A Good Mic – Here’s Why It’s a Video Essential
In our series on the 9 essential tools you need in order to be a good video producer, we’ve covered needing a plan, a script and stabilizer, i.e., tripod, monopod, etc. It’s time to move onto the 4th essential – a microphone (or decent audio recorder).
A Good Mic
Since audio is 50% of the picture, some would argue it’s 51%, good audio is key in producing better video productions that people will want to watch.
Ever wonder why you don’t get the quality of sound like you hear on your favorite television program from your basic camcorder (or smart phone)? If all you’re using is the built in mic on your camera, your audio will never sound as good. That’s because an on-camera mic just can’t record professional sounding audio.
Camera microphones aren’t necessarily bad mics – they’re just in the wrong place because they are placed right next to the camera lens.
You want to be able to get the mic close to your subject. Even if your subject is 10 inches from the camera, your sound will probably be muddy, weak, or maybe even echoey. Also other noise around it gets picked up, too. That’s why I always recommend using a camera that can take in an external mic and then use that to record your audio.
If you don’t have a camera that will allow you to do that, a small portable recorder like the Zoom H4n Handy Mobile 4-Track Recorder we own and recommend, is a great option. You can place it on next to your subject and get nice audio. You won’t hear camera mechanism noise, or subject shuffling or videographer breathing noise. You will then need to sync up your audio with your action in the editing process which is really not that hard to do if you record a very short distinctive noise, like a clapping sound, in each take.
I also like to bring either a shotgun mic, like this Rode VideoMic, or small wired lavalier mic to a shoot, just in case. The wire is long enough to get the mic away from the camera, and being wired gives me a backup in case my wireless mic or recorder battery goes bad or if there is interference with the wireless reception.
Next week: Why you need lighting – even on a bright sunny day.
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