Sounds Good: Choosing The Right Mic For Your Video

Reading Time: 3 Minutes Beyond

 

News Flash: Onboard cam mics should never be used. Every pro videographer worth their salt recommends against onboard mics, and you should listen to their advice unless you really don’t have any other option. Although you shouldn’t plug a microphone every time your cat jumps to catch a fly, you should definitely use a better one when recording marketing videos. One of the most critical question that faces all marketing video producers is which microphone should you choose?

Some of the flaws of the built in microphone are:

  • Omnidirectional is horrible – Almost all on-board microphones record sound coming every direction around the cam. Although this could be useful sometimes, it will really hurt your business or formal video when you record sound coming from all over the room, bouncing from all the walls. This leads to increase in unwanted sound noise.
  • Mic should be closer than lens – The microphone should be placed close to the sound source (usually a person speaking). The built-in microphones have been primarily put for the person holding the camera to talk to (usually narrating), not to have the subject put far away from you. Because of the distance between the individual doing the speaking and the microphone, you end up with additional room noise. Just like your picture focuses on the subject, your audio should be focused on him too.
  • Hi quality cam but low quality mic – Even though the microphones are improving every day, the on-board ones are still lacking in quality compared to a dedicated microphone. This is mostly noticeable on HDSLR cameras. The low quality microphone can distort your audio, resulting in voice that sounds unnatural and flat.

These are the primary reasons you should buy a cam that has an external mic jack. This will still allow you to record both the audio and video on the same device. Not only will you have less work while recording, you will also get rid of the hassle of synchronizing them together later on. Now that you have decided that you need a microphone, how do you know what microphone should you buy? There are three basic types of microphones used for shooting videos:

  • Shotgun Microphone – This microphone eliminates all the flaws of the on-board mic. It can be placed very close to the speaker but still stay out of frame. The audio quality it provides is excellent, even with the mid-range shotgun microphones. The microphone is extremely directional, making sure you focus the audio on precisely the sounds you want to record, instead of recording everything.
  • Handheld Microphone – This is the standard stick that reporters or singers on stage hold. Its advantages come from being small, easy to use and fast. All that it takes you to record someone’s voice is to point it at them. Change of subject? Just point it somewhere else fast. They are also pretty inexpensive for what they offer. But the cons come with its presence. You cannot hide the microphone from the frame without taking a very weird angle and it usually has to stay directly in front of the speaker in order to capture the sound correctly.
  • Lavalier Microphone – This is one of the most versatile microphones available. Also known as a lapel mic, a lav mic or a clip-on mic, it is usually attached to your shirt. Since most of them are wireless and require no holding, it allows you to walk around and do any kind of gestures you want. This comes at the cost of having a poor sound quality while still paying a lot for them. But they are still very useful and should be a part of every videographer’s microphone kit.

With this info you’ll have an easier time making the decision of your microphone. Most video marketing producers might need all three of them. If you are a bit more specific, you might get away with one kind of a microphone and then rent others whenever you need them. You’ll find that every city has a decent rental outfit, and you’ll need them as great equipment is the first step to great videos.

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