Audio seems to be the neglected medium of business video and we’re here to be the catalyst you need to getting great quality without having to outsource. There is the great alternative of using your iPhone, but that won’t scale as your video production endeavors do. To get you started on scaleable audio recording, we’ll cover what types of sound equipment you’ll need!
First off, audio that is scaleable and of professional quality won’t come cheap. Professional quality audio will require prosumer equipment. While it isn’t necessarily a bargain, our audio equipment costs a manageable $315 and we found the main hurdle in sound wasn’t pricing but the lack knowledge of what it requires.
- 1 Mic Kit
- Field Recorder
- XLR Cable
- Noise Cancelling Headphones
- Boom Pole
- SD Card
There are plenty of affordable Mic kits out there, most come with an XLR cable as well! A good mic that we would recommend you use will run you from anywhere of $60-120. Ours is a shotgun mic. This is a directional mic, which means it has to be pointed directly at the sound source to pick up the best audio. Other mics that can work are omni-directional mics (similar to what you see from reporters) or a lavalier mic.
Of all three, lavalier mics are the best suited for business video purposes due to their flexibility within a shot. Their main draw is they can cost upwards of $700 alone and require more training to use properly. Therefore, we recommend everyone to opt for the shotgun mic as it is great for beginners and requires minimal technical knowledge, while maintaining high audio quality.
For a field recorder we recommend the H4N which is priced usually around $200. But any field recorder with an XLR input will do the trick. This device will record your audio and with a decently sized SD card can hold hours upon hours of audio. This device is also flexible and can be used to record interviews with clients/prospective employees, record at events or anywhere on the field. So you get more than a studio piece of sound equipment with this device.
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Noise canceling headphones are needed as well. The fortunate thing with sound is that it’s hard to mess up: What you hear in real time through the headphones is how it will sound. While listening you’ll be able to make adjustments and can avoid any unnecessary surprises in post production because you can hear it.
A boom pole is good for a two man crew. Stands are available, but can cost extra. This all depends on your setup, man-power and targeted use. Rigging the mic and putting it in prime position is important, so if you’ve come this far do not overlook this basic necessity.
Basic Set-up Scenario
Examine location and make note of any sound interferences (echo, A/C, hardwood floors, etc). Account for those as best as you can. Check all your equipment’s battery levels (having audio die out on a shot renders it unusable!) and load your field recorder with an empty SD card and format it. Hook your mic up to the field recorder and arm it to the line you plugged it into. Get the talent in place and do some sound tests. And that’s it! -for set up at least.
There you have it, a crash course on the equipment needed to record great audio! Having at least these five pieces of equipment will allow you to record stellar audio and impress prospects and clients with professional looking and sounding content.