I have always been a fan of audio. I like hearing stuff. I hate when films (student or otherwise) have bad audio. Using the on-camera mic is right up there with not using a tripod in my pet peeves of films. I have a lot of audio equipment, more than most student film makers probably. Here’s a list of what I have:
Sennheiser G2 wireless system
Boompole and shockmount
Rolls MX422 mixer
Each piece has its use. When I record stage plays, I like to record the audio straight from the mixer, as well as some audience sounds with a wall mounted mic. I mix the Electro Voice 635A and the house mixer with the Rolls MX422 or Samson MDR8.
When I’m shooting something that allows for set-up time (and when I have a sound op) I run the Røde on a boompole into the Rolls, then tether the Rolls to my camera.
This brings me to the problem of syncing the audio. Doing stage plays, I usually run 3-4 cameras. So I have 4 or 5 things to sync up, each camera plus a separate audio track. When the mic is plugged directly into the camera, there’s no problem. But syncing 5 things together is a pain. Enter PluralEyes. This piece of software analyzes the audio captured by cameras and external sound equipment, and syncs it all up. It even creates multiclips in FCP. This saves me tons of time and frustration in post. PluralEyes has been getting lots of press lately, especially with the DSLRs that can record video. They have great imaging sensors, but really poor audio recording. The usual solution is to record with a Zoom H4 or similar recorder. PluralEyes was designed with that in mind, but is just as useful in syncing up multiple cameras.
In short, PluralEyes (and the new DualEyes) are a godsend, and an indispensable tool for all editors.