March 25, 2016 at 10:57AM

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How to record audio

Hi there,
I am a beginner filmmaker and i just bought a Rode NTG-2 and a Tascam DR-40 (version 2). Now my problem is, i don't know at all how to record audio. I don't know what audio levels I should choose for instance and basically i just don't know how i should use my recorder and mic together.
So, does somebody know how I could learn everything about recording audio? The instruction book doesn't really help me...
Thanks in advance!

8 Comments

Youtube is a wonderful resource for tutorials and how to's. I use the DR40 in the field all the time and it's a great piece of gear. One thing to remember, don't overdrive your levels. I like to keep mine topping out around -8 to -12. This gives me a solid signal to noise ratio and keeps me from distorting my audio.

I like to also run nat sound on my camera as well so that it makes it easier to sync up the audio in post. If you have the option, you can run a line out of the DR40 into your camera and have it be a redundant source.

Just make sure to preview your levels before you roll. Give yourself a good 3-4 seconds of pre-roll as well as letting it run a few seoconds after you cut. That way you have a solid edit point in post.

Hope that helps, and good luck.

March 25, 2016 at 11:26AM

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Jay Kilburn
Production Manager
196

thanks a lot!

Jonathan ten Broeke

March 26, 2016 at 7:50AM

Welcome to the wonderful world of sound recording!

I'm going to strongly recommend you start by watching this playlist over at RocketJump film school. The crew there have some great videos on the topic.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLw_JAmvzR_MCg1DPp2WmfgOAlOgThw5U4

You've also got the Basic Filmmaker channel, and this episode about audio:

https://youtu.be/o6YA8zKY4qQ

And then, you might want to head over to Simon Cade on the DSLR Guide. Here's one of his audio videos:

https://youtu.be/RkoTR7E1qN8

And after all that if you've still got questions, bring them back here and we'll fill in the gaps for you.

March 25, 2016 at 11:29AM

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Mike Racine
Filmmaker
352

Thank you! I will check out those videos :D

March 26, 2016 at 7:50AM

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Satire +1

March 27, 2016 at 1:49AM

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Get a decent pair of headphones and spend some time listening to what your mic 'hears' in different scenarios. Experiment with moving the mic around, listening in different rooms, etc.

It's tempting to rely on visual audio levels, but make sure you monitor sound whenever you're recording and listen for any issues.

A very general rule would be to get the mic as close as possible to the sound source - eg. the voice. The input level can't always tell you how much 'useful' sound you're recording compared to ambient noises.

March 27, 2016 at 4:27PM

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Couple of thing that weren't mentioned by others:

1) I thing that learning the basic of sound is extremely important for a filmmaker but in the and the best choice is working with a sound person. One person simply cannot master everything.

2) One thing that is omitted in almost all "Audio 101" videos is portable field mixer. This one piece of gear is central to every professional sound bag and quality of its preamps, limiters etc. shapes the overall quality of your sound.

Good starting point for understanding the role of field mixer would be: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/find/newsLetter/PortableFieldMixers.jsp

3) There is this popular misconception that shotgun mics are the best mics for recording film audio. While it is true for outdoor field recording, in indoor situation shotguns are rarely used because they tend to pick up some sound from behind (which is risky situation in terms of room echo). On almost all productions indoor dialogue is picked up with supercardioid and hipercardioid pattern microphones. Fully understanding the concept of microphone pickup patterns is another essential thing to comprehend.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/audio/hands-review/interior-dialog-b...
http://pixel.nymag.com/imgs/daily/vulture/2014/03/05/05-house-of-cards-s...

I hope some of the points I make can help you.

March 28, 2016 at 6:19PM

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Hey Filip,

I totally agree with your first and second point, but I have just one little correction for you:

Cardioid microphones have the best rear-rejection
Supercardioid microphones have decent side rejection, but a small sensitivity behind
Hypercardioid microphones have excellent side rejection, but a large pickup node directly behind the microphone.

From our good friends at Shure: http://blog.shure.com/multi-pattern-microphones-what-where-and-how/

The reason that I like using super/hyper cardioid mics on set, is that most of the ambient noise/crew are directly to the sides of the mic, and thus in those rejection areas.

Mike Racine

April 1, 2016 at 1:54PM

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