Sound for Movies


A friend of mine is trying to start her movie career and is producing a short film. She asked me to help out with sound. I have a good deal for sound experience in a theatre environment, but none in the movie business. Any Advice?


Senior Team
Senior Team
Premium Member
Inside, outside, what do you have available to you. Your best bet is to go with boom mics (a CM31 on a stick will work....) that you can get as close to the actors as possible overhead. Take a look at her camera and see if it even has a mic input. If it does, you will need some type of preamp and phantom power injector. You could record the audio seperatly, but enles you really have top notch gear, I would shy away from that, at least for the first film. The shotgun "zoom" microphone that you see in B&H supply are also very good mics and work rather well for indoor shoots. I have played this game twice before for 10 min movies, one turned out very well, and one was a pretty bad, but you could at least hear both of them!


CB Mods
Premium Member
Hit up "The Hollywood Edge" They give away a really sweet cd of great foley cues. it's license free so you can use it in whatever. I've used it in several shows. I know nothing about the sound stuff during the actual shoot other than the definition of the sound guy, "The man who just wants the world to "Shut the - F - Up""


Well-Known Member
This is a huge topic to say the least ;-)

There is a major difference in audio techniques for recording vs audio for sound reinforcement.
The most obvious is that for recording you only get to keep and manipulate later what you have recorded, and in a fashion that you have some degree of isolation from the multiple tracks to later work with.

Basically, there are two different methods, one is where the sound is recorded on a separate device, the other is where you record the sound on the same camera. Each has its pros and cons, but the simplest is to have the sound recorded on the camera.

A lot depends on the camera you are working with, if you are more on the consumer end of things you will want to get a simple controller for the mics usually from a company like Beachtek, that allows you to have the mics, provide phantom power, but still feed the output to the camera. Most consumer cameras only support mic level in, not line level in unless you get up to the more semi pro like the CANON XL SERIES.

So get a good mic and boom, I personally like the Sennheiser K6/me66, but with a Rycote blimp and wind shield and boom pole, Gitzo for instance. If you only need these items for a short time the are available to rent, usually the more professional Sennheiser 416 is the industry standard.

Get a very good pair of isolated headphones, so you are SURE you have recorded what you want and NOT part of what you want reinforcing the location sound.

Working a boom pole is a lot of work, it is heavy, and muscle building over time, you typically work with the boom/mic just out of the picture either from above, or from below, depending on the shot.

The other method is with an independent recording system. Here the issue comes down to syncing the recording to the video. At the end of the day, the most reliable method is the old slate, which you shoot and clap so that you have both a visual and audio cue to sync up in final production. Key to making this easy is to still use your on camera mic so that you have a guide track that you then in the NLE system you can line up the two sources The complexities of timecode syncing etc in most cases are not worth the effort since you have good flexibility in the NLE and lining up the waveforms for the clap is pretty easy.

My assumption is that your friend is working in video. IF it is in film then things get a lot more complicated, since you definitely record audio independantly, but also typically you need to get into ADR dialog replacement, since in a lot of cases the film camera is simply to noisy for you to be able to film and audio record at the same time.

Make sure that for each scene in addition to dialog you get some wild sound and location sound that you can use for editing etc.

It is a lot of fun, but takes a different mind set.

Last edited:


Senior Team
Senior Team
Premium Member
What is really comes down to is.... how much cash do you got. My post was based on pulling stuff from nearby theatres. If you have the cash to rent gear, more power to ya, follow shars advice.

Users who are viewing this thread