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Choosing A Microphone For Video Content
Hey, everybody, it’s Craig with Clipscribe. I want to talk to you about how to choose a microphone for creating video content. There are a lot of types of microphones out there and this is something that’s really easy to make a mistake on, if you don’t know some really important things. I’m no audio engineer but I know enough.
I’m going to try to give you the basics – so you can avoid some common mistakes when you’re trying to decide how to choose a microphone for creating your video content.
You need a microphone, okay? That should be just a no brainer. But especially if you’re recording with your phone and your phone is far away from you.
If it’s on a tripod, you have to have a microphone. If you’re recording in noisy rooms with a lot of reverb, you really need a microphone. If you are recording regularly in a studio-type place or in the same place, it just makes a lot of sense to have a microphone.
There are three primary types of microphones that we’re going to talk about today. The first one is called a dynamic microphone. Now, I don’t want you to get all lost in the weeds of the terminology here, but you do need to know when you go to look for your microphone a few of these terms.
A dynamic microphone is going to be the kind that’s not super sensitive and it’s usually used when you need to pick up more sound in a louder situation. So that’s really what these microphones are made for. This is an example of a dynamic microphone. This is the microphone that I bought because I saw Jay Leno would use it for street interviews, back when Jay Leno Tonight show was on and I needed to do some on-the-street interviews.
So I bought this microphone. Now, the reason it works really great is that it’s a dynamic microphone. It can be used in lousy, loud places, and it’s not super sensitive where it’s going to pick up everything. But because it’s not super sensitive, you generally had to put it right up to your mouth. So that’s what you generally see when they take the microphone and they move it close to the person talking. If they make a mistake where they don’t put it on the other person, you don’t hear the other person at all because it’s not crazy sensitive or it’s just going to pick up everything around you.
So, another type of microphone – and these are really only two that matter. I’m going to share the third one, but these two are the ones that matter – it is a condenser type of microphone.
Now, these types of microphones are very sensitive. They’re usually used in studio recordings where you’re trying to pick up every little detail to the sound.
The opposite kind of the dynamic microphone that is used it’s for really loud spaces because it’s not super sensitive. The condenser is going to be very sensitive a lot of times condenser microphones have something called phantom power. They’re actually further powered either by a battery or by a mixer that makes them even more sensitive and more powerful.
So you got dynamic and you’ve got the condenser. Now, you could potentially choose either of these types of microphones for doing a podcast, or doing social media video content. So we need to dig a little bit deeper.
So I have a studio situation here, I have a room where I’m able to control the sound. So I use a condenser microphone. I also use a condenser microphone because I like to mount it up above me so it’s not right in front of my mouth. And this is just something I’ve always liked.
I’ve always liked having the microphone where you don’t even see it, you don’t even know how is this good the sound is coming out of this video. I don’t see a microphone, so that’s kind of always been something that I like.
The third type of microphone that we’re really not even going to talk about is a ribbon microphone.
Usually, these are really expensive, classic vintage microphones used for warmer recordings, usually for music and vocals, and not super applicable to creating video content – so we’re not even going to talk about those.
The other thing you need to think about is choosing the right microphone direction. Microphones have different directional patterns, and so you’re going to need to look at what the directional pattern is to make sure you don’t get the wrong type of microphone.
One example of this is what’s called an Omni-directional microphone. Omni means everything or everywhere and so this type of microphone is going to get sound from many, many directions.
It will get sound from all over the place. So generally not an ideal situation if you’re wanting to do social media video content. You want it to pick up your voice. The cases where you might want to do that is if you have a lot of people, and you want to maybe get ambient sound in the background.
For some reason, that might be something you’re wanting to do, but is typically not going to be what you’re looking for.
Now, another type is called a uni-directional microphone, which means the microphone is going to get sound from generally one place. Now there are three types of uni-directional microphones. One is called cardioid and the cardioid gets sound from the front and the sides of the microphone. Okay? And then you have super cardioid and hyper-cardioid and basically, those just get more narrow in the focus of sound.
So you’re going to most likely want to look for a uni-directional microphone because you want your sound to go right in the microphone. You don’t want the microphone picking up sound from everywhere else. Okay? Especially even if you have multiple guests, it’s more ideal that each of them has their own microphone, which is generally what you see on podcasts and video interviews and such.
The other type of microphone, it’s called a shotgun microphone and that’s the one that I showed you earlier. That is the one that I use now. A shotgun microphone focuses the sound even more directly. Again, I’m no engineer. A shotgun microphone might be a hyper-cardioid or super-cardioid microphone but it is meant to zero in on the sound.
So a lot of times you’ll see shotgun microphones on cameras because they’re pointing right at a subject if it’s a professional camera, I actually use shotgun microphones for on-the-street interviews as well because they would point, right at somebody and when you point at them they wouldn’t pick up a lot of the background sound even though it’s a condenser mic.
Shotgun mics are usually condenser mics. They’re usually very sensitive, but because they zero in on one very focused subject, they can be good even in some noisier situations.
So we have the type of microphone and we have the directionality that you want to consider.
How Do I Choose The Best Microphone For Me?
So now let’s look at some form factors that you should take into consideration when you’re choosing the type of microphone that you want to use specifically for creating video content. One type of microphone that you might want to use for creating video content is the lavalier or the clip-on microphone.
These types of microphones clip on your shirt, they’re usually a dynamic cardioid or they can be an omni directional pattern, but because they go right there on your shirt, usually you see these at news, you see them on all kinds of places, talk shows and it’s so close to your mouth that it usually isn’t going to pick up a lot of background sound, it’s almost like holding the microphone right up to your mouth.
These are really great, I highly recommend them. This one is actually a wireless one. It’s a more professional microphone. It’s got cat hair on it, but that’s okay. But you can get really inexpensive, wired microphones or lavaliers microphones that can be great. I’m pretty sure you can get a condenser style to where they’re powered.
And so they can be pretty sensitive as well. So you want to take that into consideration also, is it going to need the extra power? Is it going to need phantom power? But yeah, the first microphone I ever did when I started creating videos many, many years ago was just a lavalier microphone. It had a long cable and I just plugged it right into my camera and it worked rather well.
So another type of mount that you can use would be the hanging type. Okay, so this is what I was talking about previously when referring to the type of microphone that I use. So I used a shotgun microphone as a condenser microphone to the very, very narrow focus and I mounted it above me.
This is literally a box that I created. You see the microphone going into it and I put some foam in that box to kind of dampen the sound a bit. That microphone is right up here. I pull it down a little bit, but then it’s going to be hard to get it back up. Will probably stay as it is literally just hanging right above me just and it shoots right down at me.
Because I have that box on it, it’s not grabbing sound from everywhere else because as it’s a condenser microphone, it’s quite sensitive, but it picks me up and then I’m able to kind of filter out some of the extra sound later. And again, I like it because it’s up and out of the way, and it adds a bit of "where is the microphone here?".
That’s why I use a shotgun condenser mic. As I said, you can use a lavalier, dynamic mic, or a condenser mic. Or you can use a studio mounted type microphone. Now, these are extremely popular right now, you see them on a lot of youtube videos, these are usually mounted on your desk or they’re like an arm mount that you can put right in front of your mouth.
They could be dynamic or they could be a condenser type of microphone. But, the beauty of this studio kind of mounted microphone used to be used in radio, a lot of DJs would use them and they sit right in front of your mouth.
They solve a lot of problems. The only problem they don’t solve is the aesthetic problem because there’s a microphone, but that’s kind of a cool thing, these days. So it’s really not a problem to have a microphone sitting in front of your face.
I’ve even thought about doing it just because I think they can get better sound because you’re talking right into them. So you have more control. I have less control because this microphone is up here and I have to do more post-processing to filter out the noise and everything else, even though it’s not terrible and the end product is still good.
I have to put in a little bit of extra effort to make it sound great. So really, either of those three form factors would work well for you. The lavalier mic, a mounted studio mic, hanging mic all would work great for social media content.
The prices on these can range all over the place. As I said, you can go to Best Buy and buy a cheap little lavalier mic with a cable on it, plug it into your computer, plug it into your camera, and probably only spend 50 bucks. Or you can spend $700 or $1000 for a studio-style microphone.
This microphone, I think was maybe, I don’t know, $300 or something like that. So the prices are going to be all over the place and the sound quality you’re going to get, it’s going to depend, you get what you pay for. You can go on YouTube and you can look up a lot of times, people will make videos showing them recording themselves with a microphone, so you can actually hear it for yourself.
You Are A Microphone Pro
To sum it up you need to think about the type of microphone (a dynamic or a condenser microphone), consider the directionality. Obviously, it needs to be a unidirectional or a cardioid pattern most likely.
That’s just getting your voice and not getting everything else. And then just have to form factor how you want to use it, do you want to mount it? Do you want to hang it? If you want to use a clip those are the things you need to think of.
Is it a condenser microphone that needs extra power? And if it does have a battery or do you have to plug it to like a mixing board to get it that power? That’s something else you’re going to have to consider as well. So hopefully these tips help you out, and help you decide on the type of microphone to get for your social media video content.
Let me know if you have questions in the comments below. And I look forward to answering those for you. If you need help creating great video content and amplifying the attention you’ll get with your video content and expanding the reach, you can get it by cloning it out to multiple different layouts.
Check out clipscribe.com and other than that, I look forward to seeing you on another post.