1. Preproduction v
vp1-1. Five skills
vp1-3. Keeping track
vp1-4. First impression
vp1-5. Successful scouting
vp1-6. Words of wisdom
vp2-1. Five production skills
vp2-2. Pep talk
vp2-6. Words of wisdom
vp3-1. Five skills
vp3-3. Grading and graphics
vp3-6. Words of wisdom
Sound is crucial to making a good movie. But this added dimension is the most delicate and requires extra care. The right equipment can help.
What you will learn
We cover the main differences between microphones, including handheld, shotgun, lavaliere, and narration. We also cover the advantages of professional headphones, sound recorders, cables and wind filters.
The most important sound quality factor is microphone placement, not mic quality. Even the cheapest ones will deliver good results if you put them in the right place.
The easiest way to learn? Record the mic at different distances from the speaker. Listen to the results and select the best distance. It is as simple as that.
Remember, the priority is putting the microphone near the sound, not the camera.
The handheld microphone is the quickest and easiest to use. They are ideal for news reports when you’re in a rush.
Their only drawback is that they must be placed a few inches from the sound. So they can be very distracting since they’re always in the picture.
A ‘shotgun’ captures sound from a greater distance than all other microphones. Most movies are made with them. These lessons were recorded using a shotgun microphone.
Lavalieres, Transmitters, and Receivers
A ‘lavaliere’ is a tiny microphone you wear on your tie or lapel. It attaches to a ‘transmitter.’
The transmitter transmits the sound waves wirelessly to the ‘receiver.’ The ‘receiver’ receives the sound and passes it to the camera or a sound recorder.
The sound recorder is, of course, uploaded into the computer. This is a little test to show you the effectiveness of a good lavaliere.
I’m about 40-50 yards away from the sound recorder, but I might as well be 5 feet away.
Narration microphones have a very short range so that you won’t hear background sounds.
That’s why you never hear any distracting background noise on radio talk shows.
But you must speak close to the mic so it will always be in the shot.
Headphones are essential for monitoring sound in the field. Any headphones are better than nothing, but professional studio ones are the best. They make it easy to hear any problems. And there always are.
Sound recorders like the Zoom H4N capture sound much better than a camera or computer. They are indispensable for easy-to-use, easy-to-carry serious sound recording.
(handheld microphone - cable - recorder)
XLR cables connect a microphone directly to a sound recorder or camera. Cables don’t use batteries like wireless, and their signal is much stronger.
A wind filter filters out the wind, which can ruin your sound recording.
Sound is a key ingredient to all movies. After all, even silent films had music sound. The right equipment gives you more options to add sound to your movie-making.
NOTE: Microphones look durable, and some indeed are. However, you rely on them. Your project depends on them working. So professionals treat their microphones the way antique car owners treat their cars- very protected and with great respect.