Audio is key
People often get more hung up on things that are arguably less important like cameras and software when it comes to filmmaking. Marketing hype, ignorance, and general lack of experience can be factors of it rather than looking at the actual needs of a given project. This isn’t to say that those decisions are irrelevant, but that they are often not thought out as well these days. Sometimes you actually need 4K+ video and sometimes you need something inexpensive or compact, but you always need good solid audio.
As an editor and a producer I’m not particular what tools are used by others as long as they get the job done right. Whether a DIT wants to use Terminal, Offload, or Shotput Pro doesn’t matter as long as they know what they’re doing and what we need. Audio is very much an area however where having the right tools can make or break a piece in combination with having the right people on set to handle it all.
Bad audio can ruin an otherwise great piece due to too much extraneous noise pickup or not enough pickup of mic subjects. I’m not an engineer so I let those guys figure what’s needed while I try to figure out how to fit into the budget. Bad video can be covered up as long as the audio holds it together. The more complex the scene the more thought out the sound needs to be in order to emphasize and deemphasize different layers of sound in the telling of a story. Even when rolling as a one man crew, I make sure to double check mic placement and levels while also working to get relevant ambient and nat sounds for mixing in post.
Since audio isn’t my specialty, I try to contract someone like Sean McLeroy in Atlanta who really knows what they’re doing and is efficient in doing it. B cams I’m generally much more willing to make sacrifices on after having spent countless hours trying to clean up audio myself. As with so many things, having the right tools for the job makes a big difference, but only if you know what to do with them.