Our friend colleague Udi Tirush from DIYPhotography recently posted a useful video in collaboration with Manfrotto/Joby looking at several tips for better audio recording for vloggers and other video creators.
Don’t use your in-camera Mic
On all cameras (with very few exceptions) the built-in mic is very bad. You can use it for what is known as scratch audio (designed to sync the quality audio you might be recording with a different audio recorder( but not on its own.
Always try and use a separate mic and unless the camera is very close (which is common in vlogging but not as much in other types of video shooting) try and get it to about a foot/30cm or so from the mouth (this might not always be possible if you do not want the mic in the frame but that is typically the optimum.
Polar patterns and where to talk
Each microphone has a polar pattern. You can think of this as the region in 3d space around the mic where the mic has better or worse reception. A shotgun mic will typically have good reception in the front but depending on the specific mic it might have more or less reception in the sides and the rear.
In general, though, knowing what is the polar pattern of the mic that you are using can help you understand where to position yourself so you can be heard the best.
Using a dual mic for an Interview
If you are a solo shooter doing an interview and working with an on-camera mic you have to remember that your questions will probably not be heard very well during the interview.
You can use a mic that has dual capsules like the Deity V-MIC D4 DUODUAL CAPSULE or the Wavo Pro from Joby. This way you can record both your questions and those of the person that you are interviewing.
A better option might be using a dual mic setup with a wireless system, the downside is that this might be more expensive and less quick.
Using the wrong mic for the location
While for many a shotgun mic might sound like the optimal solution for any type of recording environment – it really isn’t. You need to consider the room and the way that the person that you interview faces when he takes.
In some rooms that have very hard echo using a lavalier mic might be a better solution although this all depends on the room and your mics,
Not making sure you are clipping
The best way to prevent clipping is to watch your levels at all times and if possible rehearse before actually recording and change the gain to make sure that your audio will be around -12db to -6db.
You can monitor from your camera if you have a mic connected to it or with some recorders you can do that from the recorder itself or from an app.
In the past couple of years, we are also seeing more and more 32bit flow recorders which essentially can’t clip at all even if somebody is whispering and then shouting.
You can check out many more helpful photography tips in our Photography tips section here on LensVid.