap" minidisc recorders with xlr jacks so i'm wondering whether its worth recording to minidisc or straight to the camera with the decent xlr mics.

Between the two, I would opt for going through a mixer and then straight into the camera (I assume you're shooting on video). Not only will your sound be just as good, it's one less box to lug around, and it'll save you the trouble of syncing sound later on.

05-27-2005, 08:33 AM
So what you are saying is that I can get a mixer plug a mic into it and then run the mixer into my digital camcorder? I am using a Sony DCR-TRV22. I realize this is not the most professional way to go but I am just getting started and have extremely low budget.

05-27-2005, 11:33 AM
Yes, provided you have XLR inputs on your camcorder. There are adapters that will mate an XLR with a mini jack found on most camcorders, but that's less than ideal.

05-27-2005, 07:28 PM
What do you think is going wrong?

I'm just cursed. :(

I fully expect a team of construction workers with jackhammers to coincidentally show up wherever I shoot next.

C'est la vie.

05-27-2005, 11:51 PM
For the upcoming 48hr film festival, if we enter in time, we're gonna be using a boom straight to a laptop with protools. I'll let you know how it works out!

Will Vincent
05-28-2005, 09:14 AM
For my current project we've just been running the boom mic straight into the DVX, which is working OK for the most part... but I think recording the sound to a seperate unit would be better.. UNLESS you're running through a mixer first so that the levels coming into the camera are a consistent level. Having the camera-op watch sound levels and composition is asking a lot, and compromising the quality (to a certain extent) of both. But.. for the most part we're getting decent audio this way.

06-12-2005, 09:56 AM
What about just running a boom to the xlr ins on the camera just for "on set" sound, then doing all real sound in post using pro tools? This is what I plan to do. It's probably not the best way to go, but I have a Pro Tools LE setup with 10 xlr ins and 32 tracks possible. I've been doing pro tools for years now, and can navigate it really well.

This way, with only a boom mic and one cable connected to the camera, I can move without having to worry about someone dragging equipment around. Again, not the most ideal, but we deal with what we have. :)

I also plan to do all my music and composing in PT since I've been a musician for 16 years and PT really lets you work and make magic happen.

Loud Orange Cat
06-12-2005, 10:57 AM
In post production, what kind of filter needs to be applied to an audio track to remove background hiss and echo?

I've added hipass and lowpass filters to get rid of some unwanted sound, but I still can't get rid of that pesky background hiss.

Thanks in advance.

06-12-2005, 11:18 AM
In post production, what kind of filter needs to be applied to an audio track to remove background hiss and echo?

I've added hipass and lowpass filters to get rid of some unwanted sound, but I still can't get rid of that pesky background hiss.

Thanks in advance.

If you can get the frequency, you could probably eq it out.

06-13-2005, 12:07 PM
I have been looking on ebay at either DAT recorders or minidisc recorders and it looks like they are a little too expensive right now. I do plan to get one for future projects. For this one I am either going to run the mike straight into the camera or run it into a mixer first. I saw one at Radio Shack for about $30.00. I don't know how much it can do other than control the volume but I will try it and let you know how it goes.

07-09-2005, 10:09 PM
I had a question along these lines...I'm shooting with a Canon XL1, and I'm wondering what I can use as far as radio mics go. Sometimes the sound turns out poorly using a boom mic and I'm wondering what other options I have. thanks, everybody.


07-10-2005, 03:15 AM
Sometimes the sound turns out poorly using a boom mic

This is a problem with the mic (unless you're using a bad cheap mic), but is more likely to be a technique problem. There is no reason at all why you shouldn't be able to get perfect sound recording with a boom mic.

Chances are that you're dealing with one of two problems

1) The mic isn't close enough to the sound source
2) The mic isn't pointing directly at the sound source

The easist way to solve this problem is to hire a good sound person on your next shot. Cheaper than new radio mics, which would need a good sound person to mix them anyway.

07-10-2005, 04:24 AM
Thought I would share this little technique we used a few days ago quite by accident. A friend of mine did some local interviews here with his Canon Optura. He recorded sound on picture with the onboard mike but he also wanted a separate recording of sound.

I had recently experimented with an Olympus 120 minute digital recorder I bought at Sam's Club for less than $20. It's a simple little digital recorder, smaller than the size of a cellphone.

Anyway, you can actually plug an external mic into these things or use the built-in mic. The built-in mic is fine for making notes while you drive or for recording a class but not really good enough for crisp, clear sound.

So one day I took my Canon BM-70 boom mic that I normally use with my 1014-XLS and plugged it into the Olympus digital recorder and tried it out.

All I can say is WOW! Unbelievable sound quality and what's really nice about this little recorder is that it comes with a USB cable and software to transfer your recordings onto your computer.

So my buddy went out and bought one just like mine except with twice the recording time i.e., 240 minutes. I attached my BM-70 to a microphone stand and fed it into his new 240 minute Olympus digital recorder.

*NOTE: Sam's Club was out of the 120 minute digital recorders so he bought his at Best Buy I believe... For around $50.

We recorded all the interviews with this little piece of equipment and it performed really well and I highly recommend it for a quick fix if you're in need of one. Everything stayed in sync really well from what he tells me.

I won't recommend this to anyone shooting a feature of course but it might just be a cheap efficient way to record on location sound for a short, interviews, etc. IF you don't have the money for a DAT right now. You will have to experiment with the volume dial a bit to get what you need but it works in a pinch. I've bought several Canon BM-70 microphones off eBay for less than $10. Every one has worked perfectly.

Again, not recommended for professional sound...


Boz Uriel
09-08-2005, 01:36 PM
So Spatula, how'd it turn out?

I've often thought about a boom mic right into my laptop for location shots. Then I thought, as long as I'm doing it on location wouldn't I want consistant sound so just use the same set up where ever and what ever I shoot. It would work just like the inexpensive digital recorders like Filmy suggested only there's no mixer.

Is there a software you can run on your laptop that will mix/level the sound to give you that wonderful consistant sound recording on multiple locations, both in and outdoor? Or is this the 'Protools' you've mentioned so far?

09-09-2005, 01:18 AM
Protools is the ultimate audio software and harware from what I believe although i've never used it. I'm sure protools would work as a mixer. From the general opinion, it seems that a mixer is the way to go. Does anyone know of any good, reasonably cheap mixers? Is it the kind of thing you could get away with a cheap one or is it best to buy the best you could afford?

09-09-2005, 02:25 AM
Sorry Boz, forgot to tell everyone how it went.

It was great. Kevin, our sound guy, used protools to mix, and we plugged straight into the laptop. The sound was great, and he could even plug his head phones into a jack to get great feedback. It was really quick too! He had a fancy Mac with a great battery life, so he could just make a session and put the computer on standby. He flicks it open and it's instantly ready. Very reliable.
For indoors, we'd plug it in and it'd charge... we even used it as a prop in the bar scene, as the bartender's computer in the wide shot. For an outdoor scene, Kevin ran the laptop on battery and kept it close. There were some sequences where Jenn had to hold the laptop and travel with Kevin. All in all, it went very smoothly.

I highly recommend it. Try and hire a sound guy who has protools, a laptop, and preferably an assortment of mics.
Kevin did the synching as well, plus the final mixing. I think on most indie shoots, having the boom guy be the sound editor works really well. Sound guys are always pretty cool.... a little wired at times, but in a good way nontheless.

Boz Uriel
09-09-2005, 10:11 AM
Hire? Interesting word, what does it mean?

Thanks for the nfo on that Spatula, I'm gonna try it this weekend.

09-09-2005, 10:12 AM
was the plugged into xl1s problem a hissing across the spectrum? I have my camera recording noise that is unrelated to microphone or cabling or motor noise as it records with all audio disconnected. I can provide a sample if someone will tell me how to eliminate it (not in post-I know how to do that).