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Recording Audio for Content Creation at Home

Recording Audio for Content Creation at Home

Written by William Algar-Chuklin

We’re all looking for new ways to create content during the lockdown, whether for work or for a personal project. If you’re looking to vlog or podcast, good voice audio capture may not have been something you’ve thought about. Today let’s explore two possible options and how it can help you on your next project!

What to look for:

  • A system that grows with you
  • A versatile option
  • Can capture audio to external recorder or straight to DSLR

I’m a photographer at heart, but with the recent lockdowns I’ve been exploring the possibility of making some killer video content at home. In my case, I have a lot of the equipment to get me started from my photography kit (DSLR, tripods, lenses, etc), but I needed to add to my kit with various pieces of videography equipment (Continuous light, USB capture card, Audio capture, etc). Wanting to get the ball rolling on the audio capture angle, I found the two most common options for capturing audio to your camera are the shotgun mic and the lavalier/lapel wireless system.

I opted to go for the quick and easy route of capturing audio directly into my camera, instead of having to capture audio to an external recorder and sync later in post production.

Shotgun Microphones

  • Great directional audio capture
  • Good for capturing different types of audio (environmental, voice, etc)

Shotgun mics are a great option for vlogging, and you’ll often see them mounted on a DSLR and provide great audio capture when used correctly. The main advantage to the shotgun mic is that it doesn’t intrude in on what you’re shooting. This can be especially useful for narrative driven video work where a microphone in shot can break a viewer’s immersion. The downside is that to get good audio from any microphone, not just shotguns, you need to get in CLOSE. This often means pairing a boom pole with a shotgun mic, and will likely require a dedicated operator.

Shotgun mics also have the added bonus in that they often require very little setup and plug directly into your camera/audio recorder.

Lavalier Microphones and Wireless Systems

  • Can place closer to subject for better audio capture
  • Perfect for capturing voice audio from moving subjects

Lavalier mics are great options for anyone wanting to vlog on the go and work amazing well with interview, or documentary video work. They’re small, easily hidden under clothes or in a subject’s hair, provide great audio capture because they’re nice and close to the subject, and allow your subject to move around without needing to adjust the position of a directional mic. They’re also great if you’re on your own trying to capture audio and video footage

A lavalier mic and wireless system generally comes with three distinct components. The lav mic, a wireless transmitter, and a wireless receiver. The lav mic is plugged directly into the transmitter, the transmitter is synced to the receiver, and the receiver relays the audio to your camera/audio recorder. Audio is captured easily and quickly to any source. One thing to note though, is that wireless systems require recharging, and the cheaper version can get audio interference.

Getting back to my particular situation, I decided a lav and wireless system made the most sense. It allowed me to capture voice audio as I recorded video from home, and would also grow with me as I started shooting video out on location.

Having a look around I decided I wanted a kit with a lot of included accessories. Looking through my available options, I found the awesome Azden PRO-XR wireless kit . It included a lav mic to go along with the wireless transmitter/receiver, which was really nice. The included omnidirectional mic was perfect for video work at home and on the go, and the other accessories also gave me the added option to use my phone for video and record audio directly onto the phone with the lav and wireless system. All in all a good purchase.

If you need more information on microphones and other camera accessories, check out more articles on the C.R. Kennedy blog.

William Algar-Chuklin is a night and travel photographer based in Sydney, Australia. You can check out some of his work at walgarch.com and on Flickr