Photographers and Video

I’ve been reading a lot of the still photography forums over the past few weeks and I’ve seen a lot of questions about capturing sound with the hybrid HDSLR’s.  I’ve also seen some misleading information so I’ve decided to take a few minutes to clear up some misconceptions.

First – Audio is everything in video.  People can tolerate a mediocre image but if they can’t understand or hear the audio – they won’t watch.  See for yourself – turn the sound down on your TV and see how long you stay interested in the program – even if the image is stunning.

Second – You have many options of capturing audio with the HDSLR’s depending on what you are shooting.  I think many still photographers assume everyone is going to be shooting “indie films” with crews.  One of the things I find appealing about some of the new technology is that you don’t necessarily need a large crew and a Hollywood budget.  And sometimes, if discretion is in order, you’re better off with a small crew.  With that said – you should know how to capture good audio.

Third – NEVER use the camera to capture audio – it just isn’t good enough.  And I would probably say that you shouldn’t plug an external mic into the camera via the mini plug.  I don’t think the audio quality is good enough, especially for an interview.

Fourth – Either use a pre-amp with XLR inputs like a Beachtek or JuicedLink and an external microphone.  Make sure you get the mic close to the audio you want to capture.  And most importantly monitor the audio through a good set of headphones.

– Capture your audio independently with a good quality digital recorder like the Samson H4n Zoom and sync it later in post.  Syncing sound in post is a snap with a great software application called Plural Eyes.

Lastly – Audio is everything!  And remember as you add video to your skill set, you’ll be using your ears as much as your eyes.

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