By August 30, 2013 4 Comments

Q: How can I get better Audio for my DSLR and Mirrorless camera video clips?

Here is a tip for better Audio with Mirrorless Cameras and DSLRs shooting video.

I am not an audio expert by any means but, since most of my posts have been on lighting, I wanted to talk a little about audio. By adding a six or eight foot headphone extension cord (mini plug to mini plug) to your external microphone, you can drastically improve the audio in your video footage.

A normal portrait requires the camera to be further away than the optimum distance for your microphone. By getting the mic off camera and closer to your subject, you will get a better signal to noise ratio (less noise) and a higher fidelity sound. Sound, like light, drops off quickly as you move further from the source. By moving your microphone in close, you get a stronger signal from your subject, and relatively weaker signals from other noises and reflected sound in the room.

Movie crews always include a sound person with a microphone on a boom arm so that the microphone can be as close as possible. This is a way to accomplish the same thing in-camera without needing an assistant.

About the Author:

Joe Smithberger is a commercial photographer working in Canton, Ohio. Joe has spent the past 20+ years working with a diverse mix of clients – from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies - and communicating their stories through his photographic images. He graduated from Ohio State University with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 1985. After 12 years as a design engineer, he turned his love of photography into a full-time endeavor when he opened Smithberger Photography in 1991. Smithberger Photography, Inc. specializes in commercial, editorial, industrial, and architectural photography and serves a wide range of industries including Advertising, Health Care, Manufacturing, and Professional Services. In addition to shooting for clients Joe is also busy teaching Photoshop, Lightroom, and Photography classes at Stark State College in Canton and can be found playing music with various groups around town. Although he is new to Hybrid Imaging, he hopes to bring his experience as a Pro Photographer, Musician, and Teacher to bear in working through the land mines of this new technology.

4 Comments on "Q: How can I get better Audio for my DSLR and Mirrorless camera video clips?"

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  1. rdeaver says:

    If you use a good recorder, like the Zoom H2n or H4n, you can get the mic close enough to the subject without running another cable across the room. You will have to sync the audio in post, of course.

  2. Yes, you are correct … if you need to reach across the room :)

    If your subject is only 6 or 8 ft from the camera, why add the complication?

    My intention in making this post is to show a simple approach that can dramatically improve audio quality and still avoid having to sync in post.

  3. rdeaver says:

    I am just trying to offer another perspective.

    I have been doing audio field recording for almost 15 years, and am much more comfortable editing audio in Audacity. This gives me the same fine-grained control over my audio as I have over my images and video in LR.

    And, while my G5 doesn’t have an audio port, my trusty H2 has great mics and preamps already built in. And is fully amortized. :-)

  4. Then that is a much better solution. If you can’t use an external mic directly into the camera, there really is no easier way to do it.

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