Audio Tip | How Many Recorders Do You Need?

How Many Audio Recorders Do You Need?

All of them….. the end.
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Okay not really but sometimes it feels like you never have enough audio sources right? So how many is the magic number? I’ll tell you what works for me. Three! I like to have at-least three audio recorders on a wedding shoot. Four could even be better. But, if you’re just starting out and not really sure what you need yet, three is the minimum I use.

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Ceremony

Here is how I would use 3-4 audio recorders for a ceremony. This works best if you’re in a church type setting where there is a dedicated podium/alter. But, you can adapt it to work on a beach, venue, park, or wherever you’re shooting a ceremony.

Mic 1 (Officiant): For this we use an audio recorder + a lav mic to go on whoever is officiating the wedding. This is the most important mic to us since the officiant does most of the talking.

Mic 2 (Couple): You could technically use 2 mics for this. You can mic the bride + groom, bride + bride, groom + groom, or however it works for you. Typically I will mic the person that isn’t wearing a dress. Yes, you can totally mic dresses and we do if we have too. But, we have a very low key stress free approach to wedding filmmaking so for the most part I don’t. Again this would be a recorder + a Lav.

Mic 3 (The Podium): If you’re in a church where readings or speeches will be taking place, find out where they will be happening. Once you know, attach a recorder with a lav mic on that podium. This will capture anything said there and act as a backup for the officiant if they choose to speak from that location. Bonus: I also switch to this mic for clapping, ambient noises, etc.

Mic 4 (Plug In): If you have 4 recorders at a ceremony and have the ability to plug into a DJ board or Soundboard this is where you’ll do it. This is often the mic we use the least. I’ll take lav audio that is close to the person speaking any day over a feed from a board. It’s usually cleaner and way better. However, the DJs board can save you if a mic fails, it’s crazy windy, or they invested in some killer audio gear and it sounds great. For this you’re going to want to make sure you have XLRs, 1/2 inch, RCAs, 1/8inch, and all of the available cables needed to plug into a sound board. You never know what they will need so have it all.


Reception

Recording audio at the reception is pretty straight forward. You won’t need 3-4 recorders for this. Honestly, 2 will do and if you’re in a jam 1 can get the job done. You’re going to want to plug into the DJs Board, The Bands Board, or whoever is supplying the mics for toasts.

I would take a second recorder with possibly a mic or lav mic and place it near the speaker (actual speaker not the person giving toasts) as a backup. This audio won’t be great, but, it will be better than you’re on camera sound.

Gear

Here is the fun part. What gear should you buy! There are so many amazing options out there. Below Ill put the recorders we love and the lav mics we love. You’ll also want to grab a bunch of the audio cables you’ll need. Grab XLRs, RCAs, 1/2 Inch, 1/8 Inch, etc, making sure they’re the right input for your recorder of course. Some recorder will accept an XLR input some take a 1/8 inch or aux cable.


These little sony’s are my favorite recorder ^^^

The Tascam DL10 is an industry favorite. A bonus with these is the lav mic comes with the recorder.

This is completely over kill but we’ve been looking into going to the F8n for documentaries and possibly Receptions.

If you want a wireless solution the Rode Link is great

My favorite lav mic ^^^

 

Audio is one of the most important parts of creating a killer wedding film. So having the right gear and plan will make your films go a long way.

Try it out and let me know if you think 3-4 recorders is the magic number!

Michael Hook