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DSLR Audio – Lavalier vs Shotgun Microphone

One of the best ways to increase the production value of your DSLR video is to record great audio. Here’s a short video that will help you record better audio whether you use a lavalier or a shotgun microphone.

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{ 78 comments… add one }

  • Dave Dugdale July 20, 2010, 9:19 pm

    Wow thanks for putting all the time to create this video. I like comparison videos – well done.

  • Ryan July 21, 2010, 12:58 am

    Excited to see it, but sadly the video would not play on my iPad, while I’m traveling. I’ll have to wait.

  • Ville S. July 21, 2010, 4:44 am

    Hi, and thanks for the video! I was still wondering about the Rode + H2 in different distances and how does it sound? In my case: do you think it’s a quality choice with h4n and rode stereomic (which i own) as a method for sound recording in basic interviews?

    • adriel July 21, 2010, 7:54 am

      The Rode StereoMic is a hypercardioid – meaning it’s very directional but not as much as a shotgun mic. Whether it will be a quality choice for your interviews depends on whether your interviewing more than one person at a time, how much ambient noise there will be, and how far the mic will be from the talent.

      My first choice for regular interviews is always a lavalier. But if you’re doing “man on the street” interviews where you don’t have time to mic with a lav then the StereoMic will be great.

      I always recommend recording with two mics if you can – then you can decide in post which works best.
      -a-

  • Dmytro July 21, 2010, 11:41 am

    It seems like the level of ambient noise both with the lavalier and the shotgun is much lower when attached to the Zoom H2: and that’s the one quality element that speaks “professional” to me in audio. Is it all to do with the zoom then? Can you explain why you attach the Sennheiser ew100 to the Zoom H2 instead of just using the Zoom H2? (sorry, I’m a beginner in all of this!)

    Also, I believe there’s a tiny mistake: you said “So this is how I sound from 4 feet on a shotgun mic” for both of the lavalier and the shotgun during the comparison.

  • Rod Guajardo July 21, 2010, 11:51 am

    Thank you for doing this, very helpful info! I plan to pickup a lavalier mic and Zoom H1 as soon as it comes out.

    • adriel July 21, 2010, 9:12 pm

      You’re welcome, Rod. Let me know how it works for you.
      -a-

  • Duncan McKenzie July 31, 2010, 8:29 am

    Very informative video! I purchased an H2 a couple of years back, and I’ve been amazed at all the uses I’ve found for it.

    One question – The H2 is not much difference in size from a transmitter. I’d be interested to know if there’s a quality difference between recording straight into the H2 and recording to wireless.

    It struck me that, given the low price of the H2, a cheap alternative to high quality wireless mics would be to give each actor their own strap-on H2 for recording, using the built-in automatic gain system. If you needed to monitor the recording, you could use a budget wireless system.

  • adriel July 31, 2010, 11:15 am

    Thanks, Duncan.

    There is a difference between recording directly to the H2 and through a wireless. Wireless systems always have more noise than wired and they are more likely to pick up radio interference as well. I always recommend monitoring the recording when using wireless mics.

    There is a small tonal quality difference but it’s neither better or worse, just a bit different sound.

    Your idea of using a lav plugged directly into an H2 for each actor is solid – with a couple of caveats.

    When I’ve done this the biggest issue is putting the recorder someplace where they can’t hit the button to make it stop recording. The H2 does not have a belt clip like a wireless transmitter.

    Also, the Sennheiser lav has a screw-down ring on the plug that makes sure that it stays attached to the transmitter. The H2 does not have a way of securing the plug.

    My fix was to attach the mic and make a stress-loop with the cable, then tape the loop to the H2 with some gaffers tape.

    I don’t recommend using auto-gain at any time for anything. Set the levels a bit lower than normal to give some extra headroom. Start the H2 recording and talk into the lav to ‘slate’ the file with time, date, location, person, etc.

    Drop the H2 in a plastic ziplock bag, zip the top shut and have them put it in their pocket. If they stick their hand in their pocket the bag will remind them quickly to be careful.

    I’ve only used this with men as women don’t have pockets. I have seen universal pda clips that might work.

    Anyone else tried this?
    -a-

  • Joel Gaspar December 8, 2010, 9:32 am

    Very helpful video. I was considering going with a boom mic but after watching this video I might just pick up a lavalier instead.

  • Anonymous March 25, 2011, 11:30 pm

    Thanks for the good video, but next time at least use a shotgun in the same class, it’s an unfair video. I would not take a flip cam hd, and compare it to a Canon Vixia. An 800 dollar Lav mic vs a shotgun that cost 120?

    • adriel March 27, 2011, 11:52 am

      I agree with your perspective – if possible it’s always best to compare apples to apples. My intention was more to demonstrate the difference between a lav that’s always the same distance from the talent versus a shotgun at various distances.

      I think you’ll agree that the results would have been pretty well the same even if I’d used an inexpensive lav.

      -a-

  • Josh Becker! April 5, 2011, 4:12 pm

    There are several issues with this video. First, like someone else said, the microphones are not in the same class whatsoever. You are comparing an $800 lavaliere with a $150 “shotgun”. But putting that aside, here are some other issues:

    First, although you are using the R0DE mic the way it’s designed, that is not the way you use a typical shotgun mic. Shotgun microphones should be vertical, pointing downward toward the subject’s mouth. In this position, sound that hits the side of the shotgun microphone are not picked up, so you cut down on reverberation, location noise, etc. When the mic is parallel to the floor, you are not cutting out these sounds.

    Second, DSLRs like the T2i have NO manual gain control for the audio. The camera is automatically turning up the gain when things are quiet. This causes a lot of hiss and noise, as we can clearly hear in your video. When you are recording into a dedicated recorder like the Zoom, you are manually controlling the audio level. On top of that, the mic preamps in the DSLR are probably lower quality than the Zoom recorder.

    I have absolutely nothing against lavs, people should just know how many problems there are in this “comparison”.

    • Adriel Brunson April 10, 2011, 7:04 pm

      Right you are. Hopefully someone (like you?) will take the time to do a real apples-to-apples comparison with a pro sound operator. Until then, I trust this comparison will be useful to some people needing to make a better choice for recording sound with a DSLR.

      -a-

  • Darren Addy April 8, 2011, 4:16 pm

    Somewhat off topic, but… I shoot demos of very noisy machines with the demonstrator talking into a lapel mike. What would you recommend for sound that would get less of the ambient machine noise and more of the guy talking? I’m thinking some sort of Garth Brooks headset mic, but I don’t want it to appear too obtrusive. Thanks for any replies.

    • Adriel Brunson April 10, 2011, 7:01 pm

      There are a couple of options here. You can try a cardiod lavalier mic rather than the typical omnidirectional lav. Placement is more critical as you need to have the mic pointed at the demonstrator’s mouth,

      Or you can go with a Countryman headset mic. Unfortunately, most of these are omnidirectional so even though you’re closer to the source of the sound (right next to the mouth) they still pick up a lot of the ambient sound.

      There are noise-canceling headset mics that will do a better job of knocking out ambient but most are clunky looking on camera. You’ll see these on live sports casters working in a booth in a stadium.

      The only way I know to decide is find a place to buy some of these, try them out and return what doesn’t work. Hope this helps!
      -a-

  • Anonymous April 28, 2011, 4:18 pm

    This was very helpful in understanding how the two different mics work. Thanks! This will help my decision.

  • Chris Borgman May 4, 2011, 4:41 am

    This was great, thank you!

  • Lowell Brillante May 7, 2011, 5:39 am

    Hey, great video. I have a quick question. I’m in the market for a wireless lav and I have a canon 60d with a tascam dr-07 for audio. My question is will any lav I buy fit into the little line 1/4′ jack input (whatever you call it), I’m worried it will only come with xlr…. what are my options etc.

    Thank you so much,

    Lowell

    • Adriel Brunson May 7, 2011, 1:59 pm

      Lowell,

      The Tascan DR-07 has a 1/8″ input (also called a “mini” jack). If the wireless lav you buy only has an XLR output check the included accessories for an XLR to 1/8″ adapter. Even if it’s not included they are easy find or make.

      Many wireless lav receivers are already 1/8″ output and come with the opposite adapter so you can plug them into XLR inputs.

      Let me know which model(s) you’re looking at and I’ll help more if I can.
      -a-

  • Joe Hani A May 12, 2011, 3:36 pm

    Thank you for sharing the knowledge. I was wondering though, how the shotgun mic didn’t present much hissing sound.

    • Adriel Brunson June 10, 2011, 8:05 pm

      The shotgun is a decent mic and fairly quiet. It’s the camera audio auto-gain that’s the biggest problem. Plug the RODE directly into the Zoom and you’re good to go.

  • Anonymous May 20, 2011, 11:38 pm

    great video!! if i’m on a budget and the senhiser is out of my range what else do you recommend for lav mics.  I’m a comedian and using the zoom 2 for recording.  thanks in advance

    • Adriel Brunson June 10, 2011, 8:04 pm

      AudioTechnica makes several inexpensive lavs that work great. The biggest cost in the Sennheiser is the radio transmitter and receiver. So I recommend getting something like a Zoom H1 and a wired lav. Plug the lav directly into the H1, set your levels, lock it into record and drop it in your pocket. It’s easier than working with a wireless system and the sound is likely to be better – no RF interference to worry about.

  • Roseanne Tang June 9, 2011, 2:18 pm

    Hi! I’m new to DSLRs and microphones. My DSLR makes a noise when it autofocuses during the video and I’m trying to find a solution to that problem. The NIKON ME-1 says it reduces the noise of the autofocus, but I heard the quality isn’t good. ‘m thinking of getting an external mic as you’ve said, mainly the Zoom H2. However, do I sync the film and the audio later on, does the audio record onto the dslr movie and then I can just take the movie and edit it, or do I have to bring in the audio and video from two separate sources and combine them later? Your help is much appreciated!

    • Adriel Brunson June 10, 2011, 8:01 pm

      Roseanne,

      You’ll need to record sound on the DSLR and the Zoom H2 then sync them up in post. Make sure to clap your hands or use a slate to create a clean spike in the audio and it’s easy to sync in post.

      • Anonymous June 20, 2011, 10:41 pm

        Hi,
        is there any microphone that you could record your sound directly onto the film in your dslr? Or is this the only option to sync the sound later on? On the Zoom h2 you have a Line Out, but i get really much noise in my film when i connect a cable between the microphone and my Camera. Im using a Canon t2i.

        • Adriel Brunson July 3, 2011, 2:49 pm

          Recording sound in a Canon t2i will always be noisy unless you go thru the Magic Lantern hack. It does not matter if you come from the H2 or from a mic, it’s going to suck.

          • John Chunhan Liau September 3, 2011, 11:39 pm

            You can also look to use a stepdown cord to adjust the signal that goes directly to your camera from your zoom h2. check here for more details http://www.markertek.com/Cables/Audio-Cables/DSLR-Audio-Cables/Sescom/LN2MIC-ZOOMH4N.xhtml?LN2MIC-ZOOMH4N

            Though your levels might be weird unless you can do manual levels in the t2i, or you can set it on AGC and pray.

  • Martin Gjesdal July 13, 2011, 6:19 pm

    Great video, thanks. I’m going for the Zoom H2 :-)

  • Pedro Lopes January 1, 2012, 10:21 am

    I have a Canon t2i and I wanted to get a microphone but I’m on a budget, how well would the Zoom H2 preform in recording movies, nothing fancy, it’s mostly talk

    • Adriel Brunson January 1, 2012, 1:19 pm

      I’d recommend going with the Zoom H1 and a low cost lavalier instead of the Zoom H2. For the same money you’ll have more options and you’ll always keep the H1 even if you end up with something else. 

      Get a wired lavalier, plug it into the H1, set the levels, start it recording, lock it, and drop it in your talents pocket. If two people are talking get a small table top tripod and get the H1 as close to the dialog as possible.I look forward to seeing your videos on the web! -a-

      • Pedro Lopes January 2, 2012, 10:16 am

        Thank you for the quick reply. The video will take me some time to make because  I have to find some friends to be the actors, since I’m more of a behind the camera guy.

  • Maayan Laufer January 13, 2012, 3:23 pm

    Awesome, thank you!

  • bubblez_nk February 9, 2012, 9:30 am

    Thanks for the video! I’m planning on making my first short films as soon as I can get the audio part figured out. People don’t value good audio enough!

    Would you mind if I picked your brain a bit?

    I was surprised to see you could use the lav MIC from 6 feat away and had none of that horrible room echo like the shotgun did at the same distance. It sounded amazing, which made me think: Is there any reason why a Lav Mic couldn’t be used as a primary MIC for making short films? More specifically, would it work in the following situations:

    1) Sticking to actors body underneath a shirt for Dialogue and other ambient sounds? Especially for scenes or sequences with just the one actor.

    2) Picking up sound separately for effects/foley in post, whether used with an external recorder like the Zoom or even and Iphone/ipod if in a pickle. Or, maybe even just plugged straight into the camera? I have a 600D/T3i, so I have manual gain control.

    3) Used as a primary MIC on a boom, I assume it picks up enough ambient noise and what not?

    4) Because of the lack of horrible echoing, if recording a short film or scene indoors, could you use the audio wild (as is) without much post tinkering on it like Foley or ADR? (outdoors might be a little too noisy!)

    Thanks so much!

    • Adriel Brunson February 28, 2012, 11:32 am

      I like the way you think!

      The reason the lav sounded clear from six feet is that is was on my chest. Mics are more sensitive to proximity than to where they are pointing (in most cases).

      As for your sitations:

      1) Lavs on actors are great but you need to listen carefully for clothing rustle or muffled sound if you hide the mic under their clothes.

      2) Sound effects with a lav (especially in a ‘pickle’) will work fine. Most lavs are omnidirectional and that can be useful for sound effects as you get more of the whole sound. But sometimes you just want part of the sound and for that a directional mic is more useful. I think you’ll want at least of omni and one directional mic in your kit.

      3) I’ve clipped a lav on a fixed boom when I had to shoot a small group of people and wanted a second mic in addition to a shotgun. You will pick up more ambient noise with an omni lav in most cases but you never know – it may be a mix of the two mics will work best in post.

      4) You could use the audio from a lav in post without much tinkering if it’s recorded very well. My goal is to record the audio as cleanly as possible so that I can easily tinker in post. It’s kind of like shooting with a extra-flat camera profile so you have more to work with in color grading for post. Strong clean audio tracks give you the most options in post and that’s always a good thing.

      Thanks for stopping by – let me know how things go. I look forward to seeing your films on the web!
       -a-

  • bubblez_nk February 9, 2012, 9:32 am

    EDIT: Sorry, double post.

  • Eddie Bailey February 28, 2012, 9:08 am

    Question:  I want to know what the difference is between connecting a sennheiser 100 into the T2i and the beachtek vs connecting the sennheiser to the Zoom mic?  Is one better than the other?

    • Adriel Brunson February 28, 2012, 11:02 am

      If you go through the Zoom you’ll get two recordings of the audio – the Zoom and the T2i. If you just go through the Beachtek you’ll only get the T2i and that camera does not have manual adjustment of the audio level or anyway to monitor the audio.

      Two copies of the audio is the best and well worth the extra effort in my opinion. If you get a splitter cable you can also plug in a set of headphone to monitor the recording, also an excellent idea in my opinion.

  • esbenpersson March 12, 2012, 2:26 pm

    Hi Adriel,

    I have some questions, I can’t seem to figure out on my own and I realize that you might be able to help me out. I’ from Denmark and are going to Alaska in april to shoot a film within a period of 90 days. We are recording the film on a canon 5d mark ii, but have a hard time to figure out the right audio solution. We will have very long periods, where it will not be possible to get any real power supply, so we need to do the audio driven on 100 % battery supply (like AA or something alike). We will be shooting vocal from two persons and want to use lavalier mics for this purpose. We have 2 Zoom H4n recorders and wants to connect 2 lavs (XLR) into these, so we are able to record each vocal separately. The audio quality needs to be quite good. Most of the recordings will be made outdoor and there might be a lot of wind (and water?) – it needs to be quite robust. 

    So my questions is as follows:

    * What lavalier mics will be the best for such conditions? (budget: aprox. 400 $ per mic) 
    * We thought about using 2 Sanken cos-11d mics, but I read that these runs on 48V phantom power. Can it be powered by using the two AA batteries it takes to run the Zoom H4n?
    * In your opinion: what would be the best solution using two Zoom H4n? 

    I really hope you have the time to answer our questions – we will be very grateful.

    Thank you!

    Regards

    Esben Persson  

    • Adriel Brunson March 12, 2012, 9:42 pm

      Hi Esben,

      My choice would be the RØDE Lavalier. At about $249 USD you can afford to take three of them with you – an extra mic when you’re on location is always smart. The RØDE Lavalier sounds great and comes with a protective case and two types of weatherproof “furry” windscreens.

      It uses something called the MiCon connector system. You’ll need the MiCon 5 for an XLR connection with 48V phantom power. There are other types of MiCon connectors that screw into the lavalier cable. That means you can carry extra connectors and cables that fit both the Zoom and the 5D MKII. 
      The Zoom H4n will supply 48v phantom power for the RØDE. I haven’t tested it to see how long you’ll get on a set of batteries but that shouldn’t be difficult for you to find out.

      I’m sure the Sanken cos-11d will also work but my experience with RØDE mics is superb and I recommend them without reservation.

      I always recommend that you get one and try it out in using the exact equipment you plan to use for your project. And I highly recommend bringing headphones or earbuds to check the output of the H4n’s before recording. You don’t want to guess about the quality of the audio.

      I hope this helps, good luck with your project. I look forward to seeing your video on the web.
       -a-

  • Michelle Gann August 22, 2012, 6:30 pm

    Hi,

    I am starting a fitness blog and want to shoot videos so people can follow my workouts.

    I have the Canon Rebel T4i and I want to use some sort of audio set up so that I can move and do the workouts but people can still hear me very clearly and not have a lot of echo in the room.

    What would you suggest for this set up?

    I was also thinking about getting a Canon XA10 (or something similar) – I would also love if you had any input on a good professional video camera.

    I loved your video and used to help my dad with sound (no video) a lot when I was younger.

    • adriel August 23, 2012, 10:12 pm

      Michelle,
      You are definitely going to want to use a high quality wireless lavalier. I use a Sennheiser and highly recommend it for durable, high quality audio. The Sennheiser EW 112P G3 is a solid system – not cheap but it will pay back the investment every time you use it.

      One of the reasons for going with this quality is the fact that you’re moving around. Less expensive systems sometimes don’t work so well when there is a lot of movement.

      Most of these systems are sold with an omni-directional microphone. You may want to consider using a cardiod lavalier instead. It will definitely cut down on the echo in the room.

      The downside to a cardiod lav is that the sound will change a lot from when you’re looking straight ahead versus turning your head to one side. If you bend your head forward it will change even more.

      This is true of omni mics as well but not nearly so much.

      The Sennheiser ME 4-N cardioid EW microphone is a good choice. There’s no way to know which will work better for you except to try them out so look for someone that will let you return the one you don’t want.

      Also, I agree with getting a regular camcorder. You don’t want your T4i shutting down for over-heating or reaching the end of the clip limit in the middle of your routine. Set the camcorder on a medium wide shot on a tripod and you’ll always have a safe shot of the routine for editing.

      If you feed the output of the wireless into a mixer you can feed that to both cameras so you have good sound on two devices – much safer than on just one.

      Hope this helps, let me know if I can be of further service.
      -a-

      • Rob Smith August 16, 2014, 1:47 am

        Hey Adriel,

        You answered this question on fitness videos really well :)

        I like the logic – if moving around, get a lav mic.

        Cheers for the post and all your answers.

        • Adriel Brunson August 17, 2014, 4:03 pm

          Thanks Rob, I like to keep it simple whenever possible!

           -a-

  • ehemoroidy.pl October 7, 2012, 10:34 am

    It’s nearly impossible to find knowledgeable people for this subject, but you seem like you know what you’re talking about!
    Thanks

    • adriel October 7, 2012, 11:47 am

      Thank you for stopping by and for your comment. I’m working on an email series that will give even more help for creating good audio tracks for DSLR video productions. I’ll let you know when it’s ready.
      -a-

  • Zachary Hunter December 2, 2012, 12:11 pm

    Hi Adriel,

    My name is Zach (16 years old). I am just starting out in the world of video production. I have an assignment to film a series of classes (inside and outside the classroom). I am on a very tight budget (can’t afford Sennheiser wireless lav products). I saw that you recommend the Audio Technica wireless lav. I saw that you also recommend connecting to a Zoom H1 (which I have). The problem with this is that it takes too long to sync to the video in Adobe Premiere Pro during the editing process. I don’t have the time to do that as the client wants the video completed within a week to burn and post for students. I have a Panasonic AG-HMC150 video camera, which I can purchase a Panasonic MIC 150 shotgun mic for. Would just a shotgun mic work for the inside classroom situation if the classroom is small? I’m in a dilemma and need some inexpensive suggestions. Any advise is greatly appreciated!!!

    • adriel December 5, 2012, 10:34 am

      You should be able to connect the AT lav to your HMC150 and record the audio directly to video. That should cut out the sync issues.

      I don’t recommend shotgun mics in small rooms unless you can get pretty close to the talent. If it’s mounted on the camera from some distance you’ll get a lot of room sound and not much voice. That’s why the lav is better, it’s right on the talent even if they walk around.

      Hope this helps,
      -a-

  • Casey Sanders June 3, 2013, 8:30 pm

    I meant to send u a question but it would not go through:

     

    For your video comparing the shotgun and lavalier mic, i am assuming you used the Canon Rebel T2i but what lens were you using? I love the softness of edges in the video and the quality was flawless and i was very impressed that a camera of that level could achieve those results. Because of that i did my research and i think i will go for the Canon T4i but i have yet to choose the lens, but for sure i will pickup a 50mm 1.8 or the spendier 50mm 1.4. Anyways, thanks in advance for the answer!

    • Adriel Brunson June 5, 2013, 9:35 am

      Casey,

      Yes, that was shot with a T2i. I don’t remember which lens I used but I’m pretty sure it was a 50mm 1.8. There’s not a lot of difference in the sensor between the T2i, T3i and T4i. But the T3i and T4i are much better suited for shooting video – the adjustable LCD and manual audio control alone make them worth the extra cost.

      If you plan to shoot in extreme low light you may find the f1.4 lens useful but for most situations I find f1.8 with the ISO 800 will grab more than enough image with fairly low noise. Plus, there are lots of inexpensive LED lights that will add enough fill to do the job in almost any situation.

      Thanks for stopping by, let me know how it goes.

       -a-

      • Casey Sanders June 6, 2013, 5:08 pm

        Wow, i didnt think that lens would pickup that kind of quality!! Off of craigslist i am picking up a brand new t4i body for $500 and a kit lens for $90 (so i can utilize the IS when shooting handheld). Would the 50mm 1.4 be a better quality lens (in terms of video/photo quality and not build quality) than the 50mm 1.8? Oh and also i am very interested in the Rode Videomic but i noticed that the clarity was pretty bad. Would the videomic pro with the pre-amp fix that or would it be fixed with the ability to mess with the audio options? And one final question, would it be worth the extra $50 for the videomic with the Rycote Lyre mount? If i am using the shotgun mic it is probably off tripod so there will be movement. Thanks in advance! 

        • Adriel Brunson June 7, 2013, 9:20 am

          Casey,

          It was a Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm 1.8 lens with an adaptor to fit the T2i. I’ve never liked the feel of the Canon 50mm 1.8 – the focus ring is too small and the lens feels like cheap plastic. The Nikon 50mm 1.8 feels a lot more solid and is about the same price, of course you’ll need an adapter and the lens is totally manual for focus and fstop. But, as you noticed, it makes nice video.

          If you want to stay with Canon lenses I’d recommend the 50mm 1.4 as it’s better build quality and the focus ring is much smoother, larger and easier to use.

          When I upgraded my 50mm lens I went with the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX. It’s about $50 more than the Canon plus it’s bigger and heavier (no problem on a tripod). I love the way people look with this lens. But I’d suggest getting to a camera store where you can play with the Canon 1.4 and the Sigma 1.4 to make sure you like the way it feels to you. Quality of the image is just one part of the equation, how it fits your style and feels to you is just as important. You won’t use a lens that feels clunky or that bothers you all the time.

          As for the RODE, it’s a good mic for the cost. The biggest issue – and the one I was addressing in this video – is when people mount it on their camera and shoot someone talking several feet away. It’s just not going to do a great job in those circumstances. But there are few mics at any cost that will do well from a long distance in a noisy setting. That’s why we have lavaliers! The Videomic Pro is a better mic in some ways and Rycote mounts are always worth the investment.

          Hope this helps, let me know how it goes,

          -a-

          • Casey Sanders June 8, 2013, 11:41 am

            Thanks for the advice!

            I ended up picking up a Tamron 18-270 Di II VC for my primary zoom lens and it works great for outdoor video and the IS equivalent is silent and very effective! I really liked the focus ring on that lens and it seems to be similar to the canon and sigma 1.4, so i will probably go to a camera shop some time and compare the two. Ill also check out the 1.8 too just to see if that works. I will proabbly go for the videomic with rycote mount just for a external mic when filming the races at the track. I figured that the AF during video would be great for the races but the lens AF is quite loud and the AF doesnt work that well, but either way the T4i excells the T3i in photos, for the crosstype AF points.

            I know i should disable the AGC, but i do not know what setting to put the gain on. Is there setting that is good for everything or do i need to fiddle around with them and find the setting that suits my situation the best?

          • Adriel Brunson June 8, 2013, 3:29 pm

            Casey,

            The Tamron looks like a great lens, especially for filming at race tracks. With the crop of the T4i the telephoto will be amazing.

            Yes, you should disable the AGC – it’s the worst way to record audio. As for settings, it will only take a couple of minutes to check the audio level menu and set the levels. At an event like a race you’re likely to need to set it for the loudest audio which would be during a race. Set it for peaks of -6db and you should be good. This level will be a bit too low for in between races but you can always boost levels in post production. You can’t take out distortion later so keep the hottest levels at -6db to be safe.

            If you are shooting somewhere other than races you’ll need to check levels again. But this is no more of a bother than checking all the other settings on the camera to get the best shot.

            I look forward to seeing your videos on the web!

             -a-

          • Casey Sanders June 14, 2013, 11:21 am

            I have been keeping the keeping the recording level in the middle and that has been working well. What is the attenuator and when should i use it?

            I also put this video together in my free time just to see how the cineamatic quality of the T4i was. It was rushed so if i had the footage more planned out it probably would have turned out well :D 

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2iGccj8p5o

          • Adriel Brunson June 15, 2013, 10:05 am

            The attenuator is used when you’re recording extremely loud sound – a rock concert or if you were close to one of those race car engines. It’s a fast way to cut down the audio level to reduce clipping overload. Under normal circumstances you want no attenuation so the gain in the recorder can be lower giving less noise on the track.

            That looks like an interesting and fun racing sport – some great shots there. Thanks for stopping by.

             -a-

          • Casey Sanders June 21, 2013, 9:13 pm

            Thanks for the knowledge!! I appreciate it!!

          • Adriel Brunson June 22, 2013, 1:13 pm

            Thanks for stopping by!

             -a-

  • preeti June 14, 2013, 1:38 am

    very well presented, quite informative thanks for this video..

    • Adriel Brunson June 15, 2013, 10:06 am

      Thank you for stopping by. Let me know if you have questions,

       -a-

  • Luke Tevebaugh July 7, 2013, 8:35 am

    Hi Adriel,

    Thanks for this post.  It is very helpful!  I simply googled "shotgun vs lav" and this was a top hit.

    I have the Sennheiser 122 setup and a zoom h4n.  I've used it once and was very happy with the audio I get with the 1 interviewee.  If I want to use this with 2 interviewees can I get a second transmitter and connect both transmitters to the same receiver?  If so, do you know of anybody from whom I can rent or borrow a second transmitter?  :)

    Thanks!

    Luke

    • Adriel Brunson July 9, 2013, 11:56 am

      You’ll need a matched pair of transmitter and receiver for each microphone. You can combine them into one file at the H4n by plugging one into the left and the other into the right channel. 

      Google “rent Sennheiser wireless” and you’ll find several online shops offering rental. I’ve used http://borrowlenses.com before with good results.

      Thanks for stopping by, let me know how it goes.

       -a-

  • David N. July 9, 2013, 12:00 am

    Hi Adriel

    Thanks for this great info. After watching this video a month ago I purchased an Sennheiser ew100 G3 wireless lav. I am about to shoot a series of videos from an area in my home as part of a selp-help program to go with a book I have written. I have bought some softbox lighting and done some test shoots by plugging the receiver directly into the Canon Legria HF-S10 HD video camera I will be using. The audio sounds ok when played back through the camera speaker though I have some questions for you.

    1. Would the audio be better than is now if I buy a Zoom H2 and have the transmiiter plugged into it and have the H2 plugged into the camera mic port?

    2. I'm guessing it would be even better if I just use the H2 recorded audio and sync it to the video in Adobe Premiere Elements (which I have and can use, though not an 'expert' with). This would leave the Canon audio out all together, though I would have sync every take that I do [there may be heaps :) ]

    3. Apart from using some padded doonas around my recording area (which I have hanging from frames), is there some setting for the lav, Senn, H2, or Canon that can help reduce any room echo? I have it pretty good already and read alot about how to set the room up, though just wondering if you use any particular settings for this reason.

    Thanks.

    • Adriel Brunson July 9, 2013, 12:18 pm

      David,

      Glad this was useful info for you.

      You may want to use a digital recorder to create a backup file. You can feed the output from the recorder to the input of your S10 so the audio from the G3 is recorded on both devices. Or you can insert a mixer in the chain and feed the output of it to both devices.

      The simplest is just to go directly to the S10 and that should work great for interviews if you can manually set the audio level. No auto-gain please!

      I highly recommend getting a decent set of headphones to monitor the audio. The speaker on the S10 is not going to give you enough information about audio issues. You’ll only find them when you get to edit. That’s not a good time to discover something that could have been easily corrected before recording.

      As for room setup - stay away from corners, big glass windows, and concrete/wood walls or floors. If you’re getting an echo from something hard in the room you can hang a moving blanket just out of frame between the talent and that area to dampen the sound. It’s better to not let the sound get out into the room than trying to kill the echo once it’s bouncing around.

      Ceiling fans can create a strange low frequency noise even when they’re running slow. Turn off any fan running fast enough to move air around to keep rumble out to the mic.

      Sound moves in a line-of-sight fashion so it’s easy to listen for bounce and block it with something soft and thick. Rugs work great on floors, moving blankets over stands work great for other areas.

      Hope this helps, let me know how it goes!

       -a-

       

  • Kasambwe May 12, 2014, 1:37 am

    Ryan,

    Am a stand-up comedian i just bought a cannon t31 to record my live performances  in HD with good audio.What will work best,shotgun mic or lavalier other than going through the sound board.kindly advise.

    Kasambwe

    • Adriel Brunson May 12, 2014, 6:16 pm

      I would recommend a lavalier mic plugged into a small recorder dropped into your pocket. The Zoom H1 works well for this – less than $100, locks into recorder, light weight and fairly small. You plug the lavalier directly into it, set your levels, hit record and lock it. You’ll get every bit of your performance with great sound.p

      If you use special effects on the mic feeding the room PA you’ll be better off coming from the sound board. Otherwise, use the mic on the T3i as a reference and the sound from the H1 for the final track. You can match them up in edit with just a little practice.

      Just make sure that the lav has its own battery and a 1/8″ plug that fits into the input of the H1 and you’re good to go. Hope this helps, let me know if you have further questions,

       -a-

  • Serge July 7, 2014, 2:28 pm

    Thanks for the video. For the most part it was helpful to know the differences.  I should quite a bit of video and it is always a struggle to find microphone that will provide less noise and better sound quality and more full sound of the voice.   Do you think it matters on the DSLR camera you use regarding the sound quality?    For example, if you use Canon 7D versus 5D Mark III with the same microphone.

    • Adriel Brunson July 9, 2014, 10:38 am

      It does matter which camera you use for sound quality, some are better than others. Both the 7D and 5D Mark III have manual audio level control – that’s the first requirement. The 5D Mark III also has a headphone jack so you can monitor audio during the recording – absolutely necessary for good audio. It also allows level adjustment during recording – useful for good audio. The 7D has no headphone jack and I don’t believe you can adjust audio during recording. So the 5D Mark III is a better choice for audio recording.

      But the mic pre-amp on both of these cameras is lower quality than most digital recorders. There’s no XLR connector and no phantom power. I still recommend using a quality audio recorder for best quality – feed the output of the recorder to the camera for backup and sync only.

      Let me know if I can be of further service!
      -a-

  • Guy Cochran August 13, 2014, 7:43 pm

    Loads of great information Adriel. Thanks for taking the time to put this together. It's amazing that not too much has changed in 3 years. RODE did improve the shockmount on the Videomic with the new Rycote Lyre mount and Sennheiser has released the G3 wireless over the G2. The Sennheiser wireless still sounds the same as that ME-2 lavalier is still included. 

    With audio being almost and afterthought, DSLR manufacturers will save money by putting in weak pre-amps. As shown in your video, recording to an external recorder is going to give the cleanest, hiss free sound. If you can feed a "Hot" Mic level output from your recorder into the Mic input of the DSLR, you may be able to get pretty good sound. I know of some networks that accept it as the workflow of grabbing the external recording is sometimes too much hassle. Different strokes for different folks! Thanks again for a great article.

    • Adriel Brunson August 13, 2014, 8:56 pm

      Guy, good to hear from you again. It is amazing that not too much has changed in this market. Besides the cost issue of including good pre-amps, the DSLR manufacturers are in the business of making image, not sound tracks. And most DSLR shooters are mainly concerned with the visual results. Still, it amazes me how many people clip a shotgun on their cameras and hope they’ll get decent audio. A few times of spending hours in post trying to clean up those tracks and you’d think they’d take the time to capture decent sound during the shoot.

      Thanks for the update on the gear!

       -a-

      PS – I’m loving the BMPCC I bought from your store. My DSLR’s don’t see much action now.

  • MySchizoBuddy August 25, 2014, 3:56 pm

    A shotgun mic in the boom position will pick up ceiling fan noise from it's rear lobe. I cannot turn off the ceiling fans. That is not an option. Also my talent is already using a lavalier mic and broadcasting the audio via speakers in the room itself. The speakers themselves are positioned near the ceiling. what are my options to record my talent

    • MySchizoBuddy August 28, 2014, 12:35 pm

      Shure is selling a cardioid and supercardioid lavalier mic. Would love to see a comparison between the two patterns. The models are Shure MX185 and MX184. The mic can be interchanged on the same mic holder. 

      • Adriel Brunson August 30, 2014, 2:54 pm

        I’ve used other Shure cardiod lavaliers with good results, I’m sure these would work great. But I rarely use a cardiod lavalier for recording audio for video. They can be very useful for live sound when you need to cut feedback. In a recording you may find the side to side movement of the talent’s head as they talk may produce too much variation in volume and low end response. An omnidirectional lav tends to get a more even response, especially if you have to mic close to their face. I would definitely not use the MX184 Supercardiod for recording. For live sound to control feedback it could be awesome.

        Thanks for stopping by and for the comment. I’ll let you know if I get a chance to play with these.

         -a-

    • Adriel Brunson August 30, 2014, 2:58 pm

      Try a dynamic cardiod mic rather than a shotgun. I find shotgun mics pick up lots of weird sound inside rooms. They’re much better outside or in large spaces.

      Also, condensor mics tend to be almost too sensitive in smaller room. A dynamic mic will almost always sound better. 

      The Shure SM58 or SM57 is an inexpensive cardiod mic that I carry for times like this. There are lots more expensive mics but these are work horses and always do a good job.

      Let me know how it goes.

       -a-

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