Do Better Video Production Audio
Choosing the Right Mic
Ok, so your making your awesome film, video production and you have an awesome picture and your so happy with your $5000-$10,000 HD camera. But you start watching the dailies or you load the video to playback what your recorded and you cringe because your onboard microphone is scratchy, static and you picked up the air conditioner! What good is your awesome picture now because the audio is terrible? Once you have decided that the onboard microphone is not cutting it then its time to choose the the right microphone for the job. But what to use and why?
How Microphones Work
Microphones all work in different ways. It is important to know the difference otherwise even if you are using a mic you still may get bad audio.The omnidirectional mic, can pick up sounds equally well from all directions. The misfortune of it is that it can not distinguish between the sound you want and the room sounds. The other is the directional mic. This mic pics up sounds directly in front of it but will not catch sounds in any other direction. Finally there is the unidirectional mic. These mics come in two different variety. The cardioid is broad enough for the every day use but not good for pin pointing audio recording. The hypercardioid is great for highly pin pointing audio pick up. This is great for picking up the lines of audio and not getting the environment sounds.
Get a Mic!
Start With A Boom Mic
The place to start is with a boom mic. It is more correctly stated as a shotgun mic that is mounted to a boom pole. Now you can get the mic close to the subject to pick up nice clear audio. Make sure you position the boom mic in a manner to pick up optimal audio. That meaning point it at the persons mouth, not their eyes, head or below the mouth! It needs to be pointed right at the mouth of the speaker. It can't be pointed just anywhere. Make sure that its out of the frame. Theres nothing worse than looking over footage and have a great shot only to discover the boom mic is in the shot. I've been on my share of short film productions and I've got some experience holding a boom mic for long stretches of time. It can be hard on the arms and shoulders. It is important to stand with the boom mic straight above your head with your feet square with your body. Be relaxed and breath easily. Reposition your hands as need be. Rest the boom on your shoulders behind your head if you get tired. If your shooting a scene with two or more people you need to be quick to transition and rotate the mic from one speaker to another. You can't just hang the mic right in the middle and expect it to pick up both speakers up perfectly. If you are interviewing just one person then you can use a boom pole stand. This is the stand pictured in the kit above. A stand is nice to keep the mic steady and level and it saves the arms and shoulders of your audio guy.
Now to really get precision audio from your talent the use of a lavaliere microphone is going to be the best choice. According to instructor and videographer Steve Brubaker, his top choice is Ectrosonics which are the best in the lavaliere business. But the cheaper option would be a Sony set with a Tram mic. Sennheiser and Shure are good too. You have to know your budget and you have to know what kind of attachment does your camera take. A DSLR probably only has a mini jack input. But a professional end camera or a cinema end camera will probably have multiple options, the most common being the XLR input. Finally in my experience a good Rhode mic is both quality and affordable.
The Lav Mic Kit
What are the 3 types of microphones?
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