The Videographer’s Tools: Shotgun Microphone Vetting

The Videographer’s Tools: Shotgun Microphone Vetting

A Vlogger’s Guide to Unidirectional Shotgun Mics

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Videographers-Tools

If you’re a vlogger looking to upgrade your video’s audio quality, a shotgun microphone is a great investment. That’s because the mics that are built into cameras pick up too much ambient and internal noise from the camera. And that can make your video blog sound amateurish.

Conversely, shotgun microphones are designed to pick up sound only from one direction (thus the designation “unidirectional”). This makes them well suited for recording voices or other sounds in front of the camera, while eliminating other distracting noises and room sounds.

Shotgun Microphone Vetting: Top Five Features

Here are five important features to consider when shopping for an on-camera shotgun mic. Sony-ECM-G1-Shotgun-Microphone-lifestyle-wind-screen-vlogging

1.Directionality: Look for a microphone with a high level of directionality, such as a supercardioid or hypercardioid pattern. This will help the mic focus on the sound in front of the camera as you talk at it. It will also reduce recording noises from the sides or behind the camera.

2. Frequency response: The frequency response of a microphone refers to the range of sounds it can pick up. A wide frequency response, such as 20Hz to 20kHz, will allow the mic to capture a broad range of sounds, including low and high frequencies.

3. Sensitivity: A sensitive microphone will pick up even the slightest sounds. While great for capturing subtle nuances in voice or music, it can be more prone to picking up background noise, which is distracting. A moderately sensitive mic that eliminates background noise is recommended for vloggers.

4. Noise level: Look for a shotgun mic with a low noise level, measured in decibels (dB). This will help ensure that the microphone does not add any unwanted background or room noise to your recording.

5. Connectivity: Make sure the shotgun mic you choose is compatible with your recording device. Many microphones use a 3.5mm jack, which is standard for most DSLRs. However, some devices, such as smartphones, require a special adapter or use a different type of connector.

By considering these five features, you can be confident that you’re getting a high-quality microphone that will help you capture clear, professional-sounding audio for your vlogs.

Let’s look at eight shotgun mics that meet these criteria.

Entry-Level Mics

Comica CVM-VM10II

The CVM-VM10II from Comica is a budget-priced, directional, micro cardioid condenser shotgun video mic. Moreover, it is designed for mirrorless camera, action camera as well as smartphone users. Bundled with a windscreen, shock mount and wind muff, it connects to devices via 3.5mm TRS as well as TRRS cables.

Comica-CVM-VM10II-shotgun microphone
Comica CVM VM10II

However, you may need an additional adapter for some Canon Rebel models. This is a good starter mic that is great for on-set use. The mic weighs just 1.2 ounces and measures 3.3 inches. It retails for approximately $40.

Movo VXR10-Pro

The entry-level Movo VXR10-Pro features an enhanced supercardioid mic for directional recording and a Rycote Lyre shock mount. Included 3.5mm TRS and TRRS adapters permit connection with most recording devices, from smartphones to DSLRs. Moreover, the universal shotgun video mic draws power from the attached device.

Movo-VXR10-Pro-shotgun microphone
Movo VXR10 Pro

It offers a frequency response of 20Hz–18kHz and has a 78dB signal-to-noise ratio. The mic measures just under 4 inches in length and is packed with a windsock, shock mount and all connecting cables. It also has a headphone output for real-time audio monitoring. Weighing in at 2.1 ounces, it’s 3.9 inches in length. The mic lists for approximately $70.

Happy Mediums

Røde VideoMicro II

A supercardioid, pro-grade shotgun mic, the Røde VideoMicro II comes with an isolation mount system to block out knocks, bumps and handling noise. For both cameras and smartphones, the mic features a 20Hz–20kHz frequency response as well as a 95dB dynamic range.

Rode-VideoMicro-II-right-slant
Røde VideoMicro II

The ultracompact, on-camera mic comes with a 3.5mm TRS output and intuitive plug-and-play control. Weighing 1.4 ounces and measuring 3.1 inches long, it has a suggested retail price of around $80.

Sony ECM-G1

Designed specifically for video content creators and bloggers, the Sony ECM-G1 is a very compact supercardioid mic with ambient sound suppression. It also has the ability to record sound in front of the camera clearly. The mic works battery free via a multi-interface shoe. However, it also has a 3.5mm audio-out jack to connect with off-camera recording devices.

Sony-ECM-G1-Shotgun-Microphone-left
Sony ECM-G1

The ECM-G1 is packed with a windscreen and is built with an anti-vibration structure to reduce handling and mechanical noise from the camera. The mic weighs a portable 1.2 ounces and measures just 1.9 inches. It lists for around $150.

Deity V-Mic D4

For DSLR and mirrorless cameras, the supercardioid Deity V-Mic D4 shotgun mic comes with an offset shock mount that minimizes handling noise. However, vloggers can also mount it on a cold shoe for use off-camera in tandem with the Deity Pocket wireless micro transmitter for a wireless boom setup.

Deity-V-Mic-D4-shotgun-microphone
Deity V-Mic D4

The D4 is bundled with a faux fur windscreen, a pop filter as well as USB-C connectivity to TRRS and Sony-compatible connections. It also features a -5dB to +10dB gain knob, so you can dial in your sound levels. Moreover, it provides 60 hours of use on one AAA battery. The D4 weighs in at 1.9 ounces and measures 6.4 inches. It retails for about $100.

Sennheiser MKE 200

Sennheiser is well-known to audio pros, and its uniquely shaped MKE 200 features a directional supercardioid design. The on-camera mic has a built-in windshield, both mobile device and camera connections, as well as a shock mount to minimize handling noise.

Sennheiser-MKE-200
Sennheiser MKE 200

With a frequency response of 40–20,000Hz, the MKE 200 offers battery-free operation. That’s because it draws power from the attached camera or device. At 2.7 inches long and weighing 1.7 ounces, it comes with 3.5mm TRS/TRRS cables and a furry windshield. The MKE 200 retails for around $100. en-us.sennheiser.com

Best in Category

Shure VP83 LensHopper

This DSLR/camcorder-mount mic offers high sensitivity and low self-noise with a wide frequency range. The Shure VP83 LensHopper is an electret condenser supercardioid/lobar polar pattern mic that produces true-to-life audio. It offers a three-position gain (-10 dB pad, 0, +20 dB boost) to compensate for different recording environments.

Shure-VP83-LensHopper-slant-shotgun-microphone
Shure VP83 LensHopper

In addition, a low-cut filter eliminates room ambience and background noise. The mic comes with a Rycote Lyre shock-mounting system and boasts 130 hours of battery life on one AA battery! It measures 5.9 inches and weighs 4.7 ounces. The VP83 lists for approximately $230.

Røde VideoMic NTG

This feature-packed, high-end supercardioid mic from Røde is designed for a variety of recording situations. It offers a high-pass filter, high-frequency boost for enhancing clarity and detail, a pad and a safety channel. In addition, it provides an infinitely variable gain control to precisely control output to your camera, computer or other recording device.

Rode-VideoMic-NTG
Røde VideoMic NTG

The 3.5mm and USB outputs accommodate multiple devices. Moreover, an internal, rechargeable lithium-ion battery provides 30+ hours of recording. Well suited for podcasts, video, voiceovers and gaming, the mic features aerospace-grade aluminum construction. It is 6.7 inches long yet weighs a portable 3.3 ounces. It’s priced at about $250.

While there are more expensive shotgun mics available (think $600–$1,000 and beyond), those are geared more toward professional TV, sports coverage and movie production. Consequently, they would be overkill for vloggers. Moreover, with the choices listed here, you are assured of getting greatly improved audio quality.

Good luck! We hope to see your content on YouTube!

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