Choose a quiet setting: You ideally want to be in a quiet, possibly sound-proof, closed-off area.
Wear headphones: Someone on your crew should always be wearing headphones and monitoring the audio.
Place your microphone strategically: The approriate distance between the speaker's mouth and the microphone is 8 to 12 inches. This prevents capturing "popping" noises and heavy breathing in your recording.
Check your levels: Your microphone levels should never peak into the red during your test. The optimal point for your microphone levels is just below the red.
Record ambient sound: At the end of any interview or any scene of b-roll, record 30 seconds of ambient sound. This will come in very handy when you are editing your documentary's soundtrack in post-production.
Capture sound effects: While filming on-location, there will be many great opportunities to record sound effects. Don't miss the chance.
Speak clearly and articulate your words: Remember to speak conversationally, whether during an interview or narration, as if you were speaking to a close friend.
Listen to the audio playback: Don't be afraid to start over if you made a mistake!
Recording Audio for Interviews
This LinkedIn Learning course is a must-see for anyone shooting documentaries. It includes invaluable information about choosing and mounting mics in an interview setting.
SENNHEISER SHOTGUN MICROPHONE - The Sennheiser Shotgun microphone is a "directional microphone" that is intended for on camera use. This is a great microphone to use for interviews where your subject is stationary.
BOOM POLE KIT - This kit includes a boom pole and microphone. This kit is great for recording sound effects or interviews. The microphone performs best when close to the source, but can still capture sound from far away.
Zoom H4N Audio Recorder -A portable recording device and a 2-channel USB interface in one palm-sized unit, the H4n Pro Handy Recorder from Zoom features a built-in stereo microphone, two low-noise preamps with combination XLR / 1/4" inputs, multiple recording modes, on-board effects, a built-in metronome, a chromatic tuner, and more
Use this premium digital voice recorder three ways: record music, notes, lectures and other audio; play back MP3, WMA or AAC audio files; or store and transport data and files with its built-in 2GB flash memory. With a swing-out USB arm that connects directly to your PC or Mac, you can drag and drop files between the recorder and your computer easily.
Editing rooms are also available at Gelardin New Media Center located on the 1st floor of Lauinger Library. Here you can record audio and voiceovers as well as edit them with Garageband. Schedule a consultation with a multimedia specialist here.