I shot my recent documentary ‘I’d Rather be Surfing’ using a Canon 7D. The Canon is great for flexibility and for producing high quality 1080 HD video. However it is limited in its capacity to directly record audio and monitor the sound recording at the same time. Initially I was recording using an external RODE mic attached to the Canon or hand-held on an extension. However not being able to monitor the sound is a serious issue.
The way around this that most filmmakers working with DSLRs go is to use an external sound recorder such as the Zoom recorder. I used a Zoom H4N with the Rode external mic but during the filming I also brought a Lavalier lapel mic which made a great difference. The challenge at the time was that you had to sync your sound in post. Which is fun! Now there are easier ways to do this including mounting your Zoom to the camera and recording to your video card. Click on the image for a good article on how to go about this:
For my documentary I worked in Final Cut ProX which of course managed both audio and video. I have recently explored the free audio tool Audacity a simple tool for importing and exporting and mixing sound. It’s useful to know you need to install the LAME mp3 encoder in most cases before being able to export to MP3. If you’re wanting to make your own or mix music GarageBand is a great multi-tracking and audio editing software package.
Sourcing free sound