Better Production Audio – ON THE COUCH Ep. 16 – Jem Schofield feat. Røde

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It’s always great to sit and talk with friends from the industry and chat about what’s on our minds regarding production workflows and issues. On this 16th episode of ON THE COUCH, I sat down with Jem Schofield from, who is well known for his education and workshop classes in the filmmaking field.

Apart from being an educator, Jem is also a producer and much of our talk focused on getting better audio for production – something that is constantly neglected by owner/operators who need to do their own audio.

We touched on the fact that a lot of shooters who started with DSLRs were able to deliver great video all of a sudden because of the technical capabilities – while at the same time the level of audio got worse overall because people used the terrible built-in microphones with their low-quality preamps to record location audio.

Jem emphasized the importance of understanding the differences between microphone pickup patterns when deciding on a microphone for your production. Many just go with one shotgun microphone for all their purposes, but there is no “one size fits all”. Like us, Jem loves to work with our sponsor Røde’s microphones as they provide some of the best value for money in the industry.

My go-to boom microphone for my own smaller productions is the Røde NTG3, a shotgun microphone with a very narrow supercardioid pickup pattern. Jem argues it’s great for exterior recording but he prefers the NT55 inside rooms because it has a broader pickup (ideal when 2 persons are talking to each other) and it doesn’t have the “pickup tail” that the NTG3 has. While being super narrow with its pickup, the pickup tail also makes the NTG3 more susceptible for picking up sounds from behind the microphone (e.g. ceiling fans, air conditioning, …), handling noise and sound reflections – and that’s exactly where the NT55 shines.


The new Røde SmartLav+ combined with the Røde Rec app for iOS was another product combo that Jem mentioned – a super easy and super inexpensive way of always carrying a very usable lavelier microphone with you as it records straight into your phone using the app – not a bad value for money considering the SmartLav+ is around $75 and their app another $5 (definitely much cheaper than dedicated sound recorders that are often left in the studio exactly when you need them for an occasional sound bite shot on a  small camera or DSLR). 

We also talked about other subjects including camera stabilization and the discussion MoVi vs. Steadicam and how irrelevant it is considering the fact that both tools have their advantages and disadvantages (and the fact that Tabb Firchau from Freefly and Garrett Brown, the inventor of the Steadicam, are giving workshops together).

Before we wrapped the show up, we discussed the fact that like me, Jem quite likes Final Cut Pro X and thinks he is able to work faster with it than with any other NLE. We also touched on the up- and downsides of Premiere and Avid.

Lastly, Jem Schofield mentioned that he is going to do another extensive filmmaking workshop in Scotland for a week starting July 27th, 2014. This “Filmmaker’s Intensive” will deal with the science and art of telling stories and people will learn all about lighting, shooting and also getting the right audio for their productions. Head over to their website here to check it out:

To watch all ON THE COUCH episodes so far, click here.


Watch it on Vimeo

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