A beginners adventure into film from an audience member to behind the camera

Equipment – Zoom H4n audio recorder

I’ve had the zoom H4n, for a few months now and am still learning on how to fully utilize this amazing little device. Its a portable sound recorder that has to pretty decent built in mics that can adjust to fit a wide or narrow spread, as well as two inputs for regular size or XLR inputs. These inputs can also provide phantom power as well so you have a pretty versatile set of options for recording sound.


I planned on using the built in mics at first and expanding my equipment later on, I was fortunate enough on my last project Making the Grade, to work with an individual who had some pretty nice MXL mics that he let me use. We were easily able to plug the mics in with a nice 12″ XLR cable, monitor the sound through the output with some headphones on the H4n, and we used a slate to create a spike in teh audio to be able to sync the on camera Audio with that from my D90. Once we got the hang of it the workflow was surprisingly easy. (Just have to remember you have to push record TWICE to record, and the stop button, not the record button to stop.)

You can either put this on camera, or set it up on a stand, next to your actor just out of frame and have someone run boom next to him (which i like to do). I highly recommend this little device if you need some pretty clean sound for recording your music and short films and don’t have a fortune to spend.


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