Efficient Audio Set Up On a Small Budget

Recording quality audio in very noisy and overcrowded places could be challenging even for the most experienced professionals. However, many practical techniques can significantly improve your workflow in similar situations. Whether you are shooting with a Sony A7s, GH4 or some other compact camera, you can still record great audio on a budget. Everything that you’re going to need is a small recorder, a lavalier mic, and a windshield. There are many alternatives that you can use to record audio with decent results as well.

One of the existing options for an interview setup is using a wireless microphone. However, this is a considerably more expensive option. Also, you are going to need some preamp for your DSLR to connect the wireless control module, or you might face some interference issues while working with such systems in some areas. There are more efficient and cheaper existing solutions that you can implement instead.

In the following video Mark Wallace from Adorama TV will show us an easier way to record audio in really busy and overcrowded places.

This is the perfect setup for run-and-gun interviews or a self-hosted video.  Everything that you’re going to need is an external recorder such as the Zoom H1, which will cost you less than $100, a Rode lavalier mic and a small windshield. For around 350$ you’ll get a decent set up that will give you an excellent and professional audio recording.

First, make sure that you set up your external recorder in advance by selecting the right format, usually an uncompressed wav48 kHz, 24-bit is a great starting point. In that way, the recordings will match your camera audio waveform settings. Start your external recorder, hit the record button on your camera, clap two or three times to create marks that later will help you to sync the audio files from the external recorder.

If you are working with Adobe Premiere Pro CC, there is even a feature that will do everything for you automatically. Its a good practice before you drop your external audio files in Premiere to rename them in the first place so that they can match the original file names of your camera video files. This approach will improve your workflow especially if you are managing many files.


In Premiere Pro CC you can easily match your original video and the external audio data on the fly. Select both clips and by right-clicking navigate to Merge Clips.  In the dialog box under the Synchronize Point select the Audio option. Also, make sure that the Remove Audio From AV Clip is checked. As a result, you will get only the clean audio from the external recorder synced up with your video. Hit OK and Premiere Pro will automatically start analyzing and in a matter of seconds, you’ll have perfectly synchronized Merged Clip.

If you’re going to sync both files manually, first you should set yours in points in both video and audio. Select the files, right-click and again choose Merge Clips. This time, you should use sync by In Points. Alternatively, you can set markers on both files and then just line up the clips manually in your timeline.

Either way, you were going to get clean sounding audio perfectly matched with your video. High-quality sound always makes a difference and by using this simple, straightforward and super efficient technique, you will get excellent results regardless of how busy and overcrowded the location you are filming may be.

[via Wolf Crow, source: Adorama TV]

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