Budget Filmmaking – Don’t Sound Cheap, Get Rid of DSLR Hiss!

You ever pour all of your time and effort into making a piece only to find out your audio sucks? Yeah, been there. Never fall into the “we’ll fix it in post!” mentality — be proactive!

If you have the cash to invest into proper sound equipment for your setup — you should. I personally just got myself a Rode VideoMic and a Zoom H1 Handy Recorder. The combination gives really clean, solid sound. While spending over $200 on sound equipment may not be feasible for you, consider that the price of higher end equipment. You’re getting a lot of bang for your buck in this situation!

Here is a quick test clip of my current setup. In the first clip, the audio is flat and has a lot of background noise. In the second clip, the audio is rich and has dimension, but that DSLR hiss is still there. On the final clip, we have the Rode VideoMic plugged into the Zoom H1 and you get crisp, clear sounds.

There are work arounds, of course. If you’re really in a pinch and have a friend with a good phone or a tablet, use that with a dictation app. When the footage for my piece “A Dream Come True” had subpar audio, it turned out that my interviewer used her iPad to keep an audio recording of the interview. That audio actually improved the piece ten-fold.

Think about it — your audience will not only have to watch your work, they’ll have to hear it too. So make sure it’s as good as you can get it. How do you capture the perfect sound on a budget?


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