Canon Digital Feature Film Making, Sound
Quality sound on a low budget film is the thing that is most overlooked and it is the thing that is most likely to indicate to the viewer where you are an amateur or a professional filmmaker.
It is a interesting thing to believe that your audience will forgive bad lighting much sooner than they will ever forgive poor sound quality. You are a pro now and you are going to have to learn about sound as you have about lighting. Depending upon your shoot it will not be that difficult. Let’s look at the basics.
Both camcorders and DSLR have built in microphones. What I strongly suggest is that you forget about them. The camcorder mics are barely usable and the DSLR microphones are junk.
You are going to be buying audio equipment. Here are the two basic microphones you will be looking at. The Audio-Technica ATR-6550 Video Camera Condenser Shotgun Microphone. A nice little microphone that can be plugged directly into most pro-sumer quality camcorders. It retails online in the fifty dollar range. You can then attach it with a mount to the top of the camcorder or fit it to a boom pole.
If you are using a DSLR then I would suggest a Rode microphone. There are a number to choose between and I suggest you do your research before selecting the best one for your needs. This microphone will mount nicely on a DSLR as well as use with a boom pole. The problem here is that you will still be recording sound in camera. I could live with this as far as the camcorders go, but not in the DSLR cameras. You will be needing a separate recording device.
As far as the separate recording devices go I have two basic options for you to look at as a low budget film maker. Both of the microphones that we have talked about can be connected into a Zoom H1 audio recorder. This is a nice little piece of equipment which retails for around one hundred dollars. It will give you a good quality sound recording on a low budget. If you have more money upgrade to the Zoom H4.
To step up in price and quality I would personally suggest spending the two to four hundred dollars that it will cost to get a JuicedLink DT454 DSLR Audio Solution. The term audio solution is perfect for this piece of equipment. Combine this with your DSLR and a quality microphone and your audio problems will be a thing of the past.
This post has been just the beginning of our talk about audio. We will be re-visiting this subject soon. There are many more devices to use with both the DSLR cameras and the camcorders, but I thought that I would give you a quick start here.
Now I will include videos on the subject to show rather than tell.