Choosing a Microphone for Your Video

January 16, 2014

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Chris Lavigne


Bad audio can ruin even the best video. Consumers of online video recognize subpar sound almost instantly. Like a typo in an article, loud background noise and fuzzy voices suggest inexperience and distract from your message.

Getting better audio

The good news is, there are many ways to improve the audio in your videos. Optimizing your shooting environment and using quality recording devices can go a long way.

Improving your shooting environment

The area you shoot in can make a huge difference! The saying “fix it in post” doesn’t really apply to audio. It’s extremely tough to remove ambient noise from a recording after the fact. Save yourself the aggravation and capture the best possible sounding audio during production.

When you’re setting up for your shoot:

  • Pick a space without loud ambient noises.
  • Steer clear of air conditioning units, generators, traffic noise, and anything else that creates a hum.
  • Try to find a shoot location that allows you to control ambient noise.
  • If you’re shooting in your office, make sure you warn the folks in the background that you may need to “pull a Spielberg” and ask them firmly to be quiet!
  • Deaden room reverberation by taping blankets to the walls. You could also invest in acoustic panels that help remove room reverberation.

Using a lavaliere microphone

A lavalier is a small microphone that clips onto your speaker’s shirt. Lavaliers are a great option if your talent is going to be moving around, and there are both wired and wireless versions.

However, lavalier microphones are particularly finicky. Whether or not they’ll capture good audio depends on getting the perfect placement. Start by placing the lav about six inches below your talent’s chin. Your goal is to make sure that the microphone has a clear path to the mouth.

We prefer the shotgun microphone

At Wistia, we are constantly trying to make our production process more simple and less intimidating. That’s why we prefer to keep a shotgun mic positioned and ready for action in our studio. With this setup, subjects can jump in and out of the space to shoot videos on the fly.

We love the shotgun mic because it can be hidden outside of the shot (and the talent’s field of view), and it makes subjects' voices sound close and clear. It also picks up a bit of ambient noise to provide a nicely balanced soundtrack. We broke down our recording process using a Canon 5D on the blog.

Go forth and explore!

We recognize that there are all sorts of sound solutions out there, and we are excited to keep discovering new ways to record clean, crisp audio tracks.

What’s your favorite microphone? Do you have any DIY tricks for dampening noise in your shooting environment? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the Community!

January 16, 2014

Topic tags

Chris Lavigne


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