The Zoom H5 is an essential tool for recording audio on location. It's inexpensive, widely supported, and provides a huge boost in production quality on the sound side.
One of the biggest mistakes I see (hear) in independent film is poor audio. The hallmark of bad independent production is just bad sound.
There are so many brands and options available, at every price point, that can help increase your production value.
I’ve been using the Zoom H5 as an audio interface for my podcast and my communication for years.
It’s a mainstay in my bag for film audio as well. There’s just no getting around the need to capture good, clean, audio from locations. A lot of amateurs try to rely on ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement) thinking they can just put in some stock sound and make it work. This mistake has cost thousands of filmmakers a lot of headache and a lot of time (see: money) trying to sort it all out.
With the Zoom H5 you can capture ambient noise and get all the sound effects you need.
It has two professional XLR connectors on it and the ability to expand with interchangeable top capsules.
A standard SD card records fast, crisp audio and the dB adjustments allow for fine tuning.
It does provide phantom power for your microphones that need it and the battery life on this bad boy is pretty awesome.
This is probably my favorite piece of audio recording equipment. You’re going to need some microphones to put into the Zoom H5 (I’ll do another post on those later) but you can use just about anything. One of the coolest parts is that you can run a patch from the Zoom H5 into your camera audio in jack. This provides you with a sort of high-quality garbage track on your footage, in case something goes wrong.
All in all, Zoom makes some incredible products that are affordable and rugged to stand up against the rigors of film making. If you’re serious about film making and you want to step up your audio game, grab a Zoom H5 and get some good audio. It’s really worth it.