Sound and video Recorder

March 20, 2017
Explore Superior Sound The Q4

My philosophy for video production at Wistia is quite simple: keep it simple.

A simple setup makes it way easier to spin up and just start making a video. It's why we've chosen to turn a conference room into a studio, it's why I love using a shotgun microphone, and it's the main reason why we use the Canon 5D camera.

The 5D is my favorite camera for a bunch of different reasons, but I'm not going to write (yet another) love letter to Canon. Instead, I want to share how we get around the Canon 5D's greatest downfall: capturing audio.

Quick start: the settings

This is a super speedy breakdown of the settings we use. If any of this is unclear, read on for a longer explanation!

  • H4n powering microphone with phantom power enabled +48V
  • H4n input volume is around 40-50
  • H4n headphone volume is around 60
  • 5D Mark III sound recording is on manual, dialed way down
  • Record simultaneously on the H4n as a backup
  • Monitor the 5D audio by plugging in headphones

The longer explanation

I run the ME-66/K6 microphone XLR into channel 1 of the H4n audio recorder. With the H4n turned on, I make sure to select the "1" input button. This activates the XLR inputs, as opposed to the built-in mic input.

The ME-66 requires power from either a AA battery or from what's called phantom power. I use the latter. Head into the H4n menu and enable phantom power (or +48V). This will save you from having to turn the microphone on and off. Using phantom power, the microphone will receive power only when the H4n is on.

Now, it's time for the mic test! Adjust the H4n headphone volume to around 60. This controls the volume of sound going to the headphones.

Arm the H4N by clicking the REC button once. It'll start flashing (but it's not recording). Put some headphones on and plug them into the H4n to ensure a solid baseline test of the levels. Don't just have your talent say "test test test"; rather, ask them to speak with energy, as they're going to speak in your video, to ensure realistic levels.

Adjust the rec volume (using the buttons on the right side of the H4n) so that the levels are hitting around the 75% mark on the meter. We're usually at around 40 for the rec volume.

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