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Do you want some useful audio recording tips for video cameras? Fully half of an A/V project is sound. Audio/Visual. They even put it first! Maybe it’s just an alphabetical order thing.
Current digital cameras are capable of recording amazing-looking video footage. They are also capable of recording audio. But what keeps many videographers from actually having great sound on their recording is relying on the built-in mics of DSLRs and mirrorless cameras.
Seriously, the camera sensors are phenomenal and the lenses are extremely sharp. The mics are generally pretty good for their size, but we can do better. The best types of microphones for video are off-camera mics.
Simple To Use
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When searching for audio recording tips that relate to their own videos, some videographers might be led to believe that achieving high-quality audio recordings could turn into a difficult chore. It doesn’t have to. Superb sound can be realized by simply plugging in an external mic to your camera.
What are the best types of microphones for video shot with our favorite digital camera? Three common choices are lavalier, shotgun, and handheld. Each of these microphones has a specific characteristic or two that will blend in with your personal style of videography.
Some microphones can be plugged directly into your camera. Some are best used plugged into a mixing board and recorded on another digital recording tool. Many mics have wireless options as well. We’ll show you three different mics but you can use the information to shop for other audio recording gear too.
Recommended Videography Books:
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Lavalier mics are small microphones placed near the mouth of the subject speaking. The name refers to a style of jewelry worn around the neck. Early lavalier mics were large, strapped to the chest, pointing directly toward the mouth. Think of telephone operators from the early 20th Century.
Modern lavalier mics are small enough to be clipped to the lapel, tie, or breast pocket of the subject's clothes. One of the more interesting audio recording tips I learned from recording live stage performances is that you can also put a lavalier mic in a performer’s hair to give the illusion of a mic-less performance. Works best with longer hair, of course.
One of the better examples of a lavalier mic can be found at Samy’s Camera, the Tascam DR-10L Digital Audio Recorder with Lavalier Mic. What sets this apart from other lavalier mics is that it’s a recording device, too.
It can record in BWF to make editing easier. Sync up the recorded audio with the in-camera footage with an editing program to bump up the quality of the audio in your videos.
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A shotgun is one of the easiest types of microphones for video that a videographer can use. It can mount directly to the camera to enhance the built-in audio recording capability of your DSLR or mirrorless camera.
Shotgun mics like the Rode Microphones VideoMic GO On-Camera Shotgun Microphone are lightweight, too. If using a shotgun mic outdoors, a good audio recording tip is to make sure you put a wind sock on it. You are using an off camera microphone to improve the audio portion of your A/V production, so don’t degrade the quality of the sound by allowing wind noise to be recorded.
Plugged into a wireless transmitter or a compact recorder, you could also place a small shotgun mic anywhere you want to put it with a low profile mount such as the OctoPad. Check out the review below for more details on that device.
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A handheld microphone is a great way to add high-quality voice audio to instructional vlogs, presentations, or musical performances. If you plan on plugging directly into your camera, you will need to ensure you have the proper type of cord attached. Adapters exist for some of the most common configurations.
An important audio recording tip is that a handheld microphone with an XLR connector can provide very clean audio when plugged into a mixing board or an auxiliary audio recorder. Be careful not to fiddle around too much with the mic in your hand to avoid extraneous noise.
A high-quality example of a handheld mic can be seen in the Sennheiser E835 Cardioid Handheld Dynamic Microphone. Another good pro audio recording tip is to employ a microphone stand for handsfree use of a handheld mic.
Extra Pro Audio Tips for Video Recording
Whichever type of microphone for video you end up using, a couple of other methods can be employed to increase the quality and performance of your sound recording.
If you have the budget and the space for them, a mixing board and a digital audio recorder can increase the quality of the sound recorded. There are versions of these devices that are battery powered for use in the field, others are more comfortably used in a home or office studio.
Audio files aren’t just for vocal or music recording. A Foley artist can use these same tools to manufacture additional noises in order to enhance your video productions.
Check out this informative YouTube video about Foley from Academy Originals:
As one more of my audio recording tips, try out some of the simple audio-only editing programs to make files you can then insert by means of your regular video editing equipment and programs.
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Any way you look at it, having great audio to add to your excellent video footage will enhance your finished A/V projects!