3.2 Talent Audio
Audio is almost more important than video in an instructional video, so it needs to be right. In this lesson you will learn how to mic your talent with a lav and a shotgun mic.
1.Introduction2 lessons, 07:27
2.Pre-Production5 lessons, 24:38
3.Production3 lessons, 20:08
4.The Shoot3 lessons, 31:16
5.Conclusion1 lesson, 02:17
3.2 Talent Audio
Audio is a very important part of any instructional video, so it needs to be right. In this lesson, you will learn how to approach micing your talent with a lav and a shotgun mic. For this production, I setup my main microphone on a C-stand with a boom pole holder and a boom pole. The mic was pointed down and towards Sheryl's mouth. I tried to get the mic as close as I could while keeping it out of the camera's frame on the wide shot. I used a Sennheiser K6ME66 shotgun microphone, which has a very high sensitivity, and a really nice sound. I connected this mic to the XRL input of my Canon C100 and set the level appropriately. I set the second channel of audio to one of the cameras internal microphones located on the top handle so that I could capture what was going on in the room. I won't use the camera's microphone in the edit but sometimes it's nice to have so I can hear what's being said off camera. Like I mentioned before, I do like the sound of my shotgun microphone but because I didn't have a boom pole operator, I wanted a backup system. What I ended up using was a little lav mic and my iPhone as a recorder. This lav mic something that I made from a small condenser mic capsule, wire, and a TRRS connector. You can see how to make one for yourself in a course that I created called Photo and Video Gear Hacks, and that's available on touchplus.com. The app that I use to record is called Rode Rec, also made by Rode, and that's available for iPhone only. The DIY mic and iPhone combo works pretty well, and offers me flexibility in recording, as the talent is not hindered by a wired microphone. Although, in this situation, a wired microphone would have worked very well because there wasn't that much movement. Initially Cheryl came to the shoot wearing a fitted burgundy sweater, but she brought a few shirt options which worked out well. I couldn't see a great place to rig the lav mic under her sweater without it being seen, so I asked her to change her top to a black tank and a beige shoulder sweater. I needed the mic to be rigged in the middle of her tank. And I asked Cheryl to do this for me. I directed her on how to clip the mic and tape it so it wouldn't pull down her top as she moved around. It worked well. And I got the mic positioned just below the edge of her top and taped to her shirt so that it wouldn't pull the mic out of position. If Cheryl didn't get the mic in the right position, I would have asked her permission for me to adjust the microphone. You always need to be polite and ask permission to touch someone or make an adjustment. Once I verified that the mic looked okay, I plugged in the mic to the iPhone, launched the app, set the level, and hit record. I asked her to clip the iPhone to the back of her jeans. Again, I didn't want to do this for her, because that might make her feel uncomfortable. The mic position looked pretty good on Sheryl, but I had to trust my knowledge of the mike and the recorder, because I couldn't monitor the audio remotely. This is a definite disadvantage with this iPhone DIY lav mic setup. If I had high quality, wireless lav mics available, I would have used one, but I didn't. I also didn't think it was worth it to rent one for this production, because I had a pretty good sense that the iPhone would sound fine filling in for the shotgun microphone. My initial thought was that I would the shotgun mic for most of the audio because Cheryl was standing directly under it for most of the shoot. I would then fill in the audio of the shotgun every time she moved away from it with the lav microphone. In the edit, I will have to see if this works out, but I suspect that it will. In the shoot, the shotgun mic sounded fine for 90% of the audio. And at the end of the shoot, I had Cheryl read through the entire script with her head up and looking at the camera to make sure I got clean audio for everything she said. In your own productions, you may not have the option of using multiple microphones. And if that's the case, I would suggest this. If you use a shotgun microphone, monitor it and be prepared to move it around to follow your talent. If your talent is moving around a lot, a shotgun microphone is not going to work very well. So you're going to have to use a lav mic. When it comes to lav mics, you have a few options. First is a quality wired lav mic going right to your camera or external recorder. Without getting too deep into balanced and unbalanced connections, let me tell you what will and what won't work for wired lavs. Lavs with an XLR connection will work very well connected to the XLR input of your camera or external recorder even with mic cables that are extremely long. This is the most reliable and cleanest sounding option. A lav mic with a cable under six feet that has a 3.5 millimeter TRS or TS connection will work if you connect them directly to a recorder. You can pick up a nice little lavalier and recorder setup for around $130 to $160, depending on the microphone and the recorder. A lav mic with a 3.5 millimeter TS or TRS connection and a long cable, say longer than six feet, is much more likely to transmit noise to the recording device and should be avoided. A lav mic and a Smartphone is also an option if you're on a super tight budget. Something like the Rode smartLav+ and an iPhone would work reasonably well. Android devices tend to have inferior audio circuitry but they can be used to. The other lav option is wireless but this should only be an option if you have the budget or the ability to use a high-end wireless system. There's no point using a wireless system that interference issues. So stick to a system from Shure, Sony, Audio Technica, Sennheiser or Lectrosonics. At minimum, a decent wireless lav system is going to run you around $450, USD. And remember, if you can't afford to buy, you can always rent from your local rental house or online for not much money. Wireless mics are a fantastic tool, but make sure you use quality gear. Also, keep in mind that if you do record to an external recorder, you have to sync this with your camera in post-production. To make this as painless as possible,your camera should also be recording audio, so that you have reference audio to sync with the audio from your recorder. It's also helpful to have a distinct audio and visual cue to help you line things up in post-production. And this can be as simple as walking up near the talent and clapping your hands. Clapping gives you an audio and visual cue in post-production, making it easy to sync up cameras and audio recorders. I spent a bit of time going over audio because audio is not something you should skimp on. Use quality tools and you won't be disappointed. In the next lesson, you will learn how to deal with matching up two cameras and dealing with directing a second shooter.