In a recent post I mentioned that audio was 90% of a good video. Today we will look at microphone types.
Microphones come in all shapes and sizes. There are: Handheld/Stand mount, lavalier, shotgun and boundary. Deciding on the type of digital video capture you do will determine the type of microphone you will need. Like a mechanic your tool box may have all or one based on your budget and need.
- Handheld/Stand mount – These mics need to be in relatively close proximity (18 inches) to the source, usually the mouth. Portability and sharing between speakers are a benefit as demonstrated in many informal interview situations.
- Lavalier – AKA Lapel Mic. This mic clips on to the person speaking inconspiculously. Try to get the mic as close to the throat as possible. Good isolation from background noise but not the best vocal sound.
- Shotgun – This long tubular mic excels by providing a narrowly focused sound pickup pattern and rejects noise from the sides. Often these are placed on poles or handgrips just out of the camera shot and pointed at the sound source. When used appropriately they can provide the most natural voice recording in a location shoot.
- Boundary – This mic often is a flat plate or hockey puck type shape. These often can be placed on table tops or in front of a wide source.
Over my many years of producing video one key element most people do not take time with is audio.
I have told my students and other producers that audio is 90% of a good video. With today’s cameras video is easier to shoot and look good for most people. Pay attention to audio while shooting and in the editing process.
Here are a few tips:
1) When shooting an interview place your subject in an area that does not have much noise. If there is – find another place. There is nothing worse than trying to hear some one in a factory explaining their business or training on how to do something and all you can hear is the machines. Waste of your time to even shoot.
2) When shooting with an on-camera mic place yourself within two or three feet from the subject. This is a tight shot but the audio will be better. Moving four or six feet away will create a lower volume and pick up more room noise.
3) When ever possible purchase an external mic. Something you can place a foot or so away from the subject and the camera can be back farther.
4) Research what type of mic you need – wireless, handheld, shotgun.
5) Outdoor shooting can be a challenge. Wind noise. That low distracting rumble that takes over and all you hear is the wind and see the persons lips move. There are a number of wind socks available – do your research. There are times when you can move the subject and you become the wall that blocks the wind. Or… find another spot.
6) I have an external recorder made by Zoom that I use on occasions when mic placement is tough. Then I match the audio up in editing. Remember the ole clapboards – they do serve a purpose. You can become the human clapper – make sure your camera and audio recorder are recording. Stand near the subject so the camera sees you and are close to sound recorder. Out stretch your arms and make like a clapper. When you edit – you will hear the clap – then match the video to where the hand come together. All should be in sync. Some minor adjustments may have to be made but it is that simple.
Good Luck and really pay attention your surroundings…. Audio is 90% of a good video.