I have been into video production for quite a while and finally decided it was time to upgrade my sound equipment. I now capture my audio completely separate from my video and sync it up in post-processing.
I am using a Tascam DP-800EX as my field recorder, and a Rode NTG-2 as my primary microphone.
I recently did a shoot where the talent was stationary in a chair. I had the NTG-2 on a boom pole and it was placed probably about 18-24 inches away from her mouth, just out of the video frame. IIRC, the built-in high-pass filter on the mic was off.
I had it wired into the XLR input on my recorder. The recorder was set to record at “high” and my trim for the input channel was nearly as loud as it goes. It was loud enough that I could hear a fairly significant amount of hiss even as I was recording. The indicator on the screen showed that I was peaking at around -12dB (which, as this noob understands it, is about right?).
Upon getting home, I started cataloging the video clips, matching the external audio and getting ready to make the first rough cut. The audio from the DSLR’s built-in mics sounds like normal, crappy, audio, but the volume levels are good. The audio from my external setup sounds much better, much cleaner, and MUCH quieter. When I amplify it in Audacity, I get a lot of loud noise. When I remove that noise using noise removal, I have to choose between leaving a lot of hiss, or cutting out all the hiss at the cost of making the dialog I wanted to actually keep sound tinny and weird.
I can’t seem to get my signal-to-noise ratio where I expected it for equipment this nice. Actually, I can’t even seem to get it to the point that it’s usable as external audio for my video production.
I really know my way around the video world, but I’m pretty new to the audio world. I’m convinced that it’s something to do with my workflow or capturing technique, rather than my equipment not being good enough for a setup this basic.
Does anyone see any glaring errors in my setup, gear choices, workflow… etc.? Or failing that… what kind of tools would you recommend to clean up my audio and boost the volume levels to being usable?