Picking the Right Microphone
So how do you know when you're picking the right microphone, because, I mean, we don't have experience. If we start doing, okay the funny thing is if we start capturing sound today on day one, you're already like years behind other people because other people have been doing it for their lifetime, right? So just accept the fact that you know less and when it comes to picking a microphone, the number one thing that you're gonna wanna make sure is make sure it sounds good to you, okay? Make sure it sounds good to you. Every microphone has a personality. Every microphone has a response. Every microphone has a different way it picks up sound. It's just the way of things. So when you pick a microphone, make sure it just sounds good to you. You wanna listen to it, okay? Spend some time, record some sound, listen to the audio. Next thing is, I really believe it's not about how much money you spend. If you do good, if you have good sound capturing technique, good sound capturing technique, you...
can mitigate a less expensive microphone. Now there will be a time, when you're gonna need to step up your game, okay? But we're starting here, alright? When I first started I bought a really, really cheap tripod. And I was okay with it. Bought a really cheap tripod and I used the heck out of it. Used the heck out of that thing. I wasn't embarrassed, because you know what? I was watching the guy trying to do night photography without a tripod and I was laughing at him, because I had a tripod, right? It doesn't matter if the guy next to you isn't using the tool, if you're using it. I don't want you to have to get caught up in this, like, oh well, you know, expen- Get the tool that'll work, okay? Now, pick the right microphone for the situation with which you'll be recording. Omnidirectional, directional, okay? Event, omnidirectional. Interview, directional. Interview of two people, omnidirectional. See that? Exactly the same way as we think of medium wide, wide, close up. Don't want us to be afraid of audio and sound, I want us to love it. And accept it as part of this production process that we're all a part of. Okay, so we're talking about, now, microphone accessories. So, you'll see things like boompoles and shockmounts and blimps and windshields. Okay now windshields, if you're gonna be outside, are important. I have a demo for you, in a second. Shockmounts and blimps and boompoles? Those are niceties, okay? If you're outside, you're gonna need a blimp. If you're outside, you're gonna need a shockmount. Boompoles, you can either go one way or the other, it depends if you're gonna have a sound operator, you know, typically, that can be something you can sidestep. So this next little video, okay, here we go. I want you to listen to it, alright? (cars zooming) I'll play it one more time, I want you to listen for the wind noise. And then I want you to listen for it disappear when I put the windsock back on it. These things exist for a reason. They're really, really cool. And you can actually do it and test it at home and it's kind of funny, like they have really funny names for them like dead cats and dead kittens. Again, cat references, I love them. Alright? So moving on to sound recorders. So initially, initially I was using a separate recorder into what I call a two channel field mixer. A two channel field mixer. So that required for me to carry two devices to record one product or one subject. I have this now which is what I use consistently. It's a two channel field mixer and recorder. Okay? Two channel field mixer and recorder. Now, this will record four tracks, though. There's two channels, four tracks, because each channel has a left and a right, okay? Now, in this here... actually, I'm so sorry. Let me back it up, rewind. It's a four channel, four track because it's got one and two channels, which are mono, and a channel three and four which is stereo. I'm sorry, my brain was somewhere else right now. So we have left, channel one, two is right channel, and then three and four is my stereo. So when we're using this guy, these knobs are click-less. Because if I'm recording sound live, it's gonna give me an opportunity to adjust my levels on the fly, on the fly and not have to worry about making any extra noise, okay? The reason I like this guy so much is it eliminates a piece of gear for me. It just completely eliminates an entire piece of gear that I have to manage and worry about levels in my audio chain. Because at this point, I only have to worry about camera levels at negative 12 for my reference sound and I've gotta worry about the levels on this guy at negative 12.
It's battery operated?
It's battery operated, okay? So you open up the back, okay? Open up the back, it's four double A batteries, alright? And then you look at the side, here and that's where this SD card goes.
Why wouldn't you want to use stereo, why would you only want to use one?
Okay so the question is why would I not use stereo and why would I only use mono? Microphones, by nature, unless they are stereo are mono. So every microphone that I've showed you up to this point has been mono.
Now, before I kind of continue on, how are we doing guys?
So that box you just showed us, does that plug directly into the camera as well and record sound into the camera?
So you can do that, okay? So what you're doing is actually kind of advanced. So the question was, this box. Can I plug this box and run a feed into my camera? Yes, you can. We call that redundancy. So if I record here, I can record production sound here, and if I run a feed from here to my camera, that feed to my camera is actually the mix, it's the mixdown, right? And that mixdown goes straight into my camera and that creates redundancy, so if something happens to this recorder file, at least I've got it in the camera file, right? But, however, there's a difference in quality between the camera and between the recorder. You're gonna get a higher level of fidelity out of the recorder than you would the camera, okay? Now, when it comes to the recorder settings, this is what you should set them to. This is a universal, universal. Space is cheap, record in WAV. Change your recorder to 44kHz per second and make sure that your mic power is turned on. Okay? So for example, this guy has the built-in, what we would call a built-in preamp. And when you plug microphones into mixers and recorders, you have a choice between what's called line level and mic level, okay? Line level is if I was gonna take something from my computer and run it into a board. That has a different decibel level than microphones. Okay, so you've got to make sure you change the recorders to actually be able to receive sound from the microphone. The next thing is, most recorders are defaulted at 44.1 kHz. 44.1. We need to change it to 48, so that one second of recording sound is one second of video, okay? And if you're recording multiple recorders, you're using multiple recorders, you have to make sure they're both at 48kHz, otherwise you're gonna get a dropped frame and it's gonna sound like an echo. Okay? Question?
That sounded very technical. I want to back up because I think it went over my head a little bit. The 48k is to match it to the...
The one second to one second. Okay, I get it.
Is that different than the 44Hz?
No, no, no. So let's run this all over again.
No, it's okay, it's okay. This is totally good, start over from the top. We want to record WAV 16-bit. Get a bit card, WAV 16-bit, it's not gonna be a lot of space. You wanna change your recorder to 44 kHz per second because if you do that, one second of recorded sound will be one second of recorded video and it'll sync more easily. And make sure your mic power is turned on so that you're recorder knows to receive the proper level and can set itself to receive the proper levels from your microphone, okay? Three easy things, and if you do those three easy things, you're gonna just immediately improve the quality of your sound capture.