Audio Deck Operation and Control

Image from Zoom,
Image from Zoom,

The eye draws us outwards while the ear draws us inwards.Robert Bresson



  • Understand and use common audio recording techniques with an audio deck

Standards, Terms, and Concepts

  • Interface
    • Stereo Microphones
    • Mode Indicator LED
    • Shortcut Buttons
    • Input Select
    • Transport Control
    • Record
    • SD Card
    • Microphone Inputs
    • Headphone Port
    • Output Port
  • Settings
    • Phantom Power
      • Power for condenser microphones at 48v (dynamic microphones like the Shure SM58 do not need phantom power)
    • Mono Mix
      • Only one audio channel mixed to two channels, the same sound is on each channel
    • Record Format
      • WAV96kHz/24bit – highest quality
      • WAV44.1/16bit – CD quality, good for longer recording sessions
    • File Name Format
      • Use DATE option (example: 170131-001.wav)
      • Helps keep files organized
    • Battery Options
    • Recording Modes
    • Record Levels
      • Adjust loudest level to -6dB (DO NOT PEAK IN THE RED)
      • -6 gives headroom for the recording
    • Headroom
      • Safety zone allowing transient audio peaks, loud parts, to exceed the nominal level without damaging the system or the audio signal, e.g., via clipping
    • Nominal Level
      • Operating level at which an electronic signal processing device is designed to operate
    • Clipping
      • Waveform distortion that occurs when an amplifier is overdriven and attempts to deliver an output voltage or current beyond its maximum capability

Zoom Audio Deck Training

  • Zoomfront4:25: Rode NTG2 Shotgun Mic Overview
  • 7:18: XLR Audio Cable
  • 7:35: Zoom H4n Buttons, Inputs, and Outputs Overview
  • 9:00: Front Screen Overview
  • 9:45: Bottom XLR, 1/4 inch, and Power Inputs
  • 10:05: Menu Details
    • 10:15: Folder Settings
    • 10:21: File Settings
    • 10:32: Input Settings
      • 10:40: Phantom Power Setting (Use 48v)
        • Phantom power uses more battery
      • 10:55: Mono Mix
    • 11:30: Record Settings
      • 11:35: Record Format
        • WAV96kHz/24bit – highest quality – larger file size
        • WAV44.1/16bit – CD quality – smaller file size for longer recording sessions
      • 11:50: File Names
        • Recommend using date as file name
    • 12:05: System
      • 12:09: Battery
        • Alkaline and Lithium batteries use the same setting
        • Ni-MH are rechargeable batteries
    • 12:43: SD Card – Formatting
    • 12:50: USB – Connecting to Computer
    • 12:51: Mode – Stereo, 4 Channel, MTR
  • 13:03: Plug in Microphone
  • 13:42: How to Operate Zoom with Microphone Plugged in
    • 13:49: Tap the Record Button
    • 14:47: Setting Audio Levels
      • Adjust so loudest level is -6dB
    • 17:37: The Stop Button
  • 17:49: Downloading Audio to a Computer
  • 18:29: Setting up a Boom Pole
    • 19:49: Cable Management
  • 21:03: Batman Demo Recording
    • 21:18: Get Your Frame
      1. Get the mic just out of the frame, but as close to the mouth as possible
      2. Hold the mic above the talent, if possible
  • 22:33 Set your recording levels by having the talent practice the loudest lines
    • 23:00 Role audio
      • Audio recorder states: “Scene 1, Take 1” (as an example)
      • The slate is clicked, or hand clap, to create a nice sharp audio wave to aid in post-production audio syncing
      • Director says action


  • Blog post with embedded video from YouTube of the various audio techniques demonstrated and explained


  • Coming soon…


  1. Watch Top 10 Best Sound Designed Films of All Time – CineFix (14:30)
  2. Create blog post titled, Audio Deck Operation and Control
    • Create headings for:
      • Summary
      • Terms and Concepts
      • Best Sound Designed Films
      • Zoom Audio Deck Training Notes
      • Timeline
      • Project Skills Evidence
      • What I Learned
  3. Watch and take notes especially on Filmmaking 101 – How to Record High Quality Audio on a Budget by DiCasaFilm (25:15)
  4. Watch and practice How To Properly Roll Cable by Randy Coppinger (1:03)
  5. Watch and take notes on some of the other tutorials linked in the Resources section below to better prepare for your specific audio recording needs
  6. Get a copy of the Sound Safari Team Roles Form (PDF)
  7. Get a copy of the Zoom H4n Audio Deck Settings Form (PDF)
    • Fill in with your settings and leave in Zoom H4n cubby
  8. Write a script for your documentary film about basic audio deck operations include all terms and concepts to be included in your short film
    • The point of the film is to demonstrate what you have learned about basic audio deck operations as a reference for yourself in your blog
  9. Storyboard each shot
    • Storyboard template
  10. Block each shot
  11. Create the shot list for the project
  12. Create an equipment list
  13. Practice each shot, update script, as needed
  14. Gather equipment; audio deck, microphone(s), camera, lens, lights, bounce, diffuser, etc.
  15. Create a shot log
  16. Shoot each scene
  17. Catalog shots
  18. Edit shots in either YouTube Video, iMovie, or Adobe Premiere editors



Sound Safari Team Roles

Feedback Form

  • Audio Deck Operations and Controls (PDF) – Coming soon…

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