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How To Choose The Right Microphone

If you've ever wondered whether there is a right microphone for a particular situation, then keep reading.

In this blog, we are going to explore several microphone types and their uses.

Lavalier / Lapel Microphones

When it comes to recording interviews, nothing is going to beat the trusty lapel microphone. These units are usually very compact, and relatively easy to set up. The mics that we use, The Røde Filmmaker Kit, has just one button on each pack, you hold them both down, and they link up. Just like that, you are ready to go.

How To Choose The Right Microphone

Lapel mics are great for capturing interview audio. Though some filmmakers do not care for their appearance on interviewee clothing, nothing is going to give you a better audio capture at such close range.

Mic placement should be at the breastbone level, and we have a little secret trick we use. Typically, the mic is placed pointing upward towards the interviewee's mouth, and though it seems counterintuitive, we recommend, pointing it towards the belly button. Doing this will help reduce the harsh P and S sounds that can be captured by the mic as the person speaks. It can also reduce the need for the bulky pop filter that can sometimes make the microphone even more apparent.

For event coverage (something that we often do), we have found that using lapels that run of Wi-Fi rather than Radio Frequency will benefit you greatly. At events, you will often find scouts walking around asking video crews, "What radiofrequency are you on?" You might be wondering why that is. In short, they don't want you screwing up their main stage presenter who is possibly using a radio mic with the same frequency as you. Wi-Fi mics, for the most part, solve this issue.

We've had great success in our videos with The Røde Filmmaker Kit. It is an excellent piece of kit if you're looking for something easy to use, quite affordable, and also unobtrusive on your interviewee.

Podcast Microphones

Podcasts are everywhere, and with the different microphones available, it can be hard to choose the right one. When we became part of The Fearless Entrepreneur Podcast and our In Focus Podcast, we searched for a microphone that would give the most rounded audio. We also wanted one that we could use for projects other than podcasts.

We settled on the Blue Yeti microphone. This mic does all the heavy lifting for our podcast recording, and the great thing about this microphone is that it comes with four different settings. You select between Stereo, Cardioid, Bi-Directional, and Omnidirectional modes, which is excellent for giving you the most versatility in your project.

How To Choose The Right Microphone

tend to record in Cardioid mode for our podcasts and voiceover work, and we can transport this microphone around really easily in a hard case that we purchased off of Amazon. We use it to record voiceovers for a client's TV commercials, at their location, and the audio recording sounds great.

This podcast mic works on a standard micro USB cable. You can plug it straight into your computer and start recording immediately. One thing we like about this microphone is that it has a mute button on the front. Pressing this button will prevent any audio from being recording, which is excellent if you happen to be coughing your way through a podcast.

There is also a gain control on the back which we typically leave alone. We turn it down to zero and do any volume increase digitally. Since our space as white noise makers, this prevents extra background noise from being captured during recording.

The Blue Yeti is a sturdy microphone that has served us well so far. If you are looking to add a versatile microphone to your gear, this one is worth a look.

Shotgun Microphones

One of the most popular microphones in the video industry is the shotgun microphone. You tend to see these on film sets, at the end of long poles, being held up by very tired looking people. Also, you will likely see them on top of people's cameras at events.

How To Choose The Right Microphone

This microphone works by picking up sound that is directly in front of it. We use the Røde NTG2 on our shoots, which is then connected to the camera using XLR cables. A standard in the video and audio industry.

While using this type of mic will remove the need for a lapel microphone, potentially giving you a cleaner looking interviewee, and making on-the-fly interviewee's more manageable. There is a downside. Audio is going to be harder to capture the further away from your interviewee or actor the tip of the microphone is. You also will want to avoid getting the microphone in the frame of your image; a term referred to as "Boom In." So using a shotgun microphone can also limit the type of shots that you can achieve during filming.

Shotgun mics, just like some of the other mics mentioned in this blog, have different uses depending on what you are trying to record. Think about the scenario, and ask whether this is the best mic for the job. Audio is one of those things that if poorly captured, will not be forgiven by your audience. So always aim to achieve the best sound you can and keep your viewers happy.

By Michael Lunt | Mike is the owner of Parasol Media, a video production company in Columbus, OH. He has spent over a decade assisting small businesses with realizing their creative vision for video content. From social media videos to broadcast commercials, Mike's industry experience has placed him all over the world to create content that moves.

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