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Weekly Video Tip: Types Of Mics – Shotgun

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By Stephen Schweickart

Alright, if you’re going to shoot a video, chances are you’re going to be gathering some audio to go along with it. And if you’ve been following along in our little series here, you already know that audio is a big part of your final product, and it’s really easy to screw it up. So we’re back again with some more audio tips, and this time we’re going to show you a few different kinds of mics and how to use them properly.

There are two popular types of mics we’re going to focus on–lavalier or lapel mics, and shotgun mics. These two mic types will cover all of your production audio needs, so let’s get into the nitty gritty of how to use the shotgun mic.

If you can use a shotgun mic, do it. Strap that sucker to a boom pole, give it to an operator and let him collect the audio. There’s a ton of advantages to doing this over clipping a lapel mic to your talent’s clothing–not the least of which is that it eliminates clothes rustle. To see for yourself, get a lapel mic, put it on, stick your headphones on and then move around a bit. It sounds like someone is just dragging the mic on the floor. But if you use a shotgun mic that can be held above the talent’s head, you take clothes completely out of the picture. The shotgun mic also allows the mic to pick up a little bit of room audio, and catches more natural tones in the voice of the talent when it’s properly pointed at the talent’s sternum, not their mouth.

The downside of a shotgun, though, is that you generally need someone to hold it over your scene, so if you don’t have four arms or the money to pay a boom operator for the day, you might be out of luck. Also, with someone standing in your scene capturing audio, you limit the shots you can get. If you’re too wide, you’ll see your boom operator in your shot. That’s where lavalier mics come into play.

So check back with us soon for part two of our Types of Mics series where we’ll teach you how to use lavalier mics.

Stephen Schweickart is the co-founder of VScreen. For more information on this topic visit VScreen’s site at http://www.vscreen.com/.

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