It is critical to select high-quality audio equipment for your documentary film. You may wonder which mic is best for documentary. Actually, a shotgun mic, which is highly directional and can be mounted on the camera or attached to boom poles, is a good choice. Finding the best shotgun mic for documentary can be challenging because there are many to choose from. In this post, we will tell you some factors to consider when making a purchase and offer some tips on how to ensure good audio for documentary filming.
How to choose best shotgun mic for documentary work: 4 questions to consider
Here are some questions you need to take into consideration.
How long is it?
Size is important for shotgun microphones in some instances. Why? If you're attempting to boom in a small space, you'll usually be better off with a shorter microphone than a longer one, unless you don't mind the microphone peering into your shots. Moreover, it might be difficult to find suitable wind gear, such as shotgun blimps or "dead cat" windscreens, for shotgun microphones of unusual lengths or extremely long shotgun microphones.
How heavy is this documentary shotgun mic?
Weight is also important. If you want to utilize a shotgun mic hanging from a boom pole for extended periods of time, the lighter the microphone, the better from the standpoint of your arms.
Does it require phantom power?
Certain microphones like XLR shotgun mic require phantom power, which can be supplied by a mixer or a camera with XLR inputs that can offer phantom power. Some mics don't require this since they operate on internal batteries, which means you don't need a mixer and may be able to utilize less sophisticated DSLR setups with fewer adapters. Of course, mics with internal batteries are heavier, and you'll need to bring extra batteries with you. It's just another consideration when selecting a shotgun microphone for documentary filming.
How narrow is the pickup pattern?
In general, you'll want a shotgun mic for documentary with a narrow hypercardioid polar pattern that can pick up distinct sounds like lines of speech from the individuals you're recording rather than noise from a nearby road or a helicopter a few miles away. The tighter the pickup pattern, the more costly and longer the shotgun microphone. Although this rule is not always true, it is frequently true.
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Shotgun mic vs boom mic for documentary: Which is better?
In fact, the answer is, it depends.
Shotgun microphones are sometimes referred to as "boom" microphones, however this is in relation to a boom pole. They are lightweight, extensible poles with shock mounts at the ends that accommodate a shotgun microphone.
Having a boom operator is an easy method to make sure you're always getting the mic exactly where it needs to be for run-and-gun shots or a rapid interview setup. Nevertheless, we found that using a C-stand with a pole holder attachment works really well for sit-down interviews.
How to mic a documentary style sit down interview?
Using a shotgun mic for documentary brings many benefits. You can shorten setup time and don’t have to conceal any microphone connections or attach anything to your subject. To get better audio, here are some tips that you can follow.
- Before you go for your shoot, CHECK your audio equipment to ensure that the microphones are working, the batteries are completely charged, and there are no broken wires.
- Check your audio levels frequently to ensure that they are neither too high or too low.
- Put on your headphones and have your subject perform a "testing 1,2,3" to ensure that the sound is being picked up by your mic.
- If at all feasible, wear headphones. (Some cameras, such as DSLRs, lack headphone jacks. Of course, you may fix this by installing a preamp audio box.)
- When using shotgun mic for field documentary, make sure there isn't a lot of background noise such as traffic, wind, construction, etc. if someone is speaking. That can be distracting and render the interview ineffective.