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Great Filmmaking Tech of 2023: 32-bit Float Audio

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Written by Gabriel I

Published Oct 19, 2023

Thanks to Matti Haapoja for inspiring this blog post! You can watch his video on this tech here or below.

The year 2023 has brought about many technological advancements in various creative sectors, but one that stands out in live action + documentary filmmaking is the introduction of 32-bit float audio.

Already know all about 32-bit Float and just want to start using it? Here are 3 pieces of gear that already support it:

Don't know about it and want to learn more? Read on to learn why it's a game-changer:

What is 32-bit Float Audio?

Simply put, 32-bit float means your audio will never clip or be too quiet. Whether you're shouting at the top of your lungs or whispering softly, you can adjust the volume in post-production without any loss in quality. It's not just an auto-gain feature; it's far superior. Imagine having the flexibility of raw video, but for audio.

The Problem it Solves

We've all been there. You're filming an interview or a scene, and when you play it back, the audio is distorted because it's too loud, or it's barely audible. With 32-bit float, those days are over. No more nasty clipping audio that ruins your perfect shot. Even if you're recording in a quiet environment, when you amplify the sound in post, there won't be any added noise. Of course, the proximity of the microphone still matters for optimal sound quality, but the flexibility 32-bit float offers is unparalleled.

Why is it a Big Deal?

Audio quality can make or break a film. While visuals are crucial, poor audio can quickly distract and turn off viewers. Many filmmakers, especially those just starting, often struggle with audio levels. With 32-bit float, the need to constantly monitor and adjust gain levels is eliminated. This technology ensures that audio is consistently clear and at the right volume, regardless of the recording environment.

Any Downsides?

The only real downside at the moment is compatibility. Not all cameras or recorders can handle 32-bit float. So, while you can record in this format on specific devices, transferring that recording to a camera might mean losing the 32-bit float quality. This necessitates syncing files in post-production, which can be a bit of a hassle. However, as the technology becomes more widespread, it's likely that more devices will support it.

The Future of 32-bit Float

Given its advantages, it's easy to predict that 32-bit float will become the standard in the near future. It wouldn't be surprising if, by 2024, most cameras and audio recorders adopt this technology. The benefits far outweigh the current limitations, making it a must-have for filmmakers.

Conclusion

In the ever-evolving world of filmmaking, staying updated with the latest tech is crucial. The introduction of 32-bit float audio is a testament to how technology can simplify processes and enhance quality. It's not just about making things easier; it's about pushing the boundaries of what's possible. And in 2023, 32-bit float has done just that for audio in filmmaking.

We learned all about 32-bit float for our blog post, from Matti Haapoja. Here is his explainer video.

Want to start experiencing the magic of 32-bit float audio? Here's some gear that already supports it:

  • Zoom F3
    • 2 channels
    • Direct recording to MicroSD up to 1TB

  • Rode Wireless Pro
    • Dual channels
    • Internal storage for 40 hrs of recording (32 GB)
    • Advanced time-code sync to speed up post-production

  • Sound Devices MixPre-3 II
    • Up to 5 tracks
    • Record directly to USB stick

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