Recommend a Camcorder Microphone?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Mac In School, Jan 10, 2008.

  1. Mac In School macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2007
    #1
    I made my first movie, which can be viewed here, and the sound is horrible.

    My camera: Canon Optura 200MC MiniDV

    Two problems:

    1. The internal mic pics up the tape mechanism, so there's a constant hum.

    2. I'm standing too far away from the camera to be heard. Standing closer is not an option.

    What are my options for improving this situation? From reading the link above, I see that my camera has a microphone jack. Any idea what would work for me? Is there some kind of wireless setup I could use? Price is a very serious consideration right now. I'm not looking for pro quality... Just an improvement.

    Thanks.
     
  2. marioman38 macrumors 6502a

    marioman38

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    Location:
    Elk Grove, CA
    #2
    A simple shotgun will do, anything around $200, I know Sennheiser makes a few great ones, which can be picked up used.
     
  3. AviationFan macrumors 6502a

    AviationFan

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA
    #3
    Congrats on your first movie - and congrats also on realizing how important good sound is for the overall impression of the product.
    Your camcorder has an input for an external microphone, and as you have already figured out, you need to get the mic away from the camera and closer to the source of the sound. Anything else is second to this, meaning that no shotgun in the world - no matter how expensive - mounted on the camera or high-end pre-amp can outperform an entry-level mic that's positioned perfectly. So since your budget is limited, find a microphone and a cable for your camera, as well as a way to hold the mic (boom, stand, etc.).

    Let me also tell you what the "pro" solution would look like - I understand you don't want to (or cannot afford to) go there right away, but knowing what that solution looks like may allow you to purchase something now that you won't have to throw away in a year or so when you again find that you need even better audio quality for your projects.

    There's a little box made by a company called Bechtek that makes XLR adapters, connecting professional audio equipment (with balanced connections and XLR connectors) to consumer-type audio interfaces such as the 3.5mm mini-plug. If it fits in your budget, I would consider such an adapter, for three important reasons:
    1. It reduces the unbalanced cable run to the very short connector from the adapter to the camera, eliminating most of the interference from electrical cables/devices, etc.
    2. It gives you easily accessible gain controls for the audio inputs. You can probably control this inside your camera, but not with quick access to it. Depending on what you shoot, quick gain control may be absolutely critical to avoid clipping of the waveform.
    3. Maybe most important: it allows you to use/buy microphones that you can continue to use later in a pro environment, rather then get something cheap now only to discover later that you can't use it anymore.
    Hope this helps!

    - Martin
     

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