Skip to main content

photo & video

Fundamentals of DSLR Filmmaking

Lesson 19 of 39

Picking the Right Microphone

Victor Ha

Fundamentals of DSLR Filmmaking

Victor Ha

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2000+ more >

Lesson Info

19. Picking the Right Microphone

Lesson Info

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. Okay, thanks. 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... Frame rate. 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. Sorry. 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.

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.

If you own a DSLR camera, you already own a powerful filmmaking tool. Ready to learn how to use it? Join CreativeLive and Victor Ha for a course that will cover the core principles of capturing video with your DSLR.

Through hands-on demos - including how to create compelling video interviews - Victor will guide you through the core techniques of DSLR filmmaking. You’ll learn how to apply the compositional skills of still photography to taking video. You’ll also learn about how to navigate the video-capturing features of your DSLR, choose the right gear for your filmmaking needs, and incorporate audio into your shoots. From framing shots to producing simple projects to spatial relationships, the skills you gain in this course will leave you ready and inspired to create high-quality, engaging film projects.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Victors White Board Notes - High Resolution

Pre-Production Planner


Gear Guide

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


Victor van Dijk

This course was quite a treat! I had been learning piecemeal about DSLR Filmmaking but never had the opportunity to follow a course that ties it all together. And my namesake Victor is ex-cel-lent!!! Fundamentals of DSLR Filmmaking is a very very clear (I would almost say, lucid!), carefully, comprehensively tied together course teaching all you need and wanted to know about DSLR Filmmaking. Massive PLUS is that the course is first and before all NOT about the nitty-gritty technical details and numbers, but all about the basics of what filmmaking REALLY is all about. And yes, technique and gear are part of that but not for their own sake. And Victor shares that it's all about fun, and telling your story your way in the way that you like. I truly admire Victor's carefully planned and laid out path, in my opinion he planned the course exactly and meticulously like he would a full-blown movie production. And he is very open and honest and not belittling at all. He is really passionate, compassionate and 'infectious' with his happy happy mood :-)! I HIGHLY recommend this course for anyone wanting to properly and thoroughly learn the ins and outs of filmmaking, with a strong focus on using a DSLR.

Penny Foster

This is a very well constructed course by Victor Ha, who is very easy to watch, and very knowledgeable about using the DSLR for more than just taking pictures. For a Wedding Photographer like me, who wants to add some moving images into a slideshow for my client, this course was perfect. Victor shows us that, with the equipment you already own as a working professional photographer, you can get started into video RIGHT NOW, with baby steps. This is not a course on video editing, so if you need that tuition look elsewhere, BUT, Victor shows us how to set our cameras up for success right from the start, so that when we are at the editing stage, the footage is in the perfect state possible to produce excellently exposed, perfectly colour balanced material. He goes over the use of a light meter for capturing video, and how essential it is to get the exposure right 'in camera', so this is certainly a Fundamental DSLR Filmmaking course, for anyone who is already using their DSLR for stills, but who is interested in adding something else to their skill set. Victor is so enthusiastic in his teaching style, and this is a course I will keep coming back to time after time.

Sara safajar

Excellent overview on how to think as a storyteller with DSLR video. Great breakdown and really accessible examples- fun video on the making of a peanut butter sandwich- which inspire and make it feel like the video beast can be conquered. This course is packed with great ideas on not only figuring out to how to make the switch from still to motion, but also creative inspiration on how to begin thinking cinematically. Well worth the price. Great course!