Sound is the most important aspect in filming. Nothing trumps story but if you want your story to convey you need great sound and it all starts with a quality microphone and the ability to record clean audio. The technology hasn't changed a lot over the years. The thing you probably want to start with is a great shot gun microphone on a boom. We bought our Sennheiser same one listed here over 10 years ago and it still works great after a dozen feature productions. You will find it being used on sound stages in Hollywood on studio projects. Even wireless microphones still haven't embraced a Bluetooth option. Digital audio recorders have changed as the technology improves and gets cheaper. The point we want to make here is that getting a great microphone is something that you will own and use for a very long time unlike a camera or even lighting.
Sound Tips: Always keep this in mind even if you are not doing sound. These are the checks to make before you start recording be sure to keep an eye on these even if you have a sound guy. 1) Turn off Refrigerators 2) Turn off computers (hard drives have fans and spin) 3) HVAC systems should be off. These things make noise you don't hear that the microphones will pick up and destroy your audio. Keep in mind temperature issues when picking locations and also if you are filming in a restaurant that has food or freezers that are hard wired and can't be turned off. (If they go off food spoils!)
There are a lot of great high quality digital audio recorders. Zoom H4N PRO Digital Multitrack Recorder - 2016 Version is the most popular and a #1 Best seller on amazon due to it's price point of generally being available for under $200. The quality of it's recording is amazing. It does a good job of recording left and right ambient audio while you can plug in extra microphones and record numerous channels. It records clean very usable audio. This could very well be the cheapest way to get high production value on a movie production dollar for dollar. Strategically place this device on set to decrease the amount of folly you need to do later.
1. Sennheiser ME66/K6 - Industry Standard
There isn't much more that you need to know then this microphone is the industry standard. We use that term based on the fact that it has been a top seller for over a decade and can be found on sound stages in Hollywood at the studios. You will get crisp clean audio. Just know that this microphone gets the job done. It's an investment that will pay dividend for years to come. Compared to the costs of other gear it's relatively inexpensive. Dollar for dollar nothing can give you more value on a production. It's also a work horse. More importantly it's durable and will last a long time with heavy use.
One thing to note about this product is that you can purchase a kit or each part individually. In our opinion the kits don't offer very much value. This microphone will pick up boom pole noise. We purchased a kit with a boom pole and the cord is part of the pole. This is to say that it goes thru the pole and is not held on the outside. The problem is that unless you always make sure that the cord is taught you will pick up that noise when the operator moves. The solution we found was to use this on a stand and not have a human hold it over the actors. We noticed that on sound stages this was generally mounted on the ceiling. Another great feature is that you don't need to get too close to the actors to pick up clean sound so you can place the boom stand over the actors well out of the recording frame line. Keep in mind because this is light you can use a cheap pole and cheap stand and get great results. Notice we listed the product name ME66/K6. These are two parts. The K6 is the power and the ME66 is the actual mic.
- Industry standard
- Crisp clean sound
- Relatively inexpensive
- Work horse
- Picks up cable rattle
- Best if mounted on stand
- Battery powered