Boom microphone A boom microphone, one of those big microphones that look sort of
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like the hat worn by a guard at Buckingham Palace, on the end of a long pole, is one of the best ways to get good sound on your production It s also the most expensive, and probably the most labor intensive You need two people, at least, to operate the system You will also want a synchronized audio deck, although you could plug it directly into your pro-level DV camera The boom operator should have strong arms and good shoes, because they will be holding the boom and standing on their feet for a long time as you work
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Lavalier The alternative to the boom is the lavalier A lavalier is a small clip-on
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microphone that can be hidden on an actor so that it can t be seen on camera It is usually wireless, and sends the audio directly to the DV cam or audio deck The beauty of a lavalier, other than its size, is its directional capabilities When placed on a collar of a shirt, it picks up the actor s voice with clarity and isolation It s also much less expensive than a boom microphone Sometimes, you ll hear it referred to as a lav, or a lapel mike Along with the lavalier microphone, you ll have a transmitter and a receiver to deal with The transmitter usually looks like a pager (although it s larger) and clips on to a belt or a piece of clothing Lavalier microphone systems can cost anywhere from $50 to $750 to buy, but you can always rent them for much less For their versatility, they re among the best solutions you ll run across Lavaliers can also be used for great effect to pick up ambient sound You can keep one lav for localized audio on vocals, and another simultaneously to record sounds of shoes walking, or crowds harrumphing
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Built-in microphone The built-in microphone on your DV camera or camcorder is a
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cheap, easy way of getting muddy, wind-distorted audio packed with a lot of background noise If you can t find a lavalier for rent or on sale, then you always have the plastic condenser microphone built into your recording device this is not recommended, but when you have no alternative, you use what you ve got
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All-in-one digital recorder A relatively cheap alternative to the built-in microphone is
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the all-in-one digital recorder Some of these are about as big as a chewing gum package, and can act as cheap versions of a lavalier You may have trouble converting the audio to your computer later, however, and find yourself outputting your audio via the earphone jack into the input plug on your PC
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Handheld wireless microphone These solid, hefty microphones are good for
interview situations where you have a host or reporter controlling the audio input by directing the microphone to the speaker A good-quality handheld wireless system will cost from $450 to $1500
Flash-drive Microphone Finally, there is a new, although obvious, solution to the
handheld audio input The flash-drive Microphone looks like a traditional wireless handheld, but it s actually a lot more Inside the shaft is a flash drive, similar to those keychain drives you carry with you all the time (you do carry one, don t you ) You turn the microphone on and record your audio into the mic, where it is stored on a memory chip At the base of the microphone is a USB connector, so you can download your audio directly to the PC or Mac without any loss of quality Unfortunately, at this writing, these new-ish microphones are on the expensive side, running from $1200 to $1500 As you can see, when you re making a video, you re really making a video/audio Even silent films have soundtracks So it behooves you to make yourself aware of the basics involved with audio input You needn t become an expert As long as your audio is clear and
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understandable, you can use the video editing software tools discussed in 2, and later in this book, to help you put the whole package together, to make your video a complete and finished piece You can and probably will add the audio track during the editing process So you could, in theory, film your video without sound, and then add the soundtrack later Of course, it s a good idea to have both in place and then replace what you need to replace later s 9 and 10 discuss this further