All About Audio (Part 1)
Still curious about the variety of audio options out there today? Not sure which audio setup is best for you? Keep reading as we breakdown several audio options so you can be sure you have the best possible audio for your filming needs! If you want to learn more, check out Dave Basulto’s Book, Life Camera Action!
Audio can be the make it or break it factor for the success of a video. Often times viewers are willing to watch a video even if it is shaky or just mediocre, but if the audio is poor quality, quite frankly people just won’t put up with that.
Though the microphones on iOS devices may be improving, we highly suggest adding a microphone to your setup, as it makes a world of a difference. There are plenty of lower budget options for audio, which we’ll cover. So, even if you are a beginner and intimidated by the plethora of microphone options, we have some simple user friendly options that will get you on the road to producing great content. For those in the more advanced stages of filming, we also have tried out some of the most expensive audio options and we’ll be sure to cover that too.
The first category of microphone is the shotgun microphone, which is a long directional microphone. It is designed to pick up audio where it is pointed, and it won’t pick up audio on the left or right of it. These are great microphones for a variety of setups, whether it’s filming interviews or shooting concerts, it’s going to be handy.
The best beginner shotgun mic is the Rode Video Micro, which can be purchased for $59 on our site. It’s small, portable, reasonably priced, and gets great audio. It also includes a wind cover, a big fuzzy coat for the mic that helps to prevent wind from affecting your sound. This microphone needs a special cable to make it compatible with iOS devices, the SC7 cable, which we also sell on our site. The next level shotgun mic is the VideoMic Go, for $99 on our site. This is our most popular mic, as it gets great audio, it’s lightweight, includes a wind cover, and has a range of 4-6 feet, for a solid price. This will also require the SC7 cable! The next level shotgun mic is the VideoMic Pro, for $229. It’s true that with audio you get what you pay for, and while the previous microphones produce great audio, this one is going to be more professional. It has more bells and whistles, as it allows you to change the pre-amp volume to -10db for noisy environments and +200db boost to reduce camera noise. This microphone requires a different cable for iOS devices, the SC4 cable!
All the recommended microphones above get their power from being plugged in to a device, so there is no external battery set up necessary. Any of these microphones are easy to add to your iOgrapher set up, as they all include cold shoe mounts which are like small slide in clips that will fit in at the top of your iOgrapher case.
If you have an iPhone 7 or 7Plus, you will also need the lightning to headphone jack adapter, which you will use in combination with your adapter cables or microphone!
The next microphone category is the lavalier mic, which are handy in many ways, from interviews, tutorials, vlogging, or any close-up situation.. It’s a tiny microphone that is attached to a long wire that will plug in directly to your device. This does not require any special compatibility cable! We have the iRig Mic Lav, for $49.95! It has a small clip that easily attaches to your shirt. We love this mic because it has a great price, and it’s pretty much fool proof, so if you’re looking for a no mess small microphone, this is one that everyone should have in their toolbox. Another awesome feature is you can connect multiple lav mics together, daisy chain them, so you can have as many mics connected while filming at one time. Perfect for having multiple interviewees. If the length of the iRig Mic Lav wire is not long enough for your setup (150cm/66”), there is the SC1 extension cable which adds 6m/20’.
If you want a lav mic but want the benefits of being wireless, there is the Samson Stage XPD1 Wireless Lavalier System, for $99. This is a lavalier mic with a small battery pack that you clip onto yourself, that wirelessly sends connections to a small plug in to your device. Unfortunately the plug in part is a USB connection, but with the USB to lightning adapter, this will work with your iOS device no problem. This has a battery life of about eight hours using two AA batteries. Be aware that wireless microphones are always susceptible to interference, especially if you are in an area with lots of interference like a convention. Sometimes using an LTE connection will also pickup interference, so a strong wifi connection is the best recommendation.
We’ve covered shotgun and lavalier microphone options, which are hands down our most popular microphones. If you want to learn more about handheld mics, boom mics, iOS compatibility with older mics, monitoring audio, and more pro tips, tune in next week for our All About Audio Part 2!