Capturing audio is as important as recording video but many times audio is overlooked in the planning. As you may recall from the “Your Production Crew” resource, this role is the Audio Engineer.
The basic rule of production audio is that the more the microphone is pointed at the mouth of the subject the better you can hear them. Traditionally, sound is recorded with a boom microphone. The operator can hide off screen and behind the camera, as in the photo. However, with 360 filmmaking, there is nowhere for the boom operator to hide! That means you must get creative with how you capture your sound. Below are a few options for capturing audio for a 360° video or photo story:
Some cameras have a built in microphone on top.
- Pros: No other equipment needed, it is hidden and it records in all directions
- Cons: Limited audio quality and no directional sound capture (you may not be able to plug an external audio source into the camera)
Positioning an external audio recorder at the bottom of the tripod — for example, the Zoom H2n as it has the option of capturing 360 degrees of audio. You can also use a camera that you already own to record simultaneously and only use the audio from it to sync up with the 360° footage.
- Pros: Will give you audio from the camera’s point of view and will be out of visible range of the camera as it cancels itself out and everything directly underneath it
- Cons: May be expensive and the audio needs to be synced in post production (see Related Resources at the bottom for a tutorial)
Hiding audio recorder near the action.
- Pros: If positioned near the action it will give you better sound than if it were under the tripod.
- Cons: Placement out of view of the camera can be difficult, may be expensive and the audio needs to be synced in post production (see Related Resources at the bottom for a tutorial)
Clip a lavalier mic to the actor or subject
- Pros: This is the cleanest way to capture audio from the person/people we should hear from the most
- Cons: A quality lavalier mic can be very expensive and the wireless version can be difficult to use and the audio needs to be synced in post production (see Related Resources at the bottom for a tutorial)
Post Production Audio (Foley, ADR, music) is a way to reconstruct your audio during the editing process.
ADR is the process of bringing your actors into a studio or quiet space to re-record what they said on screen so you can have a clean version of their dialog.
Foley is the process of recording non-dialog sounds in a studio or quiet space and then matching them to your film where they naturally belong. For example: if your actor is walking on crunchy leaves, you don’t have to use the sound you recorded while filming the scene. You can record the sound during post production to have a clean track of the sound and you can experiment with different types of leaves and shoes to get different types of sounds.
Music can also be added in during post-production. In almost every music video, the band is performing to a track playing on set but then that audio is discarded and replaced with a clean track of the music.
- Pros: This is the best way to capture clean audio and it is fun to experiment with different sounds.
- Cons: It is time consuming, contains skills that professionals spend years perfecting and it can be tough syncing dialog so it seems as if the words we hear came from the mouth we see on screen.