What Gear Do I Need?
In this video we are going to go over the gear required to record audio for an interview. When it comes to recording sound for interviews, there isn’t a lot of gear needed to do the job. Let’s go over each item you are going to need and get you ready for application in the next few videos.
The microphone is the most important part of the chain. It is what represents the ears of your listener. My first advice to you is don’t just grab the “stick mic” from the camera bag. Like cameras and lenses, these microphone manufacturers are absolutely incredible and deserve to have their technical achievements understood. When you always go for the “Rode”, or the “416”, you always end up limiting the capabilities of our your soundtrack can tell a story. Also, a microphone only sounds as good as it does until you compare it to another.
Boom Poles are used to suspend the microphone over the top of the interviewee. They can be made of different materials and also are manufactured to different lengths. Most Sound Mixers and Boom Operators own at least a few different kinds of poles (smaller versions for traveling, larger poles for narrative, medium size for ENG Sound Work).
Shock Mounts are for suspending the microphone on top of your boom pole. There are many different kinds of shock mounts that all look different proving to be the quietest and perfect shock mount. It all depends on the application. When selecting shock mounts, you need to ensure that the shape of the microphone will work with the mount.
C Stands are like Robot Arms that don’t get tired. Actually they are not really robots. They are just super awesome and keep the microphone perfectly still during the interview, which helps for extremely long takes.
If you own a C Stand, you purchase a Sand Bag to go with it. No exception. It helps the center of gravity stay in the middle. I repeat, do not use a C Stand without a Sand Bag!
You can either purchase your own or make them yourself! You need cables to run not only from your Boom Pole to the Recorder, but also the Recorder to the Camera! What about the audio cables in your bag connecting your receiver to the recorder? You should always have spares! Check out our Soldering 101 Course and start saving thousands over the life of your career!
The Recorder is probably the second most important item on the list, as it serves as the primary recorder for the audio. Nowadays, there are so many viable options for you to use that it shouldn’t be hard finding one to meet your needs. The one thing I can stress is this: some of the recorders will wow you with a lot of tracks and all these features that you may never use. If you are working on a production that requires you to wire multiple people, you best not be producing or operating as well. Get a recorder that fits the scope of the gig, and hire an operator when the amount of tracks required gets a little too high.
A few options that you might consider are:
- Sound Devices MixPre-10T
- Sound Devices MixPre-6
- Sound Devices MixPre-3
- Zoom F8n
- Zoom F8
Headphones are most important. You need to be able to monitor your audio accordingly. Make sure you aren’t getting a pair that boosts frequencies like the bass. You want the flattest pair you can find. To be honest, if you are starting out, almost everyone starts off with the Sony MDR 7506. They are at all the rental houses and are considered an industry standard because they are very flat and about $100 in price. You will buy about 10-20 pairs of these in your lifetime and a professional engineer, almost guaranteed.
This is meant more for the bigger productions. If you see producers, directors, and even agency, it is time to pull out the IFB Systems you can let other people listen in to the audio. Other situations where people need to listen are camera operators that need to hear the mix for a specific cues.