I always bump into people emigrated from my home country and I thought it would be fun to start a series where I'd interview them to learn about their journey, see where they live, work, etc.
I'm a total audio-noob so I spent the past few weeks researching tools, equipment, recorders, mics, and I'm a bit overwhelmed by the tons of information online.
I'd mainly aim for 1:1 interviews but sometimes, e.g. if I'm talking with a couple, the number of participants could go up to 3 and I'd say rarely up to 4. The audience is mainly people watching/listening to stuff on their phone and laptops so it shouldn't be Hollywood quality, just good enough to enjoy listening to people talking, without picking up much of the noise that could occur outside a studio – machines rumbling at somebody's workplace, neighbors drilling their walls, wind on the street, etc.
Since I want to have a small pouch I could throw in my backpack while traveling I basically boiled it down to 2 big categories I'm thinking of:
A) Buy something like a Zoom H5 and 2 lavalier mics
- Cheaper to scale to multiple participants (just buy additional mics)
- Having the recorder in front of me would give me feedback, control and the confidence that I'm surely recording
- Room for upgrades – use different mics, XLR, stereo recording, phantom power, etc
- Using the recorder's mic I could record sound for B-roll or other fun stuff
- Cables would tie us to a table pretty much
- Recording without participants being tied to a single recorder. While the majority of the conversations will happen in one place, I can imagine having conversations walking around the neighborhood, a workplace, etc. Having long cables could be an alternative but not very convenient
- No knobs, level bars or other distractions, just start recording and focus on the guest
- While starting with a 1:1 setup could be about the same price as option A, scaling out would mean investing the same amount per participant again
- Having an ad-hoc extra guest is impossible – 1 recorder = 1 mono channel. With option A I could have a few spare mics with me, borrow one from someone or worst case buy something cheap in a local store that's still better than the built-in mic of the camera
- I don't see what's going on with the audio, if the battery dies or whatever
Also, if you'd go with option B then which recorder would you choose?