Recently we took our first look at the sound equipment, in case we planned to use it in our projects. We were shown different types of mic and their best uses:

Dynamic mic, e.g. Shure SM58 – the typical ‘singer’ mic. Not hugely sensitive so suitable for high pressure/close range sound like singing of for recording a guitar amp, but will register unwanted bangs/taps.

Shotgun mic, e.g. Rode NT G-2 – Very sensitive, doesn’t need close proximity. Will pick up background noise, so best used with a windshield or ‘dead cat’ to deaden unwanted noise. Can be used with a boom pole to reach awkward places, or to keep the mic out of a filmed shot.

Studio/Condenser mic – Very sensitive, dynamic mic useful for dialogue and voiceovers. Use pop shield to deflect breathing noises/other unwanted sounds.

Reporter mic – typical handheld mic used by reporters, used to record speaking voices. Long handle to avoid being invasive when held in people’s faces. Can have a clip-on part for network logos, etc.

Zoom H5 recorder – has very sensitive mics on board. Can check levels right there on the device before recording. Levels should be around 75% to pick up sound well and leave headroom to avoid clipping the mic.

Auto Gain Control – will try to anticipate levels you need it to be, though is not perfect. Good for when you can’t monitor the signal or unexpected noise levels may happen.

Clip mic – wired (goes to recorder) or wireless (goes to belt pack). Good for picking up voices in a context where a visible mic is acceptable – i.e, useable for a tv interview but not for a period drama.

Important things to consider when setting up for sound:

Equipment chosen
Placement of mic
Getting correct levels

Examples of when each might be used:

Foley work, e.g. recording leaves crunching outside:
Shotgun mic with windshield, portable recorder, Headphones. Lots of takes & of varying lengths to give more options for using the sound.

Sitting-down interview would be a clip mic. Outside or standing up, reporter mic.

Rock band, live or recorded: Recorded – everything is played separately. Live, mic on individual instruments, going to a mixer. Needs multiple mics, lots of money & a good sound engineer.

Guitar amp: Shure on a stand, very close.

We also took a look at some of the software used to alter the sound in post, and how to cut out unwanted noise or boost the sound levels on audio that is too quiet.