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What You Need to Record Audio on Your Camera

Recording fantastic audio on your camera is easier than ever, and it can save you a lot of time. In this lesson, the first in this course, you'll find out what you need to get started.

What You Need to Get Started

External Microphone Inputs

The first thing you'll need is a camera that has an external microphone input. While there are other ways to record great audio for video, this course focuses on capturing great sound for your video by recording it directly to your camera.

To do this you'll need a camera that's capable of accepting a microphone input and a microphone. Now, that microphone input can come in a few different varieties and that's something we'll cover in a future lessons. The type of microphone you'll need depends on the type of input on your camera, the types of videos you want to produce and most importantly, your budget.


In this course we'll cover four types of microphones that work well for video production; Handheld, Shotgun, Lavalieres, and a basic Pencil Condenser microphone. 

It's a good idea to know how these types of microphones work. How do you use a handheld? In what situations will it work best? How does a shotgun mic work compared to a lav or pencil condenser and what do you need to make a shotgun microphone work properly? These are some of things we'll go over in the next several lessons.

Sound technician handling a transmitter for lavalier microphones, photo available from Envato Elements

Microphone Preamps

There's one more thing that I want to put on your radar that you may need and that is the use of an external microphone preamp. It's likely that you're using a DSLR or camera that's around that size. DSLRs, micro four-thirds and compact cameras can make great video cameras, but the standard 3.5mm microphone input and the onboard pre-amps are universally... not spectacular. It is possible to find a set that enables you to capture great audio for your video, but I want to plant the seed in case down the road you want to use more professional microphones: an external microphone preamp is likely something you need.


The last thing that you're going to need to get great on-camera audio is a set of of headphones. If you think about the picture side of things, your camera will have a monitor. it may be small, but you have one. That monitor is useful for you to be able to to evaluate the picture, to know if the colours are right, to check your exposure, pretty much to know what the image you're trying to capture looks like. Headphones are the audio equivalent to a monitor. Of course you can see a levels meter to see if you have sound but without headphones you can no way or knowing what the signal actually sounds like. Pretty much, headphones are an import necessity and we'll go further into detail in future lessons.

For now you are ready to move on to the next lesson in this course where we learn the basics of audio recording.

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