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Imagine watching a video without any audio? Or even worse poor-quality audio? You are sure to lose interest quickly. Audio is an integral part of any video production and can even be the deciding factor in its success. While most cameras are equipped with built-in microphones, they may not be on par with audio quality, as the focus of camera is the video quality. Here's where an external camera microphone, designed with a singular focus on capturing top quality audio, proves to be most valuable.
Why Should You Use A Camera Microphone?
Investing in a microphone, wireless or mounted, is a good idea for several reasons. They are built to produce a better overall sonic output than your in-built microphone. Also, most mics come with suspension systems called shock mounts that aid in isolating handling, and mechanical noise. Depending on your requirement, they can improve the clarity of dialogues as well as pick up background sounds. Some DSLR microphones do not even need extra SD cards or cords, which means less to carry around. Additionally, wireless microphones for camera free you from cords, and the trouble to searching for outlets wherever you go.
Types of Camera Microphones
All camera microphones are not the same. The right microphone for your DSLR depends upon your camera model, your choice of subject, environment, and most importantly your budget.
Shotgun microphone: If you are shooting videos of people talking in front of cameras, shotgun mic is the one for you. Designed with a tube shaped-body, it can pick sounds from a longer distance when compared to other types of microphones. Being highly directional, the shot microphone should be targeted directly at the source for better clarity.
Stereo Microphone: If you are shooting nature, weddings, or a live performance, a stereo microphone is your obvious choice. It has two separate microphone elements – usually on the left and the right - that simultaneously capture environmental sound. These are again categorized based on the mic's polar patterns, which tell you how it picks sounds coming from different directions.
Omnidirectional Stereo Microphone has a 360-degree output. It picks up sound equally from all directions, regardless of its orientation. The downside is that it cannot favour one side over the other.
Cardioid Stereo Microphone is most sensitive to the sound coming from the front of the mic, and least sensitive to the sound from the back. It is perfect for recording interviews, vlogs, and monologues.
Bidirectional mics capture sound from the front and rear of the mic. They are less sensitive to the sides.
A Stereo Shotgun mic is ideal for scenarios when you want to isolate a particular sound, while maintaining the essence of the background soundscape. Usually, it can switch between stereo and mono to capture the best of both worlds.
Can You Tell If Your Camera Is Compatible with An On-Camera Microphone?
First determine whether your camera has an external microphone input slot with the help of a manual or guide. If yes, then you need to know the type of connector that is compatible with your camera. Most DSLR mics use 1/8'' (3.5mm) mini-plug. Professional video camera microphones generally use XLR inputs for connection. In a rare case, if your camera does not have a microphone input, it is not possible to use an external microphone.
Accessories for camera microphones
Camera mics usually come with foam microphones that offer protection from background distortions. When shooting outdoors, mics need to be protected from wind. Fur windshields that have a fuzzy exterior come in handy in these situations. They can be pulled over foam windscreen for superior protection. For shotgun microphones, softie windshields that come with a fuzzy exterior, durable foam interior and rubber gasket around its opening, provide the best protection. Stands and tripods for microphones are other accessories that can also significantly improve your overall video quality.