Pro audio tip: How to record decent audio for a DSLR

If you’re looking to record video on a DSLR or a camera like the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera, you’re very quickly going to notice that, although you’re extremely well catered for in the lens and recording media departments, the majority of DSLR cameras don’t have anything like the audio connectivity that a traditional video camera offers.

There are some great on-camera mics such as the RODE VideoMic Pro but if you need multiple sources, you need to think about the workflow.

The old field mixer way

A traditional way of approaching this is with one of the many field mixers out there, which allow you to connect multiple sources and then submit this down to your camera’s audio input – usually a stereo minijack. However, this approach has a couple of pitfalls. Firstly, many of these are passive devices and don’t offer phantom power for higher quality shotgun mics. Secondly, you are limited to the audio recording capability of your camera, which is typically a compressed audio format and may have poor noise performance.

Most critically, you have no way of monitoring levels accurately – you may have adequate levels if you plug headphones into the mixer, but you can’t monitor the audio that’s actually being recorded onto the camera itself, which may be too quiet or, worse, too loud and distorting.

The better audio recorder way

A better approach is to use a separate audio recorder. A recorder such as the Tascam DR-60D (or its bigger brother, the Tascam DR-70D) attaches to the bottom of the camera via the tripod mount (and in turn provides its own mount fixtures on the base) and offers dedicated XLR inputs with phantom power, high quality converters, 24bit/96kHz uncompressed recording of up to four tracks at once, and the ability to monitor the actual audio which is being recorded.

Tascam DR-70D on Jigsaw24

As well as meaning you’ll never come back from a shoot to find you have no usable sound, these units also simultaneously pass a mixdown back to the camera, so you have a backup and a guide for easy sound alignment in post. And the best thing is, with all these additional features, they work out better value than most of the rather more inferior camera mixers available.

Sounds like a no-brainer to me…

Want to know more about Tascam’s DR-60D and DR-70D audio recorders? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email audio@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Audio on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Rob H
Rob H
Call us: 03332 409 306

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