As a filmmaker, you can get a lot of incredible footage out of a DSLR or mirrorless camera.
These cameras are versatile and cheaper alternatives to professional video cameras, and it’s pretty easy to get great footage out of the box without any fancy accessories.
But, no matter how good your footage is, it’s only half the picture. You also need good audio.
Capturing good audio is a cheap and effective way to improve your work dramatically.
So, let’s take a look at the different types of microphones out there, the situations you will use them in, and some suggestions for gear to get you started.
Feel free to jump straight to our recommended products if you’re already familiar with microphones and audio systems.
Good DSLR cameras microphones can counter any kind of background noise and disturbance as a whole and can provide you with the best filming experience. So make sure you make the right choice.
Your Camera’s Built-In Microphone
A lot of people actually have a lower tolerance for bad audio than bad video, and chances are that the built-in microphone on your camera leaves something to be desired.
Fortunately, there are tons of ways to improve your sound quality, from camera-mounted microphones that plug directly into your DSLR camera to dedicated audio recorders for getting professional audio.
The built-in microphones only work well close to your subjects and in very quiet settings for most DSLR cameras. Even in these environments, there is a vast difference in sound quality when compared to audio from a dedicated professional recording device.
That’s not to say you immediately need to shell out hundreds of dollars for a top-of-the-line microphone.
There are many products running the gamut, from smartphone-compatible mics to studio-quality microphones. The sheer volume of choices and information on products can be a little daunting.
As a filmmaker, you need to consider the demands of your project and the audience and medium you will be sharing it in.
A straightforward way to boost the sound quality of your camera is with a camera-mounted shotgun microphone.
Shotgun microphones are directional audio recording devices, and many are available with a 3.5mm jack to connect to most DSLRs.
These microphones are designed with unidirectional microphones, which means the audio is concentrated on sources directly in front of the microphone. This is great for minimizing the noise coming from the sides or behind you as you record.
On-camera microphones are a type of shotgun microphone that you mount on top of your camera. They are typically less directional than a traditional shotgun microphone, meaning that they’ll pick up more of the room acoustics.
On-camera microphones are typically equipped with 3.5mm mini-jack plugins that you can plug into the mic input on your camera. This gives you synced audio and video as both are recorded together on a single device.
Also, if you’re planning to hold your camera in your hand for vlogging, an on-camera microphone is a great choice.
These are often not the highest quality microphones, and you may want to get the microphone closer to your subject for less noise and room acoustics if you want the best possible audio.