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I want to use my DSLR for recording a short movie. I realized, that with built-in microphone, the quality of dialogues will be very bad.

What could I use for recording better quality audio? I was thinking of using two clip-on microphones, but I don't know, how can I mix the sound.

I am amateur, so I'm not going for professional equipment, rather something I'm going to use once, so price is also important.

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  • You can use two sided stereo lavalier microphones which will work for two people (giantsquidaudiolab.com/gs/gs-cardioidstereo.html) with a portable recorder, you can also record the sound directly into the DSLR if it allows it. Just disable auto gain. And equalize/compress during editing. – Gabriel Meono Jan 19 '14 at 2:59
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Great question. If you're only going to do this once, then make sure you record the audio on the camera--it would be a hassle to sync audio recorded from another source later. But you don't have to use the camera's crappy microphone to do this.

Before I dive into my 2 solutions, let me just say, you can rent all kinds of good gear out there on the Internets and through you local camera store. Because this is just a one-time thing, it may not be worth buying something new.

Fancy Wireless 2-mic $etup:

I use two wireless battery-powered lapel microphones. Each of them has its own battery-powered wireless receiver. I connect these to a JuicedLink mounted to my tripod, and mount my Canon 60D to the JuicedLink. The JuicedLink functions as my mixer/pre-amp. One microphone goes to L, and the other goes to R. My camera records in stereo, so now I have 2 independent audio tracks to mix in Final Cut Pro X. This means I can EQ and Compress each actor/interviewee independently.

Shotgun 2-mic Setup:

This setup is around $1,800, camera and tripod not included, but fear not, there are lots of ways to record 2 microphone inputs in stereo. One way to cut cost would be to drop wireless in favor of wired. Another would be to drop the JuicedLink.

For example, you could purchase 2 battery-powered shotgun mics. Shotgun mics have a highly selective hyper-cardioid pickup pattern. They also have a lot more range because they are phantom-powered. (That's also why you need batteries; don't count on getting that power from your camera.) They could mounted on mic stands and wired like this:

[Shotgun 1]--(XLR)--[XLR to 1/4" mono]--[1/4" Y]--\
                                                   \__[1/4" stereo]--[1/8"]---[Camera]
                                                   /
[Shotgun 2]--(XLR)--[XLR to 1/4" mono]--[1/4" Y]--/

Bottom line: If you want to mix 2 channels of audio, record the audio on the camera. That way, it's already synced with your video. And if your camera can record in stereo, split it left and right.

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You could use either a cheap mixer or a multi-track recorder. There are some pretty cheap two channel mixers you could get for doing this or for a little bit more (a couple hundred) you can get (or more cheaply rent) a multi-track recorder, such as the Zoom h4n, that would allow you to actually record different tracks for each of the two mics and mix them in post.

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Something as simple as a hotshoe mounted shotgun mic could improve the audio quality significantly.

If the camera needs to be far away from the people speaking, a boom pole and an extension cable or external recorder like one of the Zooms would be helpful.

  • That also depends on how far apart the speakers are. If they aren't relatively close, a shotgun mic may pick up one more than the other. – AJ Henderson Jan 23 '14 at 16:24
  • @AJ That's the job of the boom swinger - to point the boom mic at whoever is speaking. – stib Mar 11 '14 at 10:14
  • @stib you don't have a boom operator with a hot shoe mounted shotgun mic. If they are far enough apart two shotgun mics would be needed. – AJ Henderson Mar 11 '14 at 12:38
  • Sure, I was speaking more about the second paragraph. – stib Mar 11 '14 at 12:46

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