This past year I recorded a documentary with my band with my 7D and my Zoom H4N. I'm very pleased with the video output but the sound let me down a bit. I had never dealt with sound before so made some mistakes. It was a valuable exercise though as I learnt a lot in the process.
Anyway, I used the onboard mics from the H4N which caused a few problems - handling noise, how much background noise they picked up etc etc.
I'm not looking to improve my set up and wanted to ask advice on how you would do so? I think possibly buying a mic to use with the H4N would be a great investment but I have a problem in that I like to film run and gun a lot... and I'd say having a 'sound guy' is not possible on 50% of the stuff I shoot as it will mostly be unplanned, in fly on the wall style. I'll often have time to set up a mic in the room, but obviously I can't handle a mic on a boom pole and operate my camera at the same time.
If having a sound guy isn't an option, what equipment would you recommend to me?
Rode and Seinheiser both have Mic's for the DSLR's. You have to have a sound man if you are recording a band. Your Zoom should have a switch for Mic / Line or High / Low. You want the lowest gain setting so you are not overdriving the audio signal and creating distortion. I've used the built in Mic's as well as patching directly into the board to a camera or the Zoom. Use a commbination of signals so you don't have to worry if one doesn't work out.
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Joe, simple rule is that the closer you can get a mic to the source, the better. The H4n has good built-in mics but they may well be a distance away and you'll probably get some wind noise (although the rather awesome RedHead windscreens will help minimise that).
You can connect an external mic to the H4n - best would be something like a Sennheiser G3 which has a lav mic on the subject and wirelessly transmits to the receiver that you'd connect to the H4n.
But if you want to retain the more mobile, dynamic option of keeping the mic on your rig then some kind of shotgun mic would be a step up from the built-in mics of the H4n - I use a Sennheiser MKE400 on my Canon 60D and am happy with it but others recommend the Rode VideoMic. For what you've described I'd check out one of the the Rode NTG shotgun mics with the SM3 shock mount as that'd be more directional than the MKE400 or VideoMic.