Sound for Video Session: Setting up Your Recorder or Mixer

This week, more requests for "How do I set up my recorder?" My goal is to help you understand the concepts so that you can set up ANY recorder/mixer.

We gave examples using the Tascam DR-60DmkII and Zoom F8 but the settings are similar on all recorders.

The main settings you need to set: 

1) Record format: WAV or BWF (on the Zoom F8, this is the default so you don't have to set this up)

2) What to record - tell it how many channels (on the Tascam) or on the Zoom F8, tell it whether you want just the ISO channels or ISO + a stereo mix (L & R channels). Remember that if you have a recorder like the F8 which is also a mixer, the faders affect the levels of the sound in the stereo mix track, not in the ISO tracks.

3) Sample Rate: 48kHz for broadcast, 44.1kHz if for YouTube or other online distribution

4) Bit Rate - 24 bit. I do this because then I have more room in post to process the audio. if you choose 16 bit, your audio files will be smaller, but you'll potentially have a harder time doing things like noise reduction.

5) Gain (sometimes called input or level) - set this until the peak meters show the loudest parts hitting -12dB. Of course your talent needs to talk while you get this set. Typically I'm looking for them to talk for 30 seconds so that I feel comfortable