And while getting serious about the moving image it becomes clear that sound needs to become it’s own item.
Not only does it alow to mix the image seperate from ther sound track, the sound quality is so much better, due to much less and better compression on the audio recorders.
It really is a different Element, that needs serious consideration and equipment.
And with the input from my shoot as stiil photographer on the set of “Homework” i got a serious headstart into this not so new field (My dad was a sound engineer and is a huge Jazz collector, so i kind of grew up behind a mixing board).
Again a nice amount amount of reseach was helpfull (and online resources can point very much in the right direction, but real world feedback is still the best, so thank you, Pro-Sound New York).
I rented the Zoom h4n and the Sennheiser M66/K6, both great units, form them for a test. While i liked the mic, even that it was on the dry side (Think Zeiss lenses) i wasn’t in love with the recorder. The XLR plugs don’t have a secure lock and after researching a bit i came across the Tascam DR-100 which a lot of people like better.
I wanted to up the quality and got a Marantz PMD-661, upgraded by the Oade brothers with better components. That is twice the price of the others but the sound is fantastic.
We also got Rode NTG-2 mics for boom (to the PMD) and on camera with a XLR to
stereo plug. The reason for Rode, great reviews, “cheap” and Phantom and AA power.
We also got the Rode Stereo video mic for room sound, that i personally hate, the base level of the noise is too high (hissing, think grain). Also, forget the build in mics of the Canons, Marantz PMD or any other handheld recorder for anything but emergency backup. The noise of actually just holding the unit actually gets recorded, so put it on a stand and just turn it on if you have to.
Oh, another necessary thing is to get is a nice set of headphones, Sony MDR 7506 seems the standard on movie sets, and that’s what we use now.
Our whole kit, PMD-661 ($650), 2 Rode NTG-2 ($250 each), 1 Rode SVM ($250), 1 Sony headphones ($95) and a couple of cables, rechargeable AA batteries and SD cards (probably $150), total $1645 for audio (Lav mics, to pin on, we rent as needed).
Getting just a small recorder, like the Tascam DR-100 ($300) and Rode NTG-2 with headphones gets you in the door for around $750 (cables, SD and batteries).
As for top of the crop recorders there’s Sound Devices, but that’s a very different category.
If you’re in NY, talk to Pro Sound or Abel Cine, both great outfits with very deep knowledge, a movie background and equipment to demo and rent.
As for shooting, the best option is obviously to work with a pro sound guy, but in a pinch (and a doc we’re working on right now) we do it ourselves with great results, but it needs to be monitored all the time, juts like the camera…