The built-in microphones or on-board mini-shotgun mikes that come with most camcorders are fine for ambient sound. However, these on-board mikes can pick up tape transport and zoom motor noise. For serious audio, use a separate microphone. Most professional crews have a sound mixer, whose job it is to aim to microphone, set the levels and monitor the audio. The mixer feeds the camcorder with the audio signal, either with a “hard” wire or a radio mic. Because DVCAM tape records on two tracks, you can split the audio—for example, you can put a lavalier output on the right channel, and a shotgun mic for ambience on the left channel. Popular choices of shotgun (directional) mikes include Sennheiser’s MKH-416, ME66 and K6 and Audio-Technica’s ...

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