Dual System Sound used to be reserved for major production studios. Today you can get this professional sound. Here are some home video editing tips for using DSS.
There is a technique from the world of motion pictures that has become more popular with smaller productions lately. It's called Dual System Sound and it has the potential to take your projects to the next level, if you're willing and able to deal with the added expense and hassle. The upside is that dual system sound is more affordable and accessible today than ever before, making it available to everyone from mid-sized production houses to the home video editors working from their bedrooms. You'll need a few extra tools - which you may already own - and another pair of hands to keep it all under control, but this is definitely worth looking into.
Simply stated, dual system sound is the practice of recording production audio on two devices - usually the camera and an external recorder - for post-production manipulation. Why go to that much trouble? There are several reasons. Camcorder microphone inputs have variable quality and headroom that may limit the audio quality. Additionally, some people are not thrilled with the audio in MPEG video formats. By recording on another device, this eliminates the potential problems associated with the camcorder and ensures a solid recording. Another popular application is multichannel audio. Very few cameras record more than two channels. This is fine for simple productions, but in reality television and any other programming that requires multiple microphones, dual system sound allows as many microphone channels as necessary.
Gearing up for dual system sound is easier today than ever before. The new crop of portable flash-based audio recorders makes remote audio simple. Available from manufacturers like Sony, Tascam, Samson and Zoom, most of these compact recorders use off-the-shelf batteries and memory cards to do their job. While many are two-channel recorders, some offer four-channel recording that expands your options. Alternatively, you can use a laptop or even a netbook for audio recording. The advantage here is the ability to choose an audio interface that suits your specific needs. External audio interfaces attach via USB or Firewire and are available in everything from two to eight channels at very affordable prices. Channel counts of 16, 24 or even more are possible if your wallet is deep enough. Alesis, Edirol, M-Audio and Presonus are just a few of the manufacturers making excellent external audio interfaces today. Along with your recording equipment, you'll need a good pair of headphones for monitoring and a way to feed the audio output of your recording device to the camera. This is often a simple Y-adapter and patch cable. It's also wise to enlist another operator for audio-specific duties. Test your gear ahead of time to ensure proper operation and compatibility with your video editing sof… Read More