Get a Grip - Filmmaking Discussion on Light & Sound

Last week I had the pleasure of sitting down for a discussion with my new friends Felipe Baez and Gabriel Spaulding to talk light and sound for film. Had a great time and I'm impressed with the quality of their production! These guys have years of experience in the video production world. Our hour-long conversation felt more like 15 minutes. Thanks for Felipe and Gabriel for inviting me on their show.

In this episode we cover the need to re-allocate filmmaking budgets to include lighting and sound gear rather than just cameras - the most common mistake people make when getting started in filmmaking.

Oh, and they shoot at true 24fps. These guys mean business!

Audio Normalization: Make Your Video Consistently Loud

What is audio normalization? What does it actually do to your sound clip or file? In this episode we cover the two main ways to normalize your audio and why you should use loudness normalization rather than peak normalization to get consistently loud videos.

Links to gear some of my favorite gear:

Zoom F8n - The audio for this episode was recorded with the F8n

Panasonic GH5s Camera - my favorite small camera for video

Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 OIS Lens - this is the the lens I use more than any other on the GH5s

Sennheiser MKH 8050 Boom Microphone

Copyright 2018 by Curtis Judd 

Music - MzA - Copyright 2017 by Cary Judd, used with permission

Sound for Video Session: Sound to Camera, Matching Mics, Handheld Recorders, Etc.

In this week's Sound for Video Session we addressed several questions submitted by several of you:

- How to send sound to camera?
- How to make recordings with two mics sound the same?
- How to use a handheld recorder when booming a mic?
- Which type of mic to use when recording in very loud environments?
- Is there a single mic that can work in most situations?

Items discussed in this session and where to find them:
3.5mm Attenuation Cable

Sound for Video Session on Sending Audio from Mixer to Camera:

 Zoom F8 Audio Recorder

Sound Devices 633 Audio Mixer & Recorder

Izotope RX6 (Software for matching microphones)

Blackmagic Ursa Mini Pro (Recorded the talking head portion with this camera)

Furman PL-8C Power Conditioner

Antelope Audio Orion Studio Audio Interface

How to Get Consistently Loud Sound with Loudness Normalization

In the last episode we covered how to set the input or gain level on your audio recorder when recording dual system sound (sound recorded by a separate, dedicated audio recorder). One of the things I suggested was that it is best to leave some headroom so that if the person speaking suddenly gets very loud, the sound will not distort and clip.

But the problem is that most of the sound isn’t loud enough. So how do you manage this? You loudness normalize the audio. This ensures that it is loud enough and that it is consistent from video to video.

Here are three ways to do that. The third way is to manually loudness normalize and is a longer, more involved process. You can see how to do that here:

Gear used or mentioned in this episode:


Tascam DR-60DmkII Audio Recorder (good option for a beginner who wants to record higher quality sound - shown in the clip to demonstrate leaving headroom)

Audio Technica AT4053b Hyper Cardioid Microphone (for the talking head clips)

Sound Devices 633 (Talking head portions recorded with this)

Aputure Light Storm COB120t LED Light (Key Light)

Aputure Light Dome Soft Box (for COB120t key light)

Celadon LED Pro Radiant 2XL Pro LED Light (background light)

Panasonic GH4 m4/3 Camera

Panasonic Lumix 12-35mm f/2.8 Lens

Copyright 2017 by Curtis Judd

The Music Maker

I am about ready to jump out of my skin because I'm so excited to finally show some of my work to all you who have been kind enough to watch my YouTube episodes!

My friend Levi Whitney asked me back in June last year if I would help him by doing the sound for a micro documentary piece on Joel Nowland, a guitar maker here in Utah. Joel makes amazing acoustic guitars which have been played by some big name musicians. But Joel is an incredibly humble guy who loves the craft of creating things for other people. And what's more is that he does it with a significant disability.

So here is what Levi and I made. I recorded all of the production audio for this piece with my trusty Audio Technica AT4053b hypercardioid microphone and my Sound Devices 633 audio recorder/mixer. I recorded a few foley clips with the Aputure Deity shotgun microphone, again with the Sound Devices here at my home.

Levi shot the piece with a Sony A7SII and graded and edited.

I hope you like it.

And I'd like to thank Levi for having the confidence in me to do the sound recording and mixing and Joel for opening his home, his workshop, and his story for the world to see and hear.

Levi will have a piece in the coming weeks over on his YouTube channel covering how we did the lighting. I've covered the sound from the film (both mixing and foley) in these previous Sound for Video Sessions:

Sound for Video Session: Mixing with Buses and EQ

This week we have another film mixing session where I show you a couple of basic tools for mixing in Adobe Audition: Buses and EQ.

With a bus, you can make adjustments to multiple tracks at the same time. Huge time and frustration saver. With EQ, we essentially make room in one track for another track, e.g., we reduce the midrange of the music so that dialogue is easier to hear without pulling the audio down so far that it is hard to hear.

Gear used to produce the short film and this episode:

Audio Technica AT4053b Hypercardioid Microphone - used this to record the interviews out on the street. Works well as long as you have a good shock mount and wind protection (see Cyclone below)

Rycote Cyclone Windshield and Shockmount - this is what prevented the wind from blowing across the microphone capsule and making that low frequency, distorted sound.

Sound Devices 633 Audio Mixer/Recorder - my go-to recorder/mixer

Electrovoice RE20 Dynamic Microphone (Voiceover for this session was recorded with this)

Antelope Orion Studio Audio Interface (Voiceover for this session was recorded with this - couldn't be happier. By far, the best audio interface I've owned)

Sound for Video Session: Sound Design, Balanced vs Unbalanced Audio, Post Workflow

This week we talked about several interesting questions on sound design and mixing, balanced vs unbalanced audio, and post workflow.

Here are some of the links we discussed:

Wikipedia Article on Balanced Audio Signal Chain

Recent episode on Improving the Basic Filmmaker’s Sound using Sound Blankets and using Auto-heal in Adobe Audition

Producer’s Choice Sound Blankets (Save yourself some post production time, frustration, cost) 

How to Improve Your Sound Featuring The Basic Filmmaker Part 1

My friend, The Basic Filmmaker, asked if I would help him improve the sound of his videos. I was flattered that he’d ask! Yes, of course!

So he recorded a short clip, sent it over to me, and in this episode I have my first two suggestions for him on how to reduce the reverb in his room when recording and how to remove mouth clicks using Adobe Audition. The next step is for him to apply these things and we’ll see where we end up. Maybe there’s even more we can do in Audition to make his sound even better.

There are a few bonuses with using sound blankets. First and most important, If you use sound blankets effectively, you shouldn’t have to do any de-reverb work in post. Yay! Save all that time and money to make more videos! Additionally, the Producer’s Choice blankets are black on one side, white on the other. This means that not only do they absorb sound, they also either reflect light or absorb it (depending on which side you have facing the light. This makes them very useful lighting tools in addition to solving the sound/reverb issue.

If you’d like to learn how to record and post process your sound, be sure to have a look at my sound for video courses at  My Dialogue Sound Post Processing with Adobe Audition course just launched at the end of August 2016. 

Visit us at for more updates on how to improve your lighting and sound for video. Also be sure to subscribe to get new episodes every week! 


The Basic Filmmaker

Original Audio Clip he sent to me:

His channel which is worth subscribing to.

The Basic Filmmaker University - free and paid courses on video production

Sound Blanket Episode:

Reducing Reverb in Audition with Acon DeVerberate Plugin: 

Acon Digital DeVerberate Plugin for Adobe Audition (VST)

Izotope RX Audio Editor - State of the art reverb reduction processing

Which Audio Recorders for Filmmaking do I Use?

We have reviewed several recorders over the last several years at various price points and with different feature sets. While I attempted to be very thorough in those reviews, nothing can replace the experience of working with a recorder over a longer period of time. Now that I have more experience with each of these audio mixers/recorders, let’s talk about what I’ve found since I posted the reviews.

Recorders Covered:

Zoom H1

Tascam DR-05

Tascam DR-60DmkII

Zoom H4n Pro

Zoom H6

Tascam DR-701D

Zoom F4

Zoom F8

Sound Devices 633

Sound for Video Session: Sync Sound, Mic Placement, Reverb, and Orca Audio Harness

In this week's sound for video session we cover a number of questions including the following:

  • Sound sync issues between audio recorder and camera or HDMI recorder
  • Where to place a microphone if you can only mic a live event with one
  • How to manage reverb in rooms with hard walls and floor
  • Ease booming with an audio bag harness (Orca OR-40)