How To Utilize Dual System Audio (On Your Next Shoot)

How To Utilize Dual System Audio (On Your Next Shoot) by Michael Head

While cinematography is the art of painting with light, an equally important (if not more important) aspect of video production is capturing quality audio. This is because  audiences will forgive poor visuals before they will forgive bad audio.

My first dual system audio includes both a Rode Videomic Pro and the Zoom H2n. Together, they make a great audio system that is flexible and an awesome replacement for a camera’s on-camera microphone.

Dual System Audio with Rode Videomic Pro

How To Utilize Dual System Audio

To get set up, you simply run the 3.5mm line from the Rode into the Line In input on the Zoom. Bad-da-bing – excellent stereo sound. You can even get a 3.5mm extension line and separate the H2n from the Rode by almost any distance.

If you add in a Rode Micro Boom Pole, you will have a complete system for booming audio on set.

Check out the video for a quick overview of the dual system audio, including a few points of caution.

The Good:
– Inexpensive Dual System Audio.
– Quality audio from the microphone and recorder.
– Very small system (I’ve put the microphone in the front seat of a car to capture sounds of the person in the driver’s seat while the camera was outside of the car).
– Allows for audio monitoring through headphones out of the H2n.

The Not-So-Good:
– 3.5mm line is unshielded: i.e., it is susceptible to interference from powerlines, the cell phone in the camera man’s pocket, et al…
– Audio needs to be synced in post production.

Final Thougts:
This is a a great, flexible system for capturing dual system audio, especially for beginning filmmakers.

Whoever you choose to run your audio, be sure that they understand the need to have the microphone close to the subject (but out of sight of the camera) and still monitor the sound being recorded. But make sure your audio pro is watching audio levels as well. For example, avoid accidentally lowering your audio input if the headphones sound too loud.

Quality visuals are important, but capturing quality audio is vital to making your videos and films stand out from more amateur work. Setting up dual system audio is one way to add extra value to your project.

Comments

  1. Frank Casanova says

    “Awful sound” truly is the mark of the amateur.
    Beside capturing good sound on the set, the next skill is to learn how to manipulate that audio in Post / Editing. That’s why they give Oscars for Sound Design.

  2. Sam Longoria says

    Really enjoy this article, thanks for posting it. Too few filmmakers understand how important good location sound is to their production. I’ve judged film festivals, and MOST of the indy films I’ve seen have truly awful sound. All you have to be is “good,” and you’ll beat your competition. I wish I were kidding!

    Sam Longoria
    Producer
    Hollywood CA USA

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