My recent acquisition of a Tascam DR-40 has opened up a new realm of possibilities for me as a videographer. Now I’m able to capture decent audio to go along with my video, and I find myself wanting to re-engage with this art form.
Outdoor video has always been a particular problem for me because of the white noise created by wind. And with the condenser microphones on the DR-40 this becomes an even larger issue. To remedy this, I ordered a windscreen for my recorder. When placed on my device, it looks rather like a troll doll.
The windscreen arrived from Amazon this morning, which left me itching to try it out in a real world setting. I grabbed my tripod, my Nikon D7000, and my Tascam setup with windscreen and headed out into the world. In addition to these items I also brought along a table-top tripod to act as a mic handle, and an adapter for mounting the recorder on my camera.
I headed down to the river with my Son, and we set up along the banks in a nice breeze. I shot four tests, but only three came out 1.
For test one I used the table-top tripod as a handle and kept my settings at what I use for recording my sermons on Sunday morning, though I did add a 40hz low pass filter to help cut down on some of the background static. This was by far my best test, and it required no adjustments after I imported it into Final Cut. Even though there was a steady breeze, and a good deal of activity on the river behind me, my voice came though clear.
For test two I set the microphone volume to sixty-five and mounted the recorder on my DSLR. This was my worst take, as the necessary adjustments applied in Final Cut brought out wind, background hiss, and some river sounds.
Test three again had the device mounted on my DSLR, but I lowered the volume to forty 2 and set the low pass filter to 80hz. The resulting output has an even lower volume, but when necessary adjustments were applied in Final Cut, the resultant sound was much better than test two. The same issues which showed up in test two were again present, but didn’t overpower the subject 3.
This was a excellent first test of outdoor recording with the Tascam, and I’m learning better how to use it every time I turn it on. For interviews where I don’t want the subject to be holding the recorder, I’ve determined I can have the device mounted on my camera, but can be only a foot or two away before the levels get out of whack. In most situations this will not be a problem, but when I cannot have the device in close proximity to the subject, I would rather set my volume lower than higher. Recovering the intended subject’s voice has better results when the recorder didn’t pick up much sound in the first place. I’ll also be experimenting with an XLR handheld microphone and windscreen soon, as then I’m only limited by the length of my cable 4. I may also need to get an XLR shotgun microphone at some point in the future, which opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for multi-track recordings.
I’ve put together a video montage of my three tests and embedded it below. Enjoy!