Crown Audio by Harman

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How can I record dialog and ambience for video?

My nephew is producing a cinematic video short that involves location recording of dialog and ambient sounds. Any recommendations?

Reply: Here are some suggestions:
Dialog method 1: Clip an omni lavalier mic (such as the Crown GLM-100) onto the talent about 8 inches below the chin, and plug the mic into the camcorder with a suitable adapter, phantom supply, etc. You could use a wireless lav (GLM-100E) and a receiver plugged into the camcorder. Some people hide the mic under clothing, but this muffles the sound (reduces high frequencies) unless the clothing fabric is thin. Band-aid the cable to the clothing so that the mic doesn't rub against the fabric and create noise.

Dialog method 2: Get a supercardioid or hypercardioid mic, or rent a shotgun mic. An alternative is the Crown CM-700 cardioid condenser microphone. Gaffer-tape the mic's swivel mount to a bamboo pole or long dowel from a hardware store, so that the mic aims down about 45 degrees when the pole is horizontal. Hold the mic close to the person speaking, usually overhead or sometimes underneath, just out of the view of the camera. Put a foam windscreen on the mic if it's used outdoors. If possible, filter out lows below 100 Hz to reduce rumble and handling noise. The CM-700 has a bass-tilt switch for this purpose. Monitor the audio with headphones to make sure you are getting consistent volume pickup without handling noise.

Ambient sounds: Get a stereo mic such as the Crown SASS-P MKII, or use a flash recorder with a built-in stereo mic. For moving shots, hold the mic in your hand or find some way to affix it to the camcorder. For stationary shots, put the mic on a mic stand. Use a windscreen outdoors. If you have a multitrack recorder or you are using a flash recorder, record the stereo ambience on separate tracks from the dialog. Mix the ambience tracks with the dialog track on your computer during post production. If you don't have a multitrack recorder, do the mix live on location with a small mixer while monitoring with headphones.