Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Sound Advice For Video
Improve audio dramatically on video-capable DSLRs with microphones
Audio can make or break a video, and it’s especially important for photographers who are using the more limited sound capabilities of a video-capable DSLR to understand audio and to know how to capture great sound. A dedicated audio interface with an XLR input is what video pros use to record top-level audio directly to video on a camcorder. DSLRs are designed to be palm-sized, however, and they lack these types of inputs, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to record good audio by attaching a mic directly to the 3.5mm stereo input (also known as a 1/8-inch mini-jack) that’s built in to most newer video-capable DSLRs.
The best way to avoid these technical shortfalls is to use external microphones. Though a few of the current video-capable DSLRs offer gain control, which boosts or reduces the level of sound coming in—some even include an automatic gain that can override the delicate audio being captured in some situations with superfluous noise—external microphones typically give you much more sophisticated options for working with incoming sound and volume. With an external mic, audio is much cleaner, and it’s also more likely to be free of the ambient noise of the camera since audio is coming from an external source designed to pick up sound from a specific area.
Thankfully, there are a variety of solutions that meet the specific needs of HD DSLRs, and here we look at a few of the most basic and common mic configurations. A few words of advice when making a selection: Check to make sure that your camera has a stereo input before purchasing a mic; not all of them do. Also be aware that longer onboard mics can protrude into the angle of view of a lens when using wide-angles, especially with fisheyes lenses.
The PRO 24-CM camcorder microphone from Audio-Technica includes paired cardioid elements in a basic X-Y configuration, which is angled at around 90º to each other for ideally capturing stereo sound in a two-mic setup. The PRO 24-CM mounts to the hot-shoe of the camera. It’s fairly lightweight at 3.9 ounces and includes a removable windscreen. Estimated Street Price: $69.
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