Audio upgrade

Audio, turns out that's a big one!

I mean I did know that it was important and I also knew that the in-camera stuff wasn't the best kind.

I mentioned in my last post that I was looking to improve on a few bits from the quick and dirty ice breaker video I produced for my brother and so, this post is going to look at my options for improving my sound quality for video.

Now, I have a few options and combinations that I think will do me well and it all depends on cost really.

Option one, I can run a nice shotgun mic directly into my 5D mkii, something like a rode videomic pro or videomic go. Now both of these are great microphones but the problem is the canon 5D mkii does not have the option to run a line out to monitor the audio through headphones and that means potential for clipping and peaking all over the place, not good!

So the second option is to use an external recorder like the zoom H1 or H4n again both great external devices with lots of great features such as built in stereo microphones and options to run various line in and external microphones (more so on the H4n) and of course, the all important audio out for monitoring through headphones.

These devices also allow cool setup options like running a line from the recorder back to the cameras mic input so that you have a scrub track on the cameras storage media to help sync up the external audio later on in post, this also means you have an audio backup of sorts as well, bonus!

So, option 3. Running the rode microphones into the camera is better than the inbuilt camera microphone but, the preamp and audio processing in camera isn't great along with the obvious problem of no monitoring, so really you would lean towards an external source with a purpose built field recorder like the zooms, but, both the H1 and H4n have a 3.5mm mini jack microphone input the same as your camera, see where this is going?, meaning you can run a brilliant rode external shotgun microphone into a brilliant field recorder preamp and have even better sound than option one or two with a combined solution!

So in conclusion, my plan is to run a rode videomic go through a zoom H4n recorder with the line out running into the camera for a scrub track and a second line out to monitor my audio through headphones.

I have picked the videomic go over the pro primarily due to cost, both mica are fundamentally the same apart from the pro being active, this just means it has a boated signal powered by a 9volt battery. This boost can be helpful when running directly into camera to help combat noise and crackle from the cameras preamp by turning down the in camera audio level and then boosting the microphone gain.

However, as I am going to be running this through an external source anyway that doesn't really matter as I can control a lot of that on the zoom. But the video mic go does not need a battery and for that convenience alone, not carrying MORE batteries, I am going for the Rode Videomic go.

And, although the H1 is cheaper and could 100% do the job, I am opting for the H4n for a couple of reasons. The main reason being that this device has 2 XLR / jack inputs on the bottom so you can run a couple of line-ins or microphones into the one device, this would be handy for say a wedding speech where I could run a wireless lav microphone on the speaker as well as another microphone for ambience or, like the video of my brother run a dedicated vocal mic and also a line in from his amp which would have drastically improved the quality of the sound.

Right, the next step is to get the gear ordered and then I will use it and hopefully my, essentially educated guess work, will pay off!