The Basics of Microphones

On this video guide by the basic filmmaker looks at different types of microphones and different aspects of recording sound for video. What mic is right for you and

This video looks at how mics work, different types of mic (condenser mics which need external/Phantom power and dynamic mics which do not need any external power and are considered passive mics).

Other important aspects of mics are the polar pattern – this looks at how the sound impacts the mic – which angles are more sensitive – an Omni-directional mic is sensitive from all angles and is better if you want to capture everything from the surrounding area while a directional (uni-directional). There are different types of directional pick up patterns – cardioid, super cardioid and hyper-cardioid (in the video you can see how they differ from each other – basically cardioid has a somewhat wider pickup pattern but in the front mostly while the super-cardioid is narrower but has some pick up in the back and hyper is even more narrow but with more in the back).

Also explained in this video is frequency response (which is the frequency of the sound waves the mic can pick up – humans can hear from about 20Hz to 20KHz (although most of us have a much smaller range especially in the higher range).

The last part of this video talks about actually choosing a specific mic to fit your needs. We actually don’t like the idea of choosing a mic based on paper specs alone – yes this can help to some degree but at the end of the day you need to listen to the mic carefully and only then you might have a better feel for it (this was also Curtis Judd’s suggestion and we totally agree with his thoughts.

If you found the more technical aspect of this video interesting you might also want to check out “Understanding Microphone Specifications“.

On LensVid we have a very extensive section devoted to sound recording for video productions which covers both equipment and techniques here on LensVid.

Iddo Genuth
Iddo Genuth is the founder and chief editor of He has been a technology reporter working for international publications since the late 1990's and covering photography since 2009. Iddo is also a co-founder of a production company specializing in commercial food and product visual content.

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