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Step 6 Ways to Record Sound with External Devices

Sound is a very important part of shooting video. Some would argue the most important part. But recording high quality sound can be a little tricky with DSLR cameras. Since DSLRs are designed for shooting stills but can also shoot video, many cameras limit your ability to record and to monitor sound through the camera. But there's hope!


As Philip explains, there are a few options you can use to get great sound.

External microphones
Your DSLR camera records sound, but the quality isn't that great. What's a quick way to record better sound? One word: external microphones. Okay, that's two words. External microphones usually attach to the top of your camera and plug into the camera's microphone jack on the side. There are different types of external microphones, but the two most common are shotgun and stereo microphones. Depending on what you are shooting you will want to use different microphones. Shooting with shotgun and stereo microphones isn't perfect, but it is much better than just using the mic built into your camera's body.

External audio recorders
Use these to record sound separately from the camera. Although these devices cost extra, they will really improve the ability to record and monitor sound. The hard thing about recording audio separately is that you’ll have to sync up the sound later in the editing process. There are programs you can use that will do it for you, like PlurelEyes, but do some research for other options as well.

XLR boxes
XLR is a type of audio connection used on professional sound devices. Think of the microphone you use when you sing karaoke at the bar -- that uses an XLR cable. Use XLR boxes to give your camera professional inputs for sound. Some will even let you monitor levels on the box itself. XLR boxes allow you to plug in higher quality microphones that you might use to shoot a short film or interview.
For extra credit...
Intrigued? Want to learn more about the basics of sound? Well you're in luck because Vimeo staffer Matt Schwarz has cooked up an awesome Lesson that's just waiting for your hungry eyes to ingest. Ok enough of this.. get to the learning!
  • Introduction to DSLR Cameras

    New to shooting with a DSLR? Maybe you're thinking about getting one? We'll teach…

  • Setting up your DSLR

    This lesson covers a few simple changes you can make to your camera settings in order to get…

  • DSLR Lenses

    If you're new to shooting with a DSLR, here are some things you'll need to know about…

  • DSLR Accessories

    Accessories are important as you start shooting. Learn about what you definitely need and things…

  • Shooting video with a DSLR

    Keys to understanding your camera settings and how to start shooting great video with your DSLR.

  • Recording sound for DSLRs

    Recording high quality sound for your DSLR can be tricky business. Here are a few ways to help…

  • Timelapse with a DSLR

    Learn how to make a basic timelapse video with your DSLR.

  • Nighttime Shooting with a DSLR

    Shooting at night with your DSLR? This lesson will give you the tips for making your low light…

Ready for a challenge? So do you feel confident enough to go out and shoot something? Philip has a great starting challenge for you called "An Object." Find an object and film it so that it's interesting! Use all the techniques you learned, keeping in mind your white balance, ISO settings, and frame rate. Keep your video under two minutes and really push your boundaries with framing and DOF. Watch Phil's example video here.

Accept this challenge
, Sound

Recording sound for DSLRs

Recording high quality sound for your DSLR can be tricky business. Here are a few ways to help you record.

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