Production Setup Improvements

In my recent batch of production, I decided to improve the audio capturing technique. As you can see in this photo, I have two microphones.

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The first one is a Rode VideoMic Pro, mounted on the camera; this is a directional “shotgun” mic, where it is most sensitive at picking up sounds in front of it. This reduces a lot of unwanted environmental sounds not seen by the camera. Basically with this, what the camera sees is what the sound captures, to put it crudely.

The second microphone I have is a Zoom Q3 audio recorder; it has a stereo mic, picking up a wider frontal angle. The relative noise level of this recorder is lower than that of the first mic + camera combination.

sdr

Previously, I just had the second microphone on the floor in front of the model. However, this time, I had a microphone stand with a boom arm. So I mounted it overhead the model instead, capturing speech and the action at a closer distance than I have ever done before.

The results were astonishingly good! Because the sound is captured at a much closer distance on a high quality microphone, I did not need to boost the signal as much in post-production, resulting in improved audio clarity, and less noise.

Example:

To sync the two microphones, I use a clapper board. A simple hand clap is sufficient of course, but a clapper board looks cooler.

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The next thing “new” was the camera. I bought a pre-owned Lumix GH3 camera. It has much more video options to choose from compared to the Lumix GH2 I had. In particular, it can do FullHD at 60fps using AVCHD codec at higher bit rates than the predecessor. But I usually go for the “cinematic” 24 fps look, and even then, it offers a higher bit rate. This translates to better image quality retained in video. I am happy with the upgrade.

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