Zoom H2 Handy Recorder
Ok so you are probably going to ask ” What the heck is an audio recording device doing on a Photoshop website? “. Well, unless you have been living on Mars? Just over a year ago, the world of the DSLR took an HD turn towards the world of the filmmaker.
We now have the Canon 5D MkII, 1DSMkIV, 7D, and the Nikon, D90, D5000, D300s, D3s and know doubt a D700 variation will not be that far behind. you get the idea! But, as I have learned over the last few months. Getting great video is only half the battle.
You also need great sound and this is something we all need to learn about… So let me introduce you to H2 Handy Recorder.
Now, a little disclaimer before I waffle on. I am not an expert in recording sound. Don’t get me wrong, I have got some game from recording the audio on my screencasts. But when it comes to recording broadcast quality sound. I am very much a beginner! But I thought it would be cool to share my experiences with you as I learn and by making all the rookie mistakes first, this will save you from making them later.
Ok, why do you need to record audio separately from the video that is captured on let’s say a Nikon D90?
Its simple really. Go on YouTube or read some of the reviews for the DLSR’s that can capture video. You will hear that the quality of the sound is not great. Its “Ok” for family outings and parties. But not so great if you are doing something a little bit more involved where sound matters.
So I am going to give you three reasons why you should record the audio separately.
Firstly, the microphone that is built into the camera is close to the shutter, your hands, mouth, hair and the motor of the lens, all of which can actually make quite a bit of noise? Ah! but I will be using the camera on a tripod? Well yes good choice, it gives you stability. But you still can’t get a way from the fact that the mic is picking up all noise in around its capture range. (ON BOARD MIC = BAD SOUND)
Secondly, not all DSLR’s capture stereo sound and you really want stereo sound! They also do not have an audio input socket for an external microphone. The high end models do, but not the mid to lower range cameras. Keep that in mind if you are going to be buying a DLSR for shooting video as well as stills.
And the third reason and for me is the best reason “flexibility”. If you rely upon the on board capabilities of recording sound on a DLSR then you are locked into that system.
If you use a separate recording device, then you can switch to any DLSR with video and upgrade when you like in the knowledge that the quality of your sound will remain constant.
That then brings me to the H2 Zoom Handy Recorder. Why did I buy it? Well, Greg and I had been researching microphones etc for quite some time. Actually pretty much since the Nikon D90 came out late in 2008.
Many a night has been spent looking at video clips and checking out the sound quality hoping for a snippet of info on what had been used to record the audio track.
Finally it was whilst I was watching some of Dan Chung’s videos (See above) that I learned that he was using H4n Zoom Recorder which is the big brother of the H2. At that point I started Googling “Zoom” to see what the H4n was about and also what other devices were available as I was aware of the H2 but thought it to be discontinued.
The H4n is a little under £300 and packs a punch because you can plug in pro-microphones as well as record using the built-in microphones that are also professional quality.
Where as the H2 has 4 built in pro spec microphones and a mini-jack socket for one external mic and for what we are doing this is more than enough. But only time will tell… As technology never stands still for long and we may out grow the H2 very quickly.
How did I come to purchase the H2 Zoom and not the H4n? Well that is because I had been already reading about Arron Greene on Scott Kelby’s blog and I had made a mental note of the fact that he was using an H2 and how it was configured with his monopod. At that point I could not find a reseller of the H2 in the UK. So I had discounted it in favour of the H4n which is almost double the price.
When I was ready to purchase the Zoom H4n (Even though it is overkill for what we need right now) that I found Dolphin Music online, which I know to be a reputable seller in the UK. Or at least I had heard of them! I then searched their site for the H4n and it was then that I found the H2 for sale.
Score! I now have a little Zoom H2 Handy Recorder and I think its a great little recorder for taking baby steps into the world of filmmaking and recording, editing and mixing sound for our training videos. I still have lots of test to do with it as I have not had it long enough to give a full review or even some settings info… but you will see the fruits of our labours in the not too distant future and I promise to share my findings in the hope that will help you.