Cinema School: Lesson 1 – Equipment

Camera:  It can be analog or digital.  Just make sure it’s high definition.  Standard definition will work if you have no other alternative, but you really need HD or Ultra High definition (UHD).

High Definition currently comes in 4 main flavors:

High Definition – 1280 x 720 progressive

Full High Definition – 1920 x 1080 progressive

Ultra High Definition – 3840 x 2160 progressive

Cinema 4k – 4096×2160 progressive

External Sound Recorder:  In-camera sound, even with an external microphone can be hit or miss due to less than suitable in-camera pre-amps.  Instead of using the internal sound, opt for a hand held recorder with XLR and line capability.

Wireless microphones:  Wireless technology can be a bit more difficult to set up, but it allows you to get decent sound without having to depend on others.

Boom Stand: An alternative to a having a sound operator with a boom pole is using a boom stand.  This stand allows you to place a microphone on a telescoping pole.  It is not as handy as having someone boom the talent, but it will allow you to get similar audio coverage during shots featuring little movement.

Shotgun Microphone:  A SHOTGUN microphone is a long, cylindrical microphone that excels at picking up sounds in front of it, while rejecting sounds to the sides and rear. Shotguns are designed to have a narrower focus than an average microphone.

This is the microphone you will be using to get the majority of your outdoor shots if you have a boom operator or if you are able to rig a boom stand.

Fuzzy Wind Protection:  Wind protection is essential for all microphones used outdoors.  It can be the difference between below average sound and exceptional sound.

Boom pole:  If you have at least one person to help you with your program this is the job that person must have.  A good boom operator is worth his/her weight in gold.

Booming tip:  When booming overhead aim the microphone at the chest of the actor.  This will allow you to get more bass, created a fuller more rich sound.

Booming tip:  When booming from below aim at the actor’s mouth.  Aiming at the chest will capture too much bass.