Processing... Please wait...

Product was successfully added to your shopping cart.

Pro Photo Rental

Lavalier Vs Shotgun Mics
By Zac Henderson

Lav Vs Shotugn

Audio… The archenemy of any beginning (or experienced) video shooter. In all actuality, audio is its own discipline separate from photography and videography. It is equally challenging and requires its own skillset and workflow. Audio is non-negotiable, and can make or break a production.

In an ideal scenario, a video shoot will have a dedicated audio technician solely responsible for making sure sound is coming in correctly and being recorded properly. Often, however, videographers don’t have this luxury and are responsible for both visual and audio recording simultaneously. This increases workload dramatically, but fortunately there are some simple tools that make capturing good audio easy(er).

Recording audio in a studio without any outside interference can be challenging enough, but when you add in a less than ideal environment with other ambient sounds you’ll need to really step up your game. In order to get the best audio possible, you’ll want to first ditch the on-board mic on your camera and start using one of the below solutions:

Shotgun Mic

Shotgun Mics

Shotgun mics like the Rode Mic Go, Rode Video Mic Pro, Audio-Technica AT8024, and Sennheiser MKH-416 are microphones that can be positioned on a boom or placed on top of a DSLR’s hot shoe. They offer directional sound sensitivity, meaning they respond best to sounds directly in front of them.

Camera-mounted shotgun mics are a good solution for subjects that are close to the camera or when filming in a windy environment since they can be easily paired with dedicated wind-resistant accessories. Boom-mounted shotgun mics are useful for the same reasons, but may require a separate recorder like the Zoom H4n and either a boom operator or a stand with a boom holder.

Boom mounted mics have the added benefit of being able to be positioned further away from the camera, allowing for more spatial freedom and distance from the camera to the subject. Shotgun mics can also be used with multiple speakers, as the boom can be positioned in relation to each person speaking, rather than having to place a microphone on each individual speaker. Though shotgun mics absorb sound the best when it’s directly in front of them, they can be prone to picking up unwanted ambient noises if they’re loud enough.

Lavalier Mic

Lavalier Mics

Lavalier, or “Lav” mics, like the Audio Technica Pro 70 and the Sennheiser EW G3 Wireless lav mic set are small microphones that can be clipped to the clothing of your subject and offer good sound quality for speech. Because lav mics can be positioned so closely to the speaker, they often will offer the best sound quality for people while also ignoring most ambient noise. Their size enables them to be easily hidden, and the wireless variety offers excellent range of motion and the most spatial freedom for both the camera operator and talent.

Even though the lav mic is great for speech, they do have their drawbacks. Lav mics typically don’t handle wind very well, and because they are normally clipped to the talent, there are limited wind-resistant accessories that can provide effective noise reduction while also remaining hidden.

Lavalier mics are also omni-directional, meaning they will pick up sound from most any direction if it's loud enough, though they handle this much better than shotgun mics due to their close proximity to the audio source. Because lav mics are typically hidden in the talent’s clothing, its important to be sure that fabric can’t rub up against the microphone for a distracting rustling sound.

Lavalier mics come wired or wireless, so you can probably imagine what the pros and cons are for each. Wired lav mics require less power and aren’t prone to interference, but offer less freedom of motion than their wired counterparts. Wireless lavs provide the greatest freedom of motion, but can be prone to interference in metropolitan settings and require more power, so be sure to keep some extra batteries handy.

Shotgun and lavalier mics have their time and place. Sometimes that time and place is at the same time, in the same place. Do you have a project coming up and you’re not sure which mic to go with? Rent them first and run some tests. Just be sure not to skimp on your audio!

Comments (0)
There are no comments

You must be logged in to post a comment.

to log in