October 10, 2014 at 2:51AM


Can Zoom H4N mange without a Shotgun mic for conversations. ?

Well , I have a short film to shoot this week. I wanna try sync sound and It's a no budget so all I have is a Zoom H4N for rent but no Shotgun mic. . I'm not expecting too much I can afford to spend time on post though . Will it be enough for a decent sound ,like for just conversations of 3 feet distance from actors ?


I’ll start by saying I don’t yet know a ton about sound, but I also own an H4n and don’t yet own any mics to plug into it, so have some experience with this question.

I would say it depends entirely on your environment. If you know you’re going to be in a quiet environment with control over the amount of ambient noise, you can pull it off. If you’re going to be in environments with a fair amount of ambient noise, you can still pull it off, but your dialogue is not going to sound very professional (see example vid below).

I recently used only an H4n to capture dialog where there is quite a bit of ambient noise, similar to you I had no budget, and even if I wanted to rent a mic there aren’t many options for that in the middle of Africa: https://vimeo.com/105483458

I just finished another video where I again used only the H4n to capture dialog for an interview, but this time in a quieter room. There was still some ambient noise of kids playing outside, but I actually kind of wanted a bit of that in the interview so I didn’t mind. I think it turned out quite well and I’m fairly happy with how it turned out.

Also, just in case you didn’t already know this, if you’re syncing sound in post and you don’t have FCPX or Plural Eyes, be sure to get the actors to clap at the beginning of each take so you have something easy to use to line up the sound with the video.

October 11, 2014 at 5:16AM

Ryan Toyota
Graphic Designer / Typographer / Video Editor

For best record, the ideal is RODE NTG-3.

October 11, 2014 at 2:24PM

Ragüel Cremades
Film producer and director

It's almost always easier to come up with more gear than it is to fix bad sound.

October 12, 2014 at 8:23AM

Zan Shin

If all you have is a Zoom H4n, then I would boom the H4n and make sure you have some sort of shockmount rig to isolate the H4n from any vibrations the boom may pass to the recorder.

October 12, 2014 at 4:19PM

Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

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