How to Record a Wedding | Audio Tips for Wedding Filmmakers

Posted by Deity Microphones on

There is no greater stress than shooting a wedding. Often thought of as the most difficult type of videography in our industry, you only get one chance to capture the moment perfectly. And what makes it that much more stressful is that the videographer is often having to juggle their shooting schedule and operating the camera(s) while still finding time to capture perfect audio. Today we have some pointers to help you out with that last bit - getting perfect audio.

We’ll be going over 3 different methods of hiding a lavalier for capturing audio during the ceremony. Then we will showcase 4 methods for capturing great audio during the reception. The goal is to go into your editing process with 7-12 tracks of usable audio at any given time to select from and mix together.

Audio Gear Every Videographer Should Carry


Body Pack Recorder

Deity BP-TRX: Coming Soon
Zoom F2: https://bit.ly/3sj70cC
Tentacle Sync Track E: https://bit.ly/3tlVfTR
Tascam DR-10L: https://amzn.to/3uOoH5i

The BP-TRX was designed to be the ultimate body pack recorder but everyone has different needs and each device does things slightly differently. Learn about each and find out which one works best for your needs. And while thinking about budget is important, this is the type of tool you should be able to own for several years and spending an extra $50 today could save you a lot of hassle in the future. If it gets you an extra feature or two that you can use over the course of 80-120 weddings, it is a solid investment. Think of those extra features not so much as something you need every day, but rather the day you find yourself needing that certain feature, it’s there for you. It’s better to over-buy (which will help it retain its value on the secondary used markets) than be caught unprepared on a shoot.

These recorders will be your primary source for capturing people during the ceremony. While most venues will have a PA speaker system, you shouldn’t trust others to do your job. If all you did was use a drop recorder that takes a feed from the PA system, can you be 100% certain that it won’t be distorted, hissy, free of crossover and bleed? Take it from someone who used to do wedding videography for 4 years - I have walked into many a venue with an ancient Radio Shack “mixing board” that was full of audio issues. Plus, some venues just won’t let you tap their board for a feed altogether.

 

Lavaliers:

Deity W.Lav: https://bit.ly/2QtOxMX
Deity W.Lav Pro: https://bit.ly/3sgKgcV
Deity W.Lav Micro: https://bit.ly/3djmRne

But don’t pocket recorders come with lavaliers? Sure, and while they might be “good enough” for your first couple of weddings, you should really consider upgrading them when you can. The reason you upgrade your lavaliers is the same reason why you upgrade from the 18-55mm f5.6 kit lens… it’s okay, but it limits your abilities and isn’t built for full-time professional use. The W.Lav Pro’s metal capsule is waterproof and its cable is nylon re-enforced. The last thing you want to worry about is arriving to a shoot with your plastic kit lavalier smashed in your camera bag (some brands now ship kit lavaliers with plastic capsules).

Drop Recorder:

Zoom H1n: https://amzn.to/2Qo5Hfd
Zoom H1: https://ebay.to/3dl9frD
Zoom H4n Pro: https://amzn.to/2RA4PEO

This is the recorder you will be using to record the PA system during the ceremony and reception. What’s nice about these recorders is that they all have built-in stereo microphones that can also be mounted in front of a PA speaker to capture your backup audio. The Zoom H1/H1n are the smallest and thus easiest to pack into your camera bag. Both can work as drop recorders and are light enough to fit on the flex arm you mount in front of a PA speaker. The Zoom H4n Pro does give you some extra features like digital limiters, 4 channel record mode and a super clean pre-amp, BUT if you are on a budget and trying to fit all your audio gear into a zipper pouch you can toss into your camera roller, then go with the H1 series. These types of recorders are also called drop recorders because you can drop them in front of a musician at a wedding to capture their instrument. I often would bring a tiny tabletop tripod with a ball head that would allow me to setup a H1n pointed up under a piano or in front of a string quartet to capture a clean feed without having to rely on the PA system. Plus, occasionally the house’s audio tech might not even mic up these instruments, under the impression that “they are loud enough.” This means your board feed might not have them in the mix at all.

 

Accessories:

Stereo RCA Male to 3.5mm Male Cable: https://amzn.to/3tiPVk8
¼” Male to RCA Female Adapter: https://amzn.to/3e0cBzq
¼” Male to 3.5mm Female Adapter: https://amzn.to/3x6MPCi
Tabletop Tripod: https://amzn.to/3dY1DdC
Flex Arm: https://amzn.to/3wTRCGZ

Our reason for adding these accessories here is so that you can stack adapters in order to do a board feed from a PA system during the wedding. You’re probably already tight on space, so having to carry around a bunch of different cable types doesn’t make a lot of sense compared to the idea of adding an adapter to a connector on one cable. This combination will allow you to go from ¼” TRS to ¼” TRS, RCA to ¼” TRS, 3.5mm to RCA, etc. This should be more than enough to get you through the different boards you encounter at different ceremony venues and different DJ mixers you run into during receptions.

The tabletop tripod and flex arm are both optional that are nice bonus items as they are often useful when setting up a backup to your backup audio. We suggest only using these if you are a part of a multi-person wedding shooter team or if you have the space to carry these in your roller. Both items can also be helpful if you need to set up a wide-angle camera to cover the room/dance floor.

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Now you are ready to film a wedding and capture memorable audio. Good luck!

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If you have any questions about recording audio during a wedding feel free to ask them below in the comments and we will try to answer them for you.

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