9 Advanced Techniques for Novice Filmmakers



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This article is wrong in so many ways.
First, the Zoom H4 has been discontinued for a while. Why are you recommending it? The H4n is the current and much improved model. Also, as others have pointed out a good lav mic (or camera mounted directional mic) will improve sound with out all the hassles of double-system sound (i.e. a separate recorder).

You say "the Zoom’s internal clock is different from the Mac and your camcorder" it's a lot more complicated than that. And unless there is a flaw in the Zoom's design this statement in incorrect. Sync drift is much more likely to be "operator error"

Re-recording into your computer! Holy crap what a bad idea. This will not solve the fundamental sync problem if you don't use the correct settings (which he doesn't mention) plus it introduces the possibility of all sorts of noise and distortion.
Typically the problem of drift is caused by setting the audio sample rate incorrectly. Final Cut will try and compensate by resampling the audio or play it at a slighty different speed. Either way you get drift.
A correctly set up camera (standard frame rate, highest quality, 48Khz audio) and an audio recorder (48Khz, 16 or 24 bits) will stay in sync for several minutes. (In other words if you use LP mode on your camcorder all bets are off). You need professional equipment to keep anything in sync longer than that. So why suggest double-system sound?

I find it odd that Steve Paris is listed as a MacLife staffer but no e-mail address is listed. I would have contacted directly rather than calling him out in public but I didn't have that option.



Talk about adding too many steps. You can get great audio with a $20 lav mic from Amazon and avoid about five steps. Separate audio is more pro level. I see many novices losing their sanity over this. I have never been an "average user" but I know lots of them and for some, getting them to attach a file to email can be a hassle.

This is just bad advice for newbs.




I realize the sound quality and battery advantage of using a separate audio recorder but for a cheapskates approach, would a mic plugged into my MacBook Pro's line in jack and recording in Garage Band work? Any problems that you might see occurring?


Steve Paris

Hi McJones

You'd have to try it out yourself to make sure, but my only concern would be the noise coming out of your laptop. Mics can be very sensitive and some MacBooks' fans can be very noisy...

Your mileage may vary, but this could be a little too cheapskates :)

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