Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Audio Recording Tips

Common Recording Problems

BROKEN EQUIPMENT> always check to make sure equipment is working before you leave BU equipment shop. You do not want to schlep to an interview, set up and find out, oops, you don’t have working equipment. THIS IS THE NUMBER ONE PROBLEM STUDENTS ENCOUNTER AND ITS ENTIRELY AVOIDABLE.

BATTERIES> always make sure batteries are charged and/or you have fresh supply of batteries with you in case yours die in the field.

They will bob and weave in and away from the mic and drop the mic as they get tired.

LEVELS. Especially on the Zoom recorders, make sure menu is programmed to correct mic input. Watch the levels, get in close.

BAD MIC CABLE CONNECTION> make sure all your cables are securely connected. If audio drops out abruptly and completely, or intermittently drops out, its probably a loose cable.

MIC HANDLING> be sure cables are not swinging around hitting the deck or the surrounding area. Keep cables tightly held in your hand or in the bag.

“MMM, uh-hah, hmm,” KEEP YOUR MOUTH SILENT during the interview. Everytime you sniffle, cough, clear your throat, or grunt, the mic will pick it up and permanently make it part of your interview. Get in the habit of nodding your head, not saying, “yeah, uh-huh, yeah, uh-huh”

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION > After tape is rolling, get person to identify himself on tape, tell you the weather, then stop and check to make sure that recorded. Listen for strange room tones, buzzing from flourescent lights, clicks and beeps from computers and phones. MOVE TO A QUIETER LOCATION if necessary.

RECORD ROOM TONE after interview is complete. one minute of no one talking, just room noises. Will help with later editing.

Record ambience after interview is done in quiet location and mix two together later.

PAUSE between questions and answers so that you don’t “step” on a soundbite. Leave plenty of pad on the end after your last answer.

Types of microphones:

MICRPHONES (omni, uni, shot gun, lav) wind screens. Omnis record everything in all directions equally, which is usually fine for most journalism assignments. Occassionally in a crowd situation where the newsmaker is many feet away from you, a shotgun uni-directional mic is necessary. Use foam windscreens for any outdoor recording...and even indoors to avoid implosions, popped P's.



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