03 Jan Hearing The Difference
Let me give you some good advice – do not record audio for your video with the microphone on your camera. I know because I tried it and it was horrible.
The camera works perfectly, as does the onboard mic, but what it hears, you wouldn’t want to listen to. It is firmly attached to everything that hums, clicks, or pops on the camera body and every time fingers run over the body while filming things you get the sound of a dustbin rolling down a cobbled street. Full of cats.
That may have been slightly exaggerated…but only slightly. The microphone in the camera is in a very disadvantageous position and cannot distinguish the sounds out front of the machine from those that surround it. The makers of the picture box realise this and provide a technical solution; a microphone port to plug an external mic into and a visual reading of the level that the mic is recording on the back LCD screen.
I plug in a powered mic – a good Røde model that points forward like an airplane’s nose – and it ignores the sounds under and to the side of it. I get the sound of the show out front with none of the rattles and bangs of my operations in the back.
Well, you can do this too – and you needn’t spend quite as much as I did for my big Røde – they make small ones for smaller cameras and mobile phones. Here is the Video Micro.
It’s the best bet for the buck when you are recording onto a compact or small mirror-less camera. The mic is isolated from camera shake and rattle by the soft plastic suspension and feeds directly into the side of many cameras. You can get fuzzy wind shields that further insulate it when you’re out in the field. It is light and sits securely on a hot shoe without stressing the camera.
It’s first cousin to the Video Mic Me that plugs into mobile phones. You may look like a prat talking into a phone on the end of a stick but at least you’ll sound pleasant.