Sunday, January 21, 2018

Microphone On Camera? How To Get Better Audio

Is your microphone on camera? External microphones will give you better audio quality than your microphone on your camera, but if you don’t have an external microphone there are some tricks to improving the sound.

In this short, one minute video, I cover one way you can help your viewers hear you better.

I deliberately shot it with the on-camera mic at a challenging location – the beach near my house on a windy day – to show you what I’m talking about. Normally we use and advise getting a camera with a microphone jack and a good external microphone especially in these shooting situations. We just happened to be at the beach shooting still photos with our Canon T2i this day and decided to shoot some video tips to demonstrate the shortcomings of a built-in mic and how to compensate for them.

The CanonT2i does have a microphone input for an external mic but we didn’t have our mic that day. (Next week, I’ll post a video from this same location showing you the difference when I use an external microphone. Subscribe to my channel on YouTube and you’ll get notification when it’s uploaded.)

If you are serious about shooting better quality videos you will want to invest in a microphone, and probably more than one kind. Inexpensive lavalier microphones can be found for $30; professional lavaliers cost $250 and up. A decent shotgun mic will cost $150 up to several thousand dollars.

Microphones are a good investment because unlike video cameras, they do not change much over time. A good microphone from 15 years ago is still an excellent instrument today. I’m using microphones I bought 12 years ago and they haven’t changed during that time.

An inexpensive video camera with an inexpensive external mic will outperform a better camera without an external mic in a noisy or windy situation. I recommend buying an inexpensive lavalier mic to always keep in your camera bag.

Why should you care about getting good audio? Most viewers will tolerate a jittery shot but click off if they can’t hear or understand what you are saying. As we like to say, “Sound is half the picture.” Get a mic – just do it.


5 Responses to “Microphone On Camera? How To Get Better Audio”
  1. Jason Nast says:

    Can you recommend an inexpensive wireless lapel mic I can use with a Kodak Zi8?

    • Kim R Miller says:

      As a wireless lavalier mic, I would recommend Audiotechnica ATR288W or Audiotechnica PRO 88W – The prices are about $179 to $199. If you spend anything less than that, you’ll be disappointed. A really good one will set you back about $500. You can get less expensive wired ones of better quality but not wireless.

      Hope this helps!

  2. Geoff Stock says:

    Absolutely correct, the closer to the microphone the better. If you have a wide angle lens put it on so you can get the talent even closer. Also, to stop the wind buffeting the mike if you don’t have a windsock try putting a piece of material over the mike to decrease the wind getting in. A folded over handkerchief or old sock may help. Make sure you are listening with headphones to make sure the sound is still getting through clearly and the material is not flapping against the mike and making it worse. Bad audio will ruin every shoot. The 3 biggest secrets with audio, headphones, headphones, headphones. Keep up the great tips, Geoff Stock.


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  1. […] I posted a video with a tip on how to get better audio with your on-camera microphone. As promised, I shot this new video over the weekend to show you why we use and recommend upgrading […]


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