Some tips for good audio pickup

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    • #86582

      I was a sound engineer for several years when I was younger, in film times, and most people coming later on, in video era, were used mostly to pick the sound from the camera mic.

      Unfortunately, on 99% of the situations, that is the worst position for your mic.

      There are several aspects to consider in location audio recording. Some are considered more extensively in a tutorial I wrote many years ago:

      But I will try to sum up some tips of the most important points, which will help your editing later:

      1) Try to use at least two separate mics for every situation: a cardiod / hypoercardiod mic on a boom and a lapel mic close to the subjects, wired or wireless.

      2) While people are setting things up or rehearsing, set your audio levels for the most average framing situation your director will shoot at. If there will be close ups lately, DO NOT CORRECT THE LEVELS, just get closer with the microphone, particularly the boom mic. In that way you won’t have background noise differences during editing that audio. Of course this is only valid for each location. Readjust when you change locations. But you will find that what you are setting is the specific levels for the mics you’re using, so most of the times settings will be the same on most locations.

      3) Use good headphones to monitor your audio, with good levels and good isolation. This isolation is important for the audio you are picking and for the audio not bleeding out from the phones.

      4) The ideal thing on a two person dialog, one in front of the other, is o move the mic for every person speaking. Sometimes you can’t be that fast, so you can do two things: use two mics or go a bit higher with your mic. On the latter situation you should pick a cardiod mic, which is not so critical. Just go above the upper frame line, in the middle, and point it down.

      5) Listen, listen. listen and listen. Train your ear to pick small details, that will help you find the best position for your mic. Listen at how cardioids sound and how lapels sound. Personally I always prefer the former, and leave lapels just for specific situations or to add something you missed with your cardioid, usually because of limited situations. E.g.: a very wide shot, where you can get closer with a boom.

      6) After shooting, do not forget to record to record “ambiance silence”, one or two minutes of it. This should be done with all people inside if possible, in silence, because the acoustics sound was influenced with them inside.

      Good recordings!

      Carlos E. Martinez

    • #213101
      AvatarSpace Racer

      Awesome tips. Thanks

    • #215245

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    • #215560

      Great tips.
      Thank you carlmart

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