Probably one of the most overlooked and underrated areas in filmmaking is audio. Audio is 50% of the experience and is often underestimated. Have you ever watched a movie on mute? Not even close to the same experience. Have you ever tried just listening to a movie? Eyes shut and just listening... you can still follow the story without much confusion. Audio is so powerful. Until I went to film school, I had no idea how much work went into creating the soundscape for a film. I thought I knew but it wasn't until I wrote and directed my own short film that I truly understood. Now obviously in the wedding filmmaking industry, we don't have the option of having an entire audio team come along on a wedding shoot. When we shoot, it's usually a team of 2 and we need extremely hi quality audio in a small package. Here are the tools we use and love.
||Shotgun Mics|| When shooting on HDSLR's, do NOT use the on board microphones. They are complete garbage. Yeah I said it, garbage. Trust me even if you think it doesn't sound all that bad, it does. It may sound ok on your computer speakers but remember all the different types of speakers and systems your film will be played on, the onboard mics just won't do. We use two different types of mics, the Senheiser MKE400 and the Rode VideoMic. Both of these offer superb localized audio. We tend to like the audio that comes out of the VideoMic a little better but they are both fantastic.
||Wireless Mics|| People often ask us how we capture the vows and speeches so clearly. The answer is wireless microphones. We use the Senheiser ew100 G2 system and an omni-directional mic. This allows us to strap a mic on the lapel of the groom and it captures crystal clear audio in about a 3 foot radius. Just don't forget to find the groom and set him up before the ceremony begins... that would suck.
||Recorder|| Now with HDSLR's you've probably realized there are no XLR inputs. There are systems out there that you can add to your camera that will give you XLR inputs but we find those systems don't work well for us. It ends up being added bulk and not great quality. Instead we opt for dual system sound. This is when the sound is recorded separately and then synced up in post. To do this we use the Zoom H4N. This little gem is just what we need. It allows us to record for hours on end without dying and easily adjust quality settings and audio levels. We highly recommend the Zoom.
||Post Production Audio|| Now since there is definitely no time to slate each shot you take during a wedding, syncing audio in post can seem a bit daunting. But have no fear, Plural Eyes by Singular Software will save you hours of time and headaches and is well worth the $150 price tag. This program syncs up all of your audio in your timeline for you. If your syncing audio manually, do yourself a favour and check Plural Eyes out.
So that's it. Extremely high quality audio in a very small package. If you have any questions on how we use these tools or anything else please feel free to leave a comment, shoot us an email or talk to us on twitter.