How do you do sound recording with your videos?

MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
edited January 2013 in General Discussions
With the advent of the increased capabilities of the Nikon bodies to create high quality video images, the question comes up as to how to grab a sound track with equal quality. This is the place for folks who are willing, to share their experiences, good and not so good, recommendations, and then post on the Video thread the results. I think more and more the desire to acquire nearly professional quality videos will become met by the Nikon equipment. And the sound is a big part of the end product.

It is generally accepted one cannot have good quality sound coming through the in camera microphone. Simple physics tells us that the closer to the source, the better the sound. Think...ever tried to shoot a macro shot from across the room?

OK, folks, jump in....
Msmoto, mod

Comments

  • YetibuddhaYetibuddha Posts: 388Member
    I haven't done much, so I have used a simple lapel microphone.
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    I'd say "hands off" Nikon ME 1 - not worth the money. Micro's not amplified and they didn't shield it against camera / lens noises.

    I'm thinking about another micro, but am currently not doing much video. So, I will look in this thread again, if I'm ready for it.
  • cholsoncholson Posts: 17Member
    audio recording is a topic that can quickly become more involved than simply placing a microphone on your camera. in larger productions, there's a deadicated group of people that their only task is to record, enhance, and mix the audio. that said, most of us (including myself) are either shooting alone or with a very small team so i've kept the comments below assuming a quick and easy setup (all capable of a hot-shoe mount and don't require a lot of fuss)

    lapel mic
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/649983-REG/Sennheiser_EW112PG3_G_EW112_p_G3_Camera_Mount.html
    i had this set for a while and found the audio quality to be decent for a lapel mic. the advantages for a single shooter is that you can set this up with your talent and not need a second person running the boom. the dealbreaker for me was that it is sometimes a challenge hiding the mic (without muffling the sound or bunching up the shirt) and that i had a few takes where the clothing causing scratches in the audo (the mic was touching the clothing)

    hot-shoe mounted mic (stereo)
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/450170-REG/Rode_STEREO_VIDEOMIC_Stereo_VideoMic_Camera.html
    in my opinion, this mic is a lot of bang for the buck and allows me to mount to my camera rig and forget about it. i purchased it over the mono version because i wanted more ambience in the recording (wider stereo pattern). while it picks up plenty of room sounds, i've found the results to be very natural and pleasing, even for spoken audio. while not ideal for voiceover recording in a loud environment, it's a great mic for fill. and by moving the mic off of the talent, those that aren't normally used to wearing a lapel mic feel more comfortable (well, as much as they can with a camera right in their face!)

    hot-shoe mounted shotgun
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/746074-REG/Rode_NTG3_B_NTG_3_B_H_Signature_Series.html
    another great mic that has a lot of bang for the buck... this is a very high quality mic and has a great sound. sure, it's pricier than the budget mics, but it's still less than some of the lenses i purchase and in this case, you get what you pay for. the audio is amazing, has a very warm sound, and has very good off-axis cancelation (meaning, it only picks up audio where i point the mic). the only downside to this mic is that is requires external phantom power. if that's an issue, the rode NTG-2 is a great alternative

    a couple of misc notes:

    - post processing: don't forget that most productions do a lot more to the audio than just drop it into the video. there's normalizing, compression, noise reduction, EQ, and a ton of other fancy plug-ins these days. if you usually touch up your photos and color correct the video... then, don't skimp on the audio side. in my opinion, it's just as important as the visuals

    - windsock (aka dead kitten... i didn't make that name up): if you're shooting outside, it doesn't take much wind to mess up the audio. while a windsock will deaden the sound slightly, it's a much better alternative than unusable audio because the wind noise is too strong

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/470272-REG/Rode_DEAD_KITTEN_Dead_Kitten_WindMuff_for.html
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/573092-REG/Rode_WS7_WS7_Deluxe_Windshield_for.html
    http://www.redheadwindscreens.com/products/

    - audio recorders, like the popular zoom h4n, are decent recorders for the price, but with the better quality audio recording in the latest round of cameras, i don't feel it's necessary as it once was. that said, in-camera recording will never produce the higher quality audio you would get from a dedicated audio recorder, but that's another piece of equipment you have to setup and then remember to "start" during every take

    - audio monitoring: invest in a good pair of closed headphones and either use them during the recording or as a way to isolate the playback during review. there's nothing worse than going back to your studio and finding out that there's something in the recording you didn't catch in the field. listening to the audio using the camera's speakers is no different than trying to review a photo on the small screen on the back of the camera. something like this should be fine

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/559720-REG/AKG_2470_Z_00190_K_271_MK_II.html

    a few older projects i've worked on (just realized i haven't updated vimeo with any recent projects)


  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    edited January 2013
    These two are excellent examples of what I would call a professional soundtrack. Nicely synced, the right amount of echo, second soundtrack merged seamlessly, just nice.

    The money in the audio recording equipment will be similar to that in the image recording equipment.
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    I just recall a quote:

    You need a pen to write a book
    a brush to paint a painting
    and an army to make a film

    but not of who it is..
  • zernickezernicke Posts: 14Member
    I have had good success with the Sennheiser G3 series wireless with the mic upgraded, and covered with a small windscreen outdoors or hidden under some loose clothing. Be sure that the cord is looped correctly so as not to pick up noise from the mic cord rubbing with movement. There needs to be line of sight between the transmitter and receiver antennas. I have input this into the Nikon D4, use manual settings for audio to adjust levels, display the audio on screen, and monitor the audio with closed headphones. Be sure to find clear frequencies with a scan first and use fresh batteries. For indoors a boom mic works best but avoid a shotgun indoors and you need a mixer for the Nikon cameras since most professional mics need phantom power which the camera does not have. Unless you are very close, a mic on the camera is not a good solution. Mic close to the mouth is the most important thing for getting good sound.
  • RatatoskrRatatoskr Posts: 32Member
    cholson:
    Fantastic post, thank you so much.

    I haven't been looking around that seriously for mic's but have looked around some, and especially my bro. But the mic's he's bought were disappointing. Will by mic at some point but a lot of other stuff I have to save money for prior to that.
    Man's heart away from nature becomes hard. - Standing Bear
    It has yet to be proven that intelligence has any survival value. - Arthur C. Clarke
  • SymphoticSymphotic Posts: 639Member
    edited January 2013
    I just recall a quote:

    You need a pen to write a book
    a brush to paint a painting
    and an army to make a film

    but not of who it is..
    A wealthy army! I work with film makers and I'm sure their accountants buy stomach ulcer medicines by the case.
    Post edited by Symphotic on
    Jack Roberts
    "Discovery consists in seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what nobody else has thought"--Albert Szent-Gyorgy
  • MikeGunterMikeGunter Posts: 543Member
    Hi all,

    @Cholson, good post.

    As always, it depends on who you're doing this for. If it's for broadcast, you will need to monitor, and you will need a another hand helping, and likely need to have a separate recording device.

    What I recommend is two microphones, one on camera (if nothing more than for synchronization in post), and another on a boom that is monitored by the sound operator using a recorder (I have the Tascam 100 [for XLR inputs and Tascam 07[for general NAT sound]). Use some kind of clapper, even if it is just your hands in sight of the camera with a audible cue, for synchronization in post with scene identification. The camera audio will be a visual cue (in waveform) for cue-ing up in post with the video/audio tracks.

    It's extremely important in capturing audio to never exceed the maximum capability of the recording device, whatever that is, without reaching it's peak. The Tascam 100 has a peaking warning and most good recorders do. Of course, the catch is that once it lights up, you have hit the ceiling and it's too late. You must record under the peak, and that means setting your device for something under peak, usually -20dB of performance, fondly known as headroom, but that's huge conversation.

    Booms are also available at Adorama and B&H and aren't terribly expensive, and you'll need a good shock mount for your boom, too. The recorder can set on the boom or you can put a good quality shotgun such as a Audio Technica 897 or their 4073 (which is much better, and more pricey).

    Like hand grenades, microphones work on the principle of proximity. The closer the better. The sound engineer gets as close to the subject/talent as you can live with for the shot and the camera operator frames as best as possible keep the microphone out of the shot.

    If you can live with a lavalier mic, then it isn't a bad choice, but it has some problems, too. It's in the picture, it's limited to a 'zone' of one person and one area of that person, and if you have an 'area' for a group, you'll need to mic several people. Good lavaliers are more expensive than good shotguns. Lavs can be wired to a mixer to a recording device or wireless, but in the end, they are more expensive. As always, it depends.

    Fuzzy covering on the mics do cut down on wind noise and are generally called 'dead cats' on regularly sized microphones. I'm guessing the smaller sized microphone's fuzzy cover is a 'dead kitten'. ;-)

    Non linear editing (NLE) software really helps out. Adobe Premiere (CS6), Adobe Premiere Elements (10), Sony Vegas Pro, Vegas Studio, Final Cut Pro, Avid, and others will be useful in as much as you can master the tools they offer for sound editing. Learning NLEs is the same as learning Photoshop - the more time you put in it, the more you get out of it, and if you need to get something out of it, you'll put time in it. If not, it'll be a terrific waste of time. I teach Premiere Pro CS for money - it's a fairly difficult application. Thank God.

    Working with the various networks and cable channels is a challenge. The hardest used to be PBS. All their programming flows a rigid regimen of broadcast engineering standards that is somewhat Draconian. There are tools in the more sophisticated software that catch the errors, but you have to tell the applications what to watch when you're editing the show - that's for both the video (both stills and motion) and the audio (captured sound, music, and audio effects).

    Good luck, and my best,

    Mike
  • cholsoncholson Posts: 17Member
    in the sound engineering world, there's a know prinicpal called the proximity effect. performers use this all the time to their advantage... this extra warmth (bass) happens when the person gets close to the mic. i always tell a musician to "swallow the mic" and they still stand too far back :)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proximity_effect_(audio)

    the point is to get the mic as close as you can to your talent. the response, noise, isolation, and warmth of the sound are all effected by how close you can get the mic to the person or object you're recording. it just sounds better. so, make your job easier and move the mic as close as you can to the talent (a challenge when we don't want to see the mic on screen)

    @Msmoto: glad you liked the soundtracks... i wanted to make a quick point about the 2nd video. while the original soundtrack had all of music used for the winter watchman, i had to break it apart and really adjust the timing to get it to match the flow/feel of the video i wanted. and i think that's the point... video projects aren't just about recording footage, there's a lot more "thought" that needs to be put into the final output. on the first freestar video, i had to be creative and cut in some b-roll to hide my splices between different shots (while it appears like she did that in 1 take, it's actually picked from about 15 minutes of footage/interview)

    @JJ_SO: nice quote. i'm finding that even small productions are a lot more involved than it would appear. as photographers, we talk about wanting to tell a story in a single shot... it's even more so with video. lighting is another topic for a different disucussion! now, where can do i find that army?

    @MikeGunter: you mentioned recording at/near peak levels. i know that juicedlink has a preamp that has a creative take on this. they split the mic signal into left/right with the left at full volume and the right channel at -16db (as a backup in case the audio clips). i've played around with the idea of moving towards this setup instead of my zoom H4n (besides, this would be a much improved upgrade to the preamp)

    juicedlink preamp
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/857043-REG/juicedLink_RM333_RM333_Riggy_Micro_Low_Noise.html
  • MikeGunterMikeGunter Posts: 543Member
    Hi all,

    @Cholson The Juicedlink tutorials are all terrific and I have some of their products. They are all great.

    I sort of avoided the topic of headroom and peaking by saying never letting audio peak and record at -20dB; I copped out. There is just too much to recording audio to put into a few paragraphs. Headroom is a huge discussion and means different things things to different users. The -20dB intake for digital audio recordings is a 'safe bet', but isn't universally accepted. Keeping all audio under peaking is, however - that leaves no room for some types of post processing of audio which can be deadly, hence the caution.

    If you really want good video, get good audio. People will put up with bad and grainy video, but weak audio that is muted and inaudible will not be tolerated by the audience, or the buyers of video.

    Again, everything depends upon what your final project is destined to be, and how it is going to be captured.

    My best,

    Mike

  • rcgehrzmdrcgehrzmd Posts: 2Member
    I use both the D4 and D800E for video and have been very pleased with the results. I record the clean DHMI video output and camera audio using a ME-1 microphone to an external Ninja-2 recorder. For videos of musical performances, I always record 4 channel audio on an H4n recorder with 2 Sennheiser MKE400's connected to the XML inputs + the H4n's stereo microphones. I import the ProRes 422 audio video files and H4n audio files into FCP-X and synchronize the audio in FCP-X. In the past, I used an Olympus LS-11 audio recorder but switched to the H4n so that I could record 4 channel audio. Before FCP-X was released, I synched my external audio using Plural-Eyes; it is much simpler to do this in FCP-X.
  • mirtosmirtos Posts: 16Member
    I never use the on camera mic, and almost always use two different directional mics. One mounted to the camera and one on a boom. though lately ive been wanting a second boom as well. It almost ALWAYS is poor quality, and always picks up on the pressing of on camera buttons. I always use it via XLR. Sound is like light. You need to have an understanding of all the external elements going on. do i need a windshield? Or will a foam ball be good enough? What level should i set the inputs at? What are the acoustics of the room? whats the ambient noise about?

    My current Mic that i use (partially because of cost, but it is a good microphone for its cost) is the RODE NTG-1. It is a directional mic, and we have two of them. but even for a directional mic, it does pick up a good angle of sound.

    Because we edit in premiere, we do our sound editing in Adobe Soundbooth CS5.

  • mirtosmirtos Posts: 16Member
    OH and to Msmoto's point about money, i think that money in sound doesnt come anywhere near to the cost of money in video. UNLESS you need a sound editting board. Thats a different story.
  • mirtosmirtos Posts: 16Member
    I just recall a quote:

    You need a pen to write a book
    a brush to paint a painting
    and an army to make a film

    but not of who it is..
    Orson Welles
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    Thank you, mirtos! I wanted to write that first but felt uncertain about.
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