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Microphone for recording sound outside?

 
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I may be making a film that has people working outside on crafting.  I need to record good sound for the video.  But I don't know what kind of sound equipment to get?

The cameras are canon.

It won't need to be recording talking as there will be voice over.  I just need the sound of the working but without too much traffic, wind, and aeroplanes.  

For example, inthis video, the sound was captured by the camera mic and there was lots of wind, chickens, and other sounds behind it.  What would have been nice is to have the splashing of the water, the boiling of the kettle, and that kind of sound 'in focus' and the chickens less strong.   To compensate, I put too loud a music over top.  

I will probably rent the equipment but it would be really helpful if I could do some research first so I can know if the shop is sending me off with a lemon (they are big into giving the 'girl treatment' because they are old school and girls don't do photography).  Sadly they are the only shop in town I know will rent this equipment.  



What do I need to know?  where do I start?

I tried searching for equipment but they all seem focused on voice which I don't need.
 
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It has been many decades since I have attempted seriously recording anything out of doors.  But when I did, I called a local tv station for advice.
 
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Google zoom shotgun mic. Zoom is a trade name but they are a style that mounts on top of your camera and gather sound from the direction the camera is pointing.
 
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It may be an idea to consider recording the sonic backgrounds that you want separately from the video recording... record both, and use the camera audio when it's suitable, but go out first (or afterwards) and record the brook babbling or the kettle boiling and so forth, and you'll have far better options which will yield far better results.  All professional audio for video is captured in this way, and then edited later and the finished edit tracked back with the cut video as and where needed.  If you are only taking the ambient sound with the video, you will only get the ambient sound, and whatever comes with it, with no way to fix any snafus.  If you want a more focused approach, you're best to go to each source and get what you want.

Yes, a shotgun mic as suggested may help to eliminate audio from around the target, but they are mostly intended for camera audio applications where a speaker on camera needs to be recorded clearly over a noisy street or whatever.  Think interview news cam on location.  They pick up mostly what they're aimed at and close to, but they won't stop a crowing rooster in the background, though they may capture the target well enough to keep the rooster "pleasant".  The mic's distance from the intended target source is a huge factor in this perceived difference of audio levels.  All this said, capturing the brook and kettle separately, and even the chickens, will give you full control.  Sounds like brooks and kettles and chickens are easy, anyway, because they don't require sync to the video, unlike moving lips and spoken words, or maybe a crowing rooster.

In any event, for applications like capturing brooks and kettles, you will do best with a condenser microphone, as opposed to a dynamic mic, because of the massive sensitivity differences between the two designs.  A shotgun mic is usually what's called an ECM, or electret condenser mic, and that will work, too, though a true condenser will sound the most natural.  For ambient stuff like you want, the "omni" polar pattern will give you the most transparent result.  Get two mics if you want stereo, and message me, and I'll explain how to array them to do what you need.

Yes, I can help you with editing this stuff, if you're stuck... kinda did these things for a few decades... : )
 
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You can also add the sound with the video editor software you are using.
Here is a few tracks for free. You can always do a quick search and get more.
 
Robert Dewar
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Yeah, actually, that's probably quicker and simpler and less expensive, for a workable result... I'm just a professional perfectionist... : )
 
r ranson
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S Bengi wrote:You can also add the sound with the video editor software you are using.
Here is a few tracks for free. You can always do a quick search and get more.



Nifty

I suspect they probably don't have the sounds of the things I'm filming.  
 
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If you're dealing with lots of traffic noise (cars & airplanes), as others have suggested you need a shotgun mic for what you are doing. These mics offer what is known in the sound industry as "off axis noise rejection" - meaning their narrow pickup pattern picks up sounds that the microphone is pointed at while generally rejecting sound as much as possible from what the mic is not pointed at (eg. traffic off to the side of the mic).

For wind protection a windmuff / wind screen (aka: "dead cat") is a must have for capturing audio outdoors.

For the very low budget option, there are ways to stick mini-DIY-windmuffs on your camera mic(s).

Next up in price, for upgrading your camera's audio over the on-board factory mics, you might look into directional mics that plug into your camera's 3.5 audio input jack (provided your model of camera has that) such as the Rode VideoMic series. This is the low-budget audio upgrade option.

If you have the budget, it's best practice to have a dedicated audio setup. For handheld audio recording, Zoom offers a directional add on mic - with windmuff - for their H5 & H6 audio recorders.

Dedicated audio setups generally out-perform on-camera audio as they tend to have semi-pro / professional (eg. Sound Devices) pre-amps - significantly better pre-amps than you'll find on-boad your camera. Zoom is the best quality lower budget dedicated audio gear, IMO. Audio gear starts to creep up in price all the way to the stratosphere from there (eg. Schoeps CMIT).
 
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The technical ideas about the microphones sound good. Getting better microphones is always good.

Not sure how you are doing the filming or the editing, but can you do the filming with the regular audio and then go and record the sounds of the working you do want in the background separately? And then add in the sounds into your video using a multitrack audio software like Audacity (free) https://sourceforge.net/projects/audacity/. Or a top of the line audio editor like Sound Forge. https://www.magix.com/us/music/sound-forge/. Used along with a good quality video editing software, e.g. Sony Vegas Movie Studio, you can pretty much add in and delete the sounds you need in your video(s).
 
S Bengi
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The 5 Best Microphones for Recording Nature.
Zoom H4N PRO Digital Multitrack Recorder.
Sennheiser MKE600 Camcorder Shotgun Microphone.
Sony ECM-680S Shotgun Microphone.
Rode NT4 X/Y Stereo Condenser Microphone.
Sennheiser ME66/K6P Shotgun Microphone System


The youtube link actually has some if not all of the nature sounds that you mentioned
Below is a list of what that particular post was offering, each nature sound is comes as it own separate file. But that youtube post is just 1 of a million such post. So a quick search will give you even more nature sounds.

► Download 30 Ambient Nature Sounds: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Vlsmyy_AMqc1S9xGy0YzJGvfVjA3oGjF/view

The file includes:

1 - Fire
2 - Waterfalls
3 - Beach Waves
4 - Wind
5 - Small Stream Flowing
6 - Thunder
7 - Windy Forest
8 - Owl Hooting
9 - Rain On Rooftop
10 - Wind In Pine Trees
11 - Walking In Forest
12 - Walking in Snow
13 - Boating Water Splashing
14 - Walking and Splashing Water
15 - Horse Eating Grass
16 - Forest Night
17 - Rain
18 - Water Lapping Wind
19 - Spring Day Forest
20 - Birds
21 - Cicadas Buzzing
22 - Hallow Wind
23 - Warm Afternoon
24 - Cold Evening
25 - Farm Morning with Sheep
26 - Crickets with Road and Forest
27 - Crows Caw in Field
28 - Breathing Echo space
29 - Breathing Running
30 - Human Breathing by Nose
 
r ranson
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Sorry, this is the video I ment to put in the first post



You can hear the sounds of me working, making tea, whatever, but equally strong, you can hear the sounds of the wind and the chickens.

I want to record better the sounds of me working and less strong the sounds of the chickens.  I don't want any wind sound at all.  I understand a dead cat makes wind go away.

So not so much stock sounds, but the ability to record the sounds of the things I'm filming.  If that makes sense.  
 
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Ok, so my experience is limited to being a hobbyist doing field recordings of musicians 20+ years ago, and trying to expose my son to this sort of thing, and being a fan of a few youtubers.  So take what I say with that grain of salt....

I think the short answer to "which microphone?" is the usual permaculture answer: "it depends", which can be an invitation to consider more context.  And like in permaculture, the summary of that conversation is "it's more about the technique and skill of the practitioner than it is about the tools" and "there isn't going to be a once-and-done answer for each different shot in your video".


GOALS.   I love your "fibre prep - washing wool" video.  I'd seen it before and thought it was good, but watched it with different eyes and ears when you posted here what you were wanting it to be.   I'm going to assume you want to shoot how-to videos for youtube that don't make the beginner mistakes, starting from where this video is.   Better than that (netflix-level, hollywood-level) is really not achievable without putting in your 10,000 hours and having a crew.

Recorded video and audio is always giving the viewer a somewhat synthetic experience.   When you are there, you can look around, you can tune out the chickens, etc.   Just by the nature of recording, the viewer/listener cannot do those things.   For example, the chickens probably didn't annoy you when you were there, but they are too loud when you sit down to edit.  So the filmmaker does things to compensate.   And our viewers have seen lots of film and video, and have expectations around how those things are done.  In general, most video producers are going for audio that adds to the experience, without drawing undue attention to itself.

Also, everything is a compromise.   "I don't want any wind sound at all." -- this is not literally achievable of course, but it takes some experience to know what will be "good enough".  It looks like your video was not really in a super windy environment, but in-camera microphones are just notoriously bad for wind noise.  Likely a dead-cat wind sock would be good enough for this situation, but maybe not on a more windy day--you'd have to think about shielding the mic (maybe with your body or a wall), and/or shooting a different time/place, and/or editing the worst of the wind bursts out, or maybe replacing the audio all together.  Similarly, every microphone and every recorder (including the one in the camera) add some noise ("self noise", "noise floor"), even in a totally quiet environment--it cannot be zero because physics.   The amount any given equipment choice adds isn't relevant for your sink and kettle scene, but if you were trying to capture the sounds of carding for that other video, or birdsongs, or the sound of a shuttle thrown across a loom, it would be very relevant.


EXAMPLES from your video.   Again, I think this was a great effort.  But re-watching after you asked, here's what I noticed that I would probably want to change if it were me:  
  • 0:06-0:11 - the kettle and stove maybe don't need to be this loud.  Maybe bring down the volume in edit.   The chickens are too loud in the background--how to solve?  How far away are the chickens? How measurable-with-instruments-loud are they in real-live, relative to the tea kettle?  Getting away from the camera's built-in mic will likely help a lot.   A more directional mic *may* help, but up against that wall (sound reflector) or if the chickens are quite close, it may not.  Maybe the best is to experiment while shooting, stopping to listen to what you are getting.  Does your camera support a headphone output for this purpose? Listening only later isn't likely to make you happy.  Bringing your external mic closer to the stove and kettle is surely one thing to try.
  • 0:14 - the video cross fades to the new scene, but there is a sudden change in the background audio.  Not too big in this case, but it can be distracting.   Best to avoid this audio difference when recording in the first place, but if not, then cross-fade audio in edit to hide it.  
  • 0:16 - first loud wind-on-mic noise.  Possibly a wind sock on an external mic would have taken care of this, but still, some can slip through.   If there are only a few of these and they don't cover important audio (such as speech, shears), then you can plop down some "background" sound over the top to hide the burst.   You should always get some specially-recorded background sound from each location, even indoors ("room tone"), but you can also just find another quiet spot to copy.  You'll likely need to cross fade and manually adjust volumes to get a good enough hide.  Fancy edit software may have tools to make this easier.   It's like removing a zit from someone's face in photoshop.
  • 0:16-1:00 - I don't see any need for camera audio here at all.  You could substitute specially-recorded background sound to keep chickens and wind down to your desired level.   That audio could be recorded at a different place, further from the chicken pen, and even on a different day.
  • 1:16-ff - Sink, kettle, spoon sound good to me.  I think you're working to hide chickens, though?  If there were a voice-over, then you wouldn't be able to hide the chickens with the music.
  • 2:57 - Rooster.  Maybe one rooster crow when the only other sound is the sink faucet *might* be tolerable?
  • 3:06 - Rooster's gotta go.  I'd have shot more video, maybe repeated the action or the whole scene.  You could try to remove the rooster by pasting other audio over, but not likely 100% effective.   If the rooster keeps up, he needs to be further away.  I assume the sink isn't moving, so what if the rooster was in a crate and closed up in the garage for 20 minutes?
  • 3:14 - Reshoot due to rooster.   I'd be ready to harvest him by now.
  • 3:45-end - Substitute background sound, as the visible actions are quiet ones.

  • and
  • (flick carder video) - I don't it would be possible to get usable audio of the (quiet) carding process in an outdoor farm setting with any type or $$ of equipment, at any experience level.   Shoot indoors with a close-in mic, or prepare to re-perform the carding indoors later while watching the video and trying to sync your motions -- like Foley in the movies. Maybe hard for carding, but maybe easier for spinning?  It depends.



  • EQUIPMENT. There are some really good audio options nowadays in the prosumer space these days.  However, there isn't likely to be one that will do everything.  An on-camera shotgun-type mic is pretty popular with youtubers, but is best for presenters' voices or other stuff that doesn't need to sound too natural, or have too much stereo field.   The "shotgun" refers to the long, thin geometry of the thing, which is designed to be very forward-directional.  This may or may not make the chickens quieter--you still need technique that considers the space you are in, and to listen to what you are capturing in the field, before you finish shooting.  A single shotgun mic, may be "good enough" for everything you want to do right now, or it may not.  A second microphone option for some shots may make a big difference, depending on your goals.   For microphone-on-camera, RODE is the most popular brand, with many choices.  

    Another level would be a wireless mic system feeding the camera.  This is almost de rigueur on youtube these days to get the presenter out of the background mush--a wireless lapel mic on the presenter's shirt. But wireless can be used for other effects as well.  It allows you to get the microphone close, but just out of shot (or even inconspicuously in-shot!).   If you're working alone, this could mean clipped to a presenter's clothes, on an additional tripod, or taped to a porch post or something.  Usually the wireless system can be used with different microphones.  RODE is popular in this space as well.

    The next level would be having a separate, compact audio recorder.  These can go on top of the camera, on a tripod, or anywhere really.   They can record themselves, feed into the camera audio, or both.  They always have a headphone output.    The most popular brand is ZOOM.  They have a wide range and most models have decent microphones on the front, plus inputs for more external mics.  This is a huge upgrade, and the price for what you get is almost insanely low.   The audio quality is much better than the in-camera recorder, and the additional flexibility is huge.   The cost is that you have to sync up the separately-recorded audio to your camera video at edit time.   For a few sink-and-kettle scenes, that's no big deal, but for many cuts with tight requirements, it can become a lot of labor, though there would be workflow techniques to reduce this, depending on what your editor software supports.   I hear that modern video edit software can do this automatically, but I haven't tried it, so I don't know how effective it is.  An external recorder would give you the most flexibility for the first $200 you spend, and that's what I suggest.

    One pitfall:  there are products that try to leverage your smartphone.   I don't think the inherent compromises are worth it, except in very special cases.

    So, in conclusion, I think getting some equipment of some kind that you could practice with is the best way forward.  If you decide this isn't something you want to spend time practicing (a totally valid choice!), then I don't think rental equipment will help.   You'd be better finding a volunteer to do it for you in exchange for them getting the experience.  

    Sorry this got long.  Writing it will probably be the most fun I have today. . I thought there's so much good videography how-to on youtube these days, that a quick search for "audio for b-roll video" would get someone explaining what I tried to write above.  There were many promising search results, but unfortunately, the ones I previewed were either low quality, or focussed only on ways of getting the presenter's voice.   I'll keep looking as I have a chance.

    Good luck on this adventure, and keep us informed!   I'm subscribed to your channel!


     
    Robert Dewar
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    Well... that was some good detail, Kerry, and a useful list of possible edits.  It's a big subject, no?  Ultimately, yes, it's a matter of addressing each point in the audio track that you want to improve on, and doing what's needed, spot by spot by spot. As with most fine things, there's not many really quick fixes on the road to nailing professional results, for the most part.  Also, there are many other possibilities available with pro editing gear, that just what's been suggested, as some of the finesse, filtration and manipulation abilities in the really upper-crust systems need to be seen/heard to be believed.  However, without that level of gear and the skill to operate it professionally, there are going to be spots where unsatisfactory compromises will be made, either through equipment limitations or just user skill level.  It's a chain of results, with each step impacting the rest of the project.  In the industry, there's the "Good Rule"... good gear, run by a good tech with good ears and a good idea of what is needed, recording a good performer with a good source in a good space that provides a good performance which is properly recorded and mixed by a good engineer into a good format... is good.  Everything else, is less than that.  Pro gear, is pro gear for a reason.  Likewise, consumer gear.  Beyond the gear, editing itself is a skilled art, not just a few generic computer operations.

    Just for the record, in the scheme of things, no, Audacity isn't even vaguely pro, and no, most laypeople don't really know what professional level editing really involves, or can involve, or the value of a truly experienced ear and skill set in the process, though most folks with a computer figure they can do the job.  Technology and appearances can be deceiving.  It's a rather deeper rabbit hole than most would surmise.

    So, given the large edit list posted, if you're up for it, go for the details and fix things up.  If you don't feel like you want to tackle this yourself, I'd be happy to help you though getting things straightened up, even if it's just a few of the especially frustrating bits, or some critical listening and coaching.
     
    r ranson
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    Thank you SO MUCH Kerry,

    This is helping me know what flavour of "it depends" I shall try for next.

    Kerry Rodgers wrote:
    GOALS.   I love your "fibre prep - washing wool" video.  I'd seen it before and thought it was good, but watched it with different eyes and ears when you posted here what you were wanting it to be.   I'm going to assume you want to shoot how-to videos for youtube that don't make the beginner mistakes, starting from where this video is.   Better than that (netflix-level, hollywood-level) is really not achievable without putting in your 10,000 hours and having a crew.



    10,000 hours is a bit beyond my current goal.  My goal is to put about 40 hours a month into learning video recording, editing, and actually getting out there and trying things.  For 12 months.  Then I decide if I like it enough to keep going.  So basically, at this stage, I don't want to invest a lot of money in equipment.  Just enough to get me through beginner and into intermediate skill.

    My goal is to make the kind of videos I like to watch.   Videos with tutorial content and no housekeeping (unless the video is about actually keeping house - as I might make a laundry machine video... maybe).

    I want the sound to be good enough that people don't notice how bad it is.  But it doesn't need to be perfect.  


    Kerry Rodgers wrote:

    EXAMPLES from your video.   Again, I think this was a great effort.  But re-watching after you asked, here's what I noticed that I would probably want to change if it were me:  

  • 0:06-0:11 - the kettle and stove maybe don't need to be this loud.  Maybe bring down the volume in edit.   The chickens are too loud in the background--how to solve?  How far away are the chickens? How measurable-with-instruments-loud are they in real-live, relative to the tea kettle?  Getting away from the camera's built-in mic will likely help a lot.   A more directional mic *may* help, but up against that wall (sound reflector) or if the chickens are quite close, it may not.  Maybe the best is to experiment while shooting, stopping to listen to what you are getting.  Does your camera support a headphone output for this purpose? Listening only later isn't likely to make you happy.  Bringing your external mic closer to the stove and kettle is surely one thing to try.
  • 0:14 - the video cross fades to the new scene, but there is a sudden change in the background audio.  Not too big in this case, but it can be distracting.   Best to avoid this audio difference when recording in the first place, but if not, then cross-fade audio in edit to hide it.  
  • 0:16 - first loud wind-on-mic noise.  Possibly a wind sock on an external mic would have taken care of this, but still, some can slip through.   If there are only a few of these and they don't cover important audio (such as speech, shears), then you can plop down some "background" sound over the top to hide the burst.   You should always get some specially-recorded background sound from each location, even indoors ("room tone"), but you can also just find another quiet spot to copy.  You'll likely need to cross fade and manually adjust volumes to get a good enough hide.  Fancy edit software may have tools to make this easier.   It's like removing a zit from someone's face in photoshop.
  • 0:16-1:00 - I don't see any need for camera audio here at all.  You could substitute specially-recorded background sound to keep chickens and wind down to your desired level.   That audio could be recorded at a different place, further from the chicken pen, and even on a different day.
  • 1:16-ff - Sink, kettle, spoon sound good to me.  I think you're working to hide chickens, though?  If there were a voice-over, then you wouldn't be able to hide the chickens with the music.
  • 2:57 - Rooster.  Maybe one rooster crow when the only other sound is the sink faucet *might* be tolerable?
  • 3:06 - Rooster's gotta go.  I'd have shot more video, maybe repeated the action or the whole scene.  You could try to remove the rooster by pasting other audio over, but not likely 100% effective.   If the rooster keeps up, he needs to be further away.  I assume the sink isn't moving, so what if the rooster was in a crate and closed up in the garage for 20 minutes?
  • 3:14 - Reshoot due to rooster.   I'd be ready to harvest him by now.
  • 3:45-end - Substitute background sound, as the visible actions are quiet ones.

  • and
  • (flick carder video) - I don't it would be possible to get usable audio of the (quiet) carding process in an outdoor farm setting with any type or $$ of equipment, at any experience level.   Shoot indoors with a close-in mic, or prepare to re-perform the carding indoors later while watching the video and trying to sync your motions -- like Foley in the movies. Maybe hard for carding, but maybe easier for spinning?  It depends.




  • That's what I'm feeling too.
    I attached an approximate map of the filming location.  To show how the rooster was in relation to the action.

    Except I really like the sound of roosters, so in general, I encourage them to crow.  But in this instance, it's not so good.

    I'm hoping the new video editor I try next will have the ability to change the level of the sound.  I tried to remove the sound altogether, but that didn't work out.  I think a big chunk of it is user-error and another big chunk is the limitations of the software.

    But I like the idea of having the sound focused on what I'm doing.  Like sound is coming from the same area the camera is looking at.  The rooster would be okay if he was quieter compared to the sounds of what I am doing.

    I'll be shooting inside during the winter which is going to have all sorts of other sound issues (there's a lot of people in this house and wooden floors it's not fair to ask them to not move for 2 hours while I'm filming).


    Kerry Rodgers wrote:

    EQUIPMENT. There are some really good audio options nowadays in the prosumer space these days.  However, there isn't likely to be one that will do everything.  An on-camera shotgun-type mic is pretty popular with youtubers, but is best for presenters' voices or other stuff that doesn't need to sound too natural, or have too much stereo field.   The "shotgun" refers to the long, thin geometry of the thing, which is designed to be very forward-directional.  This may or may not make the chickens quieter--you still need technique that considers the space you are in, and to listen to what you are capturing in the field, before you finish shooting.  A single shotgun mic, may be "good enough" for everything you want to do right now, or it may not.  A second microphone option for some shots may make a big difference, depending on your goals.   For microphone-on-camera, RODE is the most popular brand, with many choices.  

    ...

    The next level would be having a separate, compact audio recorder.  These can go on top of the camera, on a tripod, or anywhere really.   They can record themselves, feed into the camera audio, or both.  They always have a headphone output.    The most popular brand is ZOOM.  They have a wide range and most models have decent microphones on the front, plus inputs for more external mics.  This is a huge upgrade, and the price for what you get is almost insanely low.   The audio quality is much better than the in-camera recorder, and the additional flexibility is huge.   The cost is that you have to sync up the separately-recorded audio to your camera video at edit time.   For a few sink-and-kettle scenes, that's no big deal, but for many cuts with tight requirements, it can become a lot of labor, though there would be workflow techniques to reduce this, depending on what your editor software supports.   I hear that modern video edit software can do this automatically, but I haven't tried it, so I don't know how effective it is.  An external recorder would give you the most flexibility for the first $200 you spend, and that's what I suggest.






    That's what I'm wondering.  Given my lack of skills at this time, something that sits on top of the camera and records the sound into the camera might be my best starting place.  Then IF I like making videos by the end of the 12 months of learning, I could invest in a separate audio recorder.  By then, I should know how to sync audio.  
    filming.png
    not exactly to scale
    not exactly to scale
     
    Kerry Rodgers
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    r ranson wrote:
    ...
    My goal is to put about 40 hours a month into learning video recording, editing, and actually getting out there and trying things.  For 12 months.  Then I decide if I like it enough to keep going.  So basically, at this stage, I don't want to invest a lot of money in equipment.  Just enough to get me through beginner and into intermediate skill.
    ...
    I'm hoping the new video editor I try next will have the ability to change the level of the sound.  I tried to remove the sound altogether, but that didn't work out.  I think a big chunk of it is user-error and another big chunk is the limitations of the software.
    ...
    That's what I'm wondering.  Given my lack of skills at this time, something that sits on top of the camera and records the sound into the camera might be my best starting place.  Then IF I like making videos by the end of the 12 months of learning, I could invest in a separate audio recorder.  By then, I should know how to sync audio.



    I love your focussed approach!   Your microphone-on-top idea seems like the next logical step.  

    My biggest regret on videography was the amount of time I wasted on a bad editor software/hardware setup.  I didn't learn much, because of the friction of working with bad tools.   What if the handle kept coming off your Flick Carder as you pulled, or your knitting needles had burrs all over that kept catching the yarn and shreading it?   You'd fix that, right?   If a beginner didn't fix those things, then they wouldn't be able to learn fibre arts.  I don't know which video editor to recommend, but if it were me, I wouldn't spend much time on anything weird, and/or buggy, and/or hard to learn (like I did before).  For video, you'll likely spend more time with the editor than the camera, so it isn't the right place to cut corners.

    I just bought a monthly subscription for my son to the Adobe apps (edu discount applies even to high schoolers).   I'm no lover of Adobe, but he was already familiar from his school, and they are very popular, with lots of learning and hints on the web.  (He really wanted Lightroom, but now is talking about a new project in Premier Pro.). He wouldn't use something I chose for him!

    Oops, I just saw you've started a thread about the DaVinci editor.   Hope it works out (followed)!
     
    Kerry Rodgers
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    One more thought about the microphone...  This is a technique that would apply equally with the camera-built-in microphone or an external one.

    When you are recording the sink, kettle, spoon and the chickens are too loud, you could probably go into the camera's settings menus, and find something like "Sound Rec. Level".   There should be an Auto and a Manual setting.  For sure it is going to default to Auto, and probably also keep resetting itself back to Auto.    For voice, you probably want Auto setting.  However, for the sink-spoon-teaset clips, where there is quiet between the different clicks, Auto will bring up the level, making the chickens louder.   So for these "what I'm working on" sounds, if the environment is noisy, you may get a noticeable improvement if you set to Manual.   Then you'll have to manually set the level you want, which will take some experimentation.   I'm pretty sure it will sound better with a manual setting, but I'm not sure how fiddly it may be to find a good manual setting.

    Something to experiment with that requires no purchase!
     
    Robert Dewar
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    Just my two further cents' worth... the "Auto" setting, is using what's called audio compression, and that is what is turning up the background, if the foreground is quiet, in an attempt to automatically "level" the dynamic range of the audio track.  As Kerry stated, it's good for some things, but mostly a detriment, in my old-school opinion.  So, ideally, yes, run it on manual, for most applications, really, with some serious attention given to the mic placement.

    For my part, I would not advise turning down the mic input at the camera, beyond setting a good maximum input level before clipping (distortion).  It is better set to an appropriate audio mix level in the mix/editing process, than at the camera.  Setting it at the camera locks in a low level in your digital audio which you cannot easily fix up later, and which may make the camera's input electronics appear louder as a part of the recorded sound, and regardless, at least in my opinion, the sonic performance of low-level digital is just plain bad.
     
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    I purchased a zoom h1 microphone for $80 a few years ago and was pleasantly surprised with the result when I bugged the frog pond

    https://soundcloud.com/samnit/frogspondcut

    Although it looks like this model is no more, and now the low end Zoom model is the "h1n" for $120.  The h1 is quite a mic for $80, this next one is probably as good.
     
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    There's all the good advice you need here!

    I'd like to chip in with something that's counter to what the pros are saying: you CAN get great results for YouTube videos with a smartphone.  It needs to be able to record in the format you'll publish in, 1080P probably, and you MUST have a stabilizer and find the angle of view of the camera's principal lens ok for your results.  You also need to have a 3.5mm jack to avoid a lot of workarounds, so NOT an iPhone.

    My best suggestion for this is to mount the phone in a frame that takes accessories and has dual handgrips, like the $25 Ulanzi U-Rig Pro Smartphone Video Rig (https://www.amazon.com/Smartphone-Filmmaking-Stabilizer-Videomaker-Videographer/dp/B0774MTXXG) which will mount on a cheap $15 camera tripod, or give a stable handheld platform.  You then really need a shotgun microphone with 'dead cat' for outdoors; they come under £60 if you shop around and read for favourable genuine reviews, or the cheapest Australian genuine Rode models are under $100, always with deadcat and a lead/adaptor for smartphone (4 contacts on the 3.5mm plug, rather than the 3 for other kit).  Most of the cheaper items, rather than dirt-cheap, give good enough results for this usage.

    Then all the rest works in the video editor, including the dubbed sounds, your voiceovers (same mic used with your computer) and the clip edits etc.  I use the (again Australian) Videopad editor, which is simpler to use than the costly pro editors, but nearly as versatile.  Given a cheaper Andriod smartphone and this kit, you're set up for under $500.
     
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    Hiya,

    Lots of good advice here but I’ll chime in anyway. I do this for a living, or did until I started teaching. Still do but less now. I did lots pro stuff, and lots of diy low budget. I’ll focus on low budget / general stuff here.

    Considering your context perfection is not required. The results you can achieve with the tools you have at hand are probably acceptable and certainly comparable to the quality of lots of things that have aired on TV... in fact I’m always amazed by how bad some older documentary style TV shows audio can be... not that this should be your goal !

    1) Mics: The shotgun mic Is made for capturing at a distance. If you CAN get a mic close to the source without it spoiling the visual you probably don’t need a shotgun, but having a lil shotgun on a stand a just out of frame for those specific sound can be a great solution.

    A shotgun can be important if there’s lot of other things going on in the immediate vicinity and you can’t get close with another mic. however it won’t always help with things like the hum of a highway or planes overhead as these are loud and distant and kind of coming from everywhere. What’s cool is because Shotguns are directional the sound is focused (more or less) at what your pointing it at but those underlying sounds will still be there. This goes for whatever type of mic you use- if you can hear a sound, it will get picked up on the mic to some degree.

    This is why the majority of pro productions actually construct the ambient backgrounds out of pre recorded or purpose recorded material like others have suggested and spend lots of time doing it.

    I find shotguns most useful for dialog when on body lavalier type Mics are not available (or as a backup track) and indoors. Indoors They’re good for picking up voices and those little specific sounds because they pick up the direct sound predominantly and reject the reflections of the walls, giving a much clearer capture even if your a few feet away. Outdoors they work the same way of course but you don’t have reflections to contend with. If you can sneak a recorder in close enough to the source you want to capture you may not need the shotgun at all.

    I’m a fan of trying to plant small microphones and recorders near sounds I want to capture.

    Recording on location is really a matter of Getting as much of the desired sound as possible, as loud as possible compared to unwanted sounds.

    2) Unwanted ambient noise : Avoid it ! some people will attempt to use processing to remove them, but for the most part this is futile. You can use fancy noise reduction processing and techniques but they will dégradé the overall sound of the Recording. It can be acceptable if it’s one sound in a mix of other sounds but again using some sounds that have been pre recorded or sourced from a library mixed in is usually done and helps mask any noise reduction etc for the sounds that MUST be taken from the on ´set’ / location recording. Typically what we Do If there’s extraneous noise in the location audio is edit it down, removing all but the required bits and try and mask / remove the bad stuff with pre recorded/ noise reduction.

    3) wind/ vibrations : wind is always tricky outdoors and no matter what mic you use you must protect it to avoid that sound of wind in the mic that overtakes everything else and ruins the take. Most shotgun mics come with a type of wind screen (one type is often called a dead cat... they are made of long faux fur) that vastly reduces the sound of the wind. Or the larger more pro ‘zeppelin’ that house the mic entirely in cage with foam and dead cat. A foam windscreen is not enough even for a small breeze. Even lavalier mics intended to be used outdoors will often come with something. I have used actual socks (one thin synthetic with another heavier wool overtop) on my handheld zoom recorder to great effect. Only very heavy wind made for issues.

    Basically you need to think about vibrations and moving air. If your working on a table, and you’ve put the mic/recorder on the table every time you touch the table vibrations will be picked up in the mic. Put the recorder/mic/phone on some foam to mitigate this issue and keep it close. For wind (or a person blowing into a mic with plosive P words like permies) you can use a sock, or even a scarf. Heck if your talking about fiber you could probably stash a recorder inside some wool to protect from vibrations and wind and to camouflage it to get it nice and close to the source.

    4) sync : there have been suggestions of mic’s and recorders in this thread, but unless your camera has professional audio inputs (typically on xlr connectors) you will be recording sound to a separate device. That means you need to sync it up after the fact. The easiest way to do this is to have both camera audio and external recording rolling, say the take number etc. And clap loudly (ideally on camera). This ‘slate’ will give you a clear visual and audio reference point in editing. Line up the recorder audio to the camera and video.

    5) recorders :  I have used a ton of different recorders. A modern smartphone is better than the 3000$ Professional portable digital recorder i own from about 10 years back. You can record good quality audio on pretty much anything these days as Long as you take the time to listen to the result and adjust. This goes for any recording though. A good mic or a good recorder does not mean good capture of the intended source.


    6) Recording levels: I agree with the other response regarding auto level on any recorder. Best to avoid it. Instead do some tests recreating the loudest sounds you expect to make and watch the meters on the devices. They should not go above 0db ever and should average around - 12 to 18 dB. I Always do a test and listen back to it before I start proper to ensure it sounds good, no distortion.

    It doesn’t hurt to take / record a few minutes of some extra ambience or ‘room tone’ for every location you record in with no one talking/ making noise. This allows you to remove any bad bits from the actual takes and plug in some clean ambient background sound in editing. The same goes for those specific sounds your trying to capture. Record some extra even when the camera isn’t rolling. That way if some of the take audio is spoiled for some reason you have purpose recorded sounds to replace with.

    If you do find yourself needing extra sounds, try freesound.org as well. You have to sign up but it is as the name implies free and there’s lots of stuff (good and bad).

    Lots of good stuff throughout this thread, hope I didn’t repeat toooo much here.

    Jay


     
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    Nice, Jay. Lots of good advice here already, so I'll keep this brief. If you're going to spend cash on sound equipment, you could do worse than getting a basic Rode shotgun for your main camera, i.e. the one you're pointing at the person / animal you're featuring, so it's a good bet you'll get their sound at least. And if you can afford it, pick up a Zoom H6. They're good quality, easy to use, and have several removable mic heads, so you can choose one for more ambient stereo sound, one for targeted shotgun style, and a versatile XY that you can tweak really easily for more targeted ambient sound, like kettles and sheep. And a decent pair of headphones, of course, so you can hear what you're supposed to be recording, and can tweak appropriately. The H6 would also enable you to plug in on its own track a cheap wired lav mic, which is a lot cheaper than the wireless types, and would work together with your shotgun, each being the backup for the other.

    Put your H6 ambient-ish one near the action. Start everything recording. Do your clap (on camera, nice and loudly and cleanly) and announce what the heck you're filming, so you can quickly identify your sound files later. Like Jay said, it's a quick easy way to sync everything up. Recognise that whatever is in front of your mic will include whatever's beyond your immediate subjects, so a simple shift of angle for your ambient mic may make the difference between a frustrating edit and a 'good enough' edit.

    If you just keep recording, instead of lots of start and stops, then you only need to deal with the initial sync and you're good to go. The downside is that you'd be increasing file sizes with stuff you don't necessarily want.

    If you find you don't really want to keep doing it after a year, I'm pretty sure you'll be able to sell the H6 and Rode for not much less than you paid for it, since they're known to be reliable, good quality gear, especially if you pick them up used to begin with.

    And finally, learn to listen consciously.

    Good luck!
     
    Robert Dewar
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    Even more good advice.  Thanks, K.  I'm thinking I should toss in a caveat that I see raised, here.  If you do take more than one simultaneous track of the same audio subject, for example, the lav mic and shotgun simultaneously tracking the same person talking, that's definitely a good idea, but don't necessarily plan on running both sources together in your mix.  As was suggested, they are best used as a backup for each other.  Choosing the best of the two in whatever shot will give you the best audio you have for mixing.  Blending the two will very probably create a phase cancellation issue between the two, which can only be corrected by ultra-tiny shifts in the relative timing of the two tracks, and which, if it's there, and you don't know, which can and does happen, can actually result in some drastic quality changes or even the effective silencing of the mixed result, in mono.  Just a word of caution, there.
     
    r ranson
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    Here we go.  A new mic and better editing software and I got something much more like I wanted.



    I got this one and a dead cat https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B00E58AA0I/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1  

    The sound isn't very warm/round/comforting, but it works.   It's good enough for my current skill level.

    If I'm still making videos after my year of self-teaching/learning then I might invest in something better.  Or maybe I'll wait until my youtube monetizes.  Like that's ever going to happen.  



    Thanks everyone for helping me find the right mic for my needs.  
     
    Robert Dewar
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    Nice work, Raven!  Keep listening for the details... stop and fix each thing you don't like... and when you can't find anything else to fix, or you're just tired of fixing stuff, it'll be "done".  That's all the pro's do, is repeat that process to a very deep level over insanely small things.  It's often more a case of refusal to give up, than any set standard being applied.  Audio mixdown is much like a quote I once heard about poetry, said in a pained, despondent tone with a Bostonian accent... "A poem is never finished, only abandoned".
     
    r ranson
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    Listening to some other footage, this microphone loves focusing on voices.

    The voice of the person talking in front of the camera.  The person talking about 18 yards away.  The children playing four backyards away.  

    But the dead cat did a lot to reduce the wind and road noise.  It did not do so well with the helicopters.


    The big issue was when I was trying to record the sound of the work close to where I was - but the voices from four backyards away ended up being louder.  
     
    Robert Dewar
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    If you are using any kind of input compression while you're recording (think "automatic level control" kinda stuff), that may be making the distant kiddies jump out a bit more.  If not, then you have a few options, the first of which is to control the set noise, meaning, telling your neighbours to keep the kiddies quiet for a bit, which won't maybe go over too well, but professional work starts with getting a straight recording, and a noisy set, is a noisy set.

    If you can't quiet the set down to record, you can perhaps replace some audio by getting a new recording later; for example, getting a new take of a babbling brook in the evening once the kiddies have gone in for the night.  That's not always possible for all projects, of course, so we're back to Option A again.

    Failing that, you may be able to use some very carefully-applied equalization to reduce the apparent loudness of the specific background noises, if it's quite different from the audio you want to keep, spectrally-speaking.  Often, this will come down to spot-correction of each offensive bit in the track.  You may also be able to cut bits of "clean" background from other parts into the nasty areas, but that can be hit and miss, and requires some expertise to avoid the artifacts sticking out and becoming noticeable as a "bad" edit.  Other options get a little crazier and more technical, and the best ones these days rely on high-end software that's able to analyze the audio and selectively kill the background stuff by a combination of both frequency and dynamic targeting, so it can attack audio of a certain spectrum, and within a certain range of loudness in the file, only.... very sneaky, and impressive in what it can do, though it's a definite skill to set it up to get the best out of it, and it's generally available in the more pro rigs, which you can expect to pay real money for.  That said, if you're stuck dead, I do have such equipment, and I'll happily process some ugly bits for you, if I think they can be successfully cleaned up, and if it would really benefit your project.

    If nothing else, the neighbourly background adds a wholesome community feel to the presentation... : )
     
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