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Is the New Zoom H8 Right for Your Film and Video Projects? Yup.

Jourdan Aldredge

Take a closer look at the new Zoom H8, a powerhouse audio recorder that will meet all of your filmmaking and video production needs.

Hollywood is on hold, pro sports leagues are struggling to find their footing, and chasing utopia in Animal Crossing long ago started feeling like a dead-end job.

For a lot of people, healthy, positive distractions are kind of hard to find these days. 2020, at best, seems defined by a certain lack of excitement. But that’s not the case for you and me and everyone else reading this blog post. Because we’re different. Because we are Film and Video Nerds. And, for us, excitement is plentiful.

We’re excited to see how the new 8K Canon EOS R5 will change our workflows. We’re excited to wrap our heads around and get our hands on the latest Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro. 12K! What a time to be alive!

Of course, Film and Video Nerds like us, we know pixels aren’t everything. We know that good-looking video needs stellar audio. And that’s why we’re excited about the new Zoom H8 audio recorder.

Zoom’s H4n, H5, and H6 have long been popular choices for filmmakers and video professionals on shoots of all sizes, so we’ve got high hopes for the H8. Let’s take a look at this promising behemoth and figure out what it has to offer.

Introducing the Zoom H8

The number twelve. It’s so hot right now. Blackmagic’s got 12K, and now Zoom’s got 12T. As in, twelve tracks.

The H8 offers twelve tracks of simultaneous recording. Technically, it offers eight-track recording with four additional backup tracks, which you can utilize for up to twelve. And while there aren’t going to be too many occasions where you’re asked to record that many tracks, it’s impressive nonetheless.

The H8 represents the absolute greatest amount of audio coverage you might ever find yourself tasked with recording, and it does a solid job of helping you work with a wide variety of sources — with six XLR inputs (two as XLR/TRS) and recording specs up to 24-bit 96kHz. The H8 can also be used as a two-channel stereo audio interface with iPhones or a twelve-channel USB interface for Mac and PC.

Additionally, the H8 features a new 2.4” color LCD touchscreen that allows you to cycle through its different app modes, which include Podcast, Music, and (the one we’re interested in for film and video) Field. As in, field recording.

This Field app is where you’ll find access to meters for every track, and it’s where you can make all manner of adjustments for input types, compression, lo-cut filtering, limiting, etc.

Zoom H8 — Full Specs 

  • 12 simultaneous rec/play tracks
  • 24-bit/96kHz A/D resolution
  • SD recorder, 12×2 audio interface
  • Low cut EQ filter
  • Compressor and limiter effects
  • XYH-6 capsule mic included
  • Interchangeable capsule system
  • 4 XLR, 2 XLR-1/4″ combo, 1 1/8″ inputs
  • 1 1/8″ output
  • 1 x 1/8″ headphone output
  • Built-in speaker
  • SD, SDHC, SDXC (up to 512GB) memory
  • BWF, WAV, MP3 file formats
  • Up to 20 hours battery life
  • Tripod mounting thread
  • 1.9″ height
  • 4.6″ width
  • 6.4″ depth
  • 0.78 lbs. weight

The Zoom H8 is priced to move at $399.

Using the Zoom H8 for Film and Video Field Recording

As you can see in the short video above, the Zoom H8 is a practical field-recording powerhouse with all kinds of on-set, day-to-day applications for filmmakers and videographers.

The device offers up to twenty hours of battery life, so running out of juice should never be a problem. The H8 also includes standard phantom and plug-in power for your relevant shotgun and boom mic setups. Zoom even included a neat built-in tone generator to help your sound recorder and editor sync picture to sound.

Speaking of sync, the H8 is built to sync up with the WaveLab Cast program. This means you can load video files and mix audio in app, and then export everything as a new, mixed version.

Is the Zoom H8 Right for You?

Zoom H8

The Zoom H8 is powerful, dynamic, flexible, and budget-friendly. Image via Zoom.

Zoom takes its time between product releases, but it’s always worth the wait.

The H8 is powerful, dynamic, flexible, and it’s got all the latest bells, whistles, and app integrations. It’s a top-of-the-line commercial offering for indie filmmakers and corporate videographers, at a price comparable to older Zoom devices and current competitors.

Its greatest strengths are its multi-use capabilities, which should appeal to those working with complex projects that require multiple cameras and multiple audio sources — band videos, church services, big weddings, etc.

So, if you’ve ever had to bring two H4s on a shoot because you had too many tracks to record at the same time, well, today’s your lucky day, and the Zoom H8 is your new go-to audio recorder.

For more audio recording and general filmmaking advice, tips, and tricks, check out some of these articles below.

Cover image via Zoom.