Isolating Your Sound

It is important to decide which sounds you want to capture; focus on isolating those sounds as best you can. When possible, control your environment. For instance, if you're doing an interview in an apartment, switch off all fans, turn of noisy computers, and close any nearby windows. Also consider moving your subject away from unwanted noise sources. If you have no control over your subject or environment, you'll want to position your microphone as close to your subject as possible.

broom boom

The Boom Broom

This is a simple trick for getting a microphone closer to the action. Be sure to remind the boom-person to keep their arms bent at the elbows, to avoid passing out.

Make sure the pole and microphone are well out of the frame. Some viewfinders don't display the edge of the shot — it's wise to add some extra distance.

Directional vs Omni-Directional

There are three basic microphone categories, based on the directional pattern of sound they pick up: omnidirectional, cardioid (directional), and shotgun (hyper-directional). An omnidirectional microphone picks up sound from every direction, and is good for capturing the atmosphere of a situation. A directional-type microphone will pick up sound from a concentrated direction, you will want to be aware of where this type of mic is pointing.

Monitor Audio

Always Monitor Your Audio

When using an external microphone, it's wise to use headphones to make certain everything is hooked up right. If there is a problem with the microphone, you will know about it before you are ready to edit your footage.

Using a Directional Microphone

When using a directional microphone, be aware of what is behind your subject. When using a shotgun on a boom pole, point from high to low or vice versa, in order to avoid capturing background noise.

Recording Externally

If you have no audio input on your camera, you might opt to use an external recorder (like an mp3 or mini-disk player). If you're using an external audio recorder, as well as a camera, you'll want to get both recorders rolling and then give a sharp clap. This will make syncing the external sound to the video far easier. Keep in mind that this is labor intensive and can add a lot of time to your editing process.

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