Do I need an external microphone?
Whether you’re shooting on your smartphone, action camera or DSLR, the built-in microphone just isn’t equipped to deliver top-notch audio to match up to the great visuals. Issues can include the built-in microphone being too far away from the subject, too much ambient noise, low sensitivity, and picking up the noise of the device’s own internal electronics. For anyone shooting video content, whatever the device, an external microphone is essential to give the finished piece a polished feel.
Below are a few options available to you.
Option 1: On Camera microphones for DSLR
- designed to sonically outperform the built-in microphones
- often feature suspension systems called “shock mounts,” that help to isolate the microphone from handling and mechanical noise
• How do I connect an on-camera microphone to my camera?
- Your camera must have a microphone input – not all DSLR cameras have an external microphone input
- If you do have an input what type is it – a 3.5mm mini-plug jacks or XLR connectors
• What kind of on-camera microphone should I get?
- STEREO: a stereo microphone is essentially two microphones housed in a single body –one for right and one for left and is the best choice when you’re trying to record ambient sound (environmental sounds or music)
- SHOTGUN: if you’re recording people who are speaking in front of the camera, you’re going to need a “shotgun” microphone. The ideal position for a shotgun microphone is as close to the speaking person’s mouth as possible.
• Do I need any accessories?
- An essential accessory when recording outdoors is wind protection such as a “dead-cat”. Most microphones ship with a foam windscreen - helpful for light breezes only. To muffle wind noise you need a fur windshield - essentially a fuzzy sock that you pull over the foam windscreen that came with your microphone.
- In some situations you may find that an additional shock mount or an extension audio cable is necessary
Option 2: A lavalier (lapel) microphone
- If you’re recording an interview, a presentation, or any other kind of content where a single subject’s voice needs to sound clear, intelligible and natural, a lavalier microphone is the best solution.
- A lavalier microphone is a very small microphone that is attached either directly to the speaker’s clothing. They come in both wired and wireless varieties, and are designed to be discrete and lightweight. A wired lav may restrict the speaker’s movement, but a wireless lav mic requires only a small transmitter pack that is typically clipped onto the speaker’s belt or in their pocket.
- Learn more about Rode lavalier mics
Option 3: Wireless microphones
- Wireless microphone systems are comprised of three fundamental components: the microphone, the transmitter, and the receiver. There are no cables to get in the way and the mics can be used further away from the camera than a wired mic.
- Learn more about Rode wireless microphones
Option 4: Connecting two mics to one input