How do you record audio?

To record audio you need two key pieces of equipment, a microphone and an audio recorder.

Microphones are commonly characterised by their pickup pattern which indicates how the microphone picks up sounds around it. Omnidirectional microphones equally record audio 360° around the capsule. Directional microphones record sounds in front of the capsule, and reject off-axis sounds. Directional microphones come in varying degree of directionality.

There are a variety of different microphones that are special suited so certain situations. Examples include:

  • Lavalier: Omnidirectional microphone clipped to the subject, great for both indoor and outdoor use when your subject is moving through a scene
  • Shotgun: Hyper-directional microphone ideal for filming dialogue outdoors
  • Cardioid: Directional microphone best suited for recording dialogue indoor. Less directional than a shotgun with more pleasing off-axis sound reproduction.

Your microphone will be plugged into an audio recorder using professional grade XLR cables. Audio recorders come in a variety of shapes, sizes and input numbers. Smaller audio recorders will have 2 or 3 inputs, larger audio recorders can have over 10 input channels.

The most important feature in an audio recorder is the pre-amps. Pre-amps boost the analogue signal from the microphone to create a line level before being recorded. When you boost the signal, you introduce gain and noise. Entry level audio recorders usually have poor pre-amps which means that they introduce noise into the recording.

At Story Ninety-Four we use industry standard Sound Devices audio recorders with their excellent kashmir pre-amps, perfect for recording dialogue and sound effects.

Last Updated:
February 2021

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