DSLR cameras are designed for taking photos and videos. Although they usually have inbuilt mic, a professional external microphone is needed for decent audio. And utilizing a wireless lavalier microphone for DSLR is a good choice. But how to get perfect audio? Below we list some important tips for you as a reference.
Get a good wireless lavalier microphone for DSLR video
Getting a high quality wireless microphone system is the first step. The following are some factors to consider.
You must first consider how much you can and are prepared to spend on it. This will enable you to reduce your list of choices.
Size & weight
You should think about how portable your external mic is. You don't need an additional heavy piece of equipment if you're making on-the-go shooting. Look for a microphone that is small, light, and powerful.
In the same line, pay close attention to the build quality and robustness. It's possible that you don't need a very delicate video microphone if you're always on the run.
The battery life is another important factor to take into account. If you want to take long-time shooting which is away from power supply, seek a microphone that features long battery life and simple charging options.
Polar pattern tells you from which direction the wireless lavalier microphone for DSLR picks up sounds. There are three main patterns.
- Cardioid: It is sensitive to the sounds in the front and blocks audio from the sides and rear. If you want to focus on one sound source, it is suitable.
- Bidirectional: It captures sounds from the front and rear while rejecting sounds from the sides.
- Omnidirectional: It picks up audio from every direction.
The frequency response indicates the range of sounds that a mic can capture and reproduce. It will impact the distinctive sound quality. In most cases, it is ranging from 20Hz to 20kHz. However, some microphones purposefully exclude higher or lower frequency noises to enhance the audio quality of the entire recording.
Check the article Best DSLR microphone: Top 5 SYNCO shotguns and lavaliers to choose the best wireless lavalier microphone for DSLR from SYNCO for your shooting activity.
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Turn off Automatic Gain Control
Make sure the Automatic Gain Control(ACG) function is turned off. This is the common feature of most DSLR cameras. It can adjust the audio level automatically according to the audio volume the camera captures. It may sound useful, but it doesn’t work well in reality.
In fact, ACG will damage the audio if a lavalier microphone for DSLR is plugged in. It will amplify the background noises, which will be turned down quickly when the talent starts talking. In this way, the first few words will be much louder than the rest of the sentence. Therefore, just open the setting menu, select auto-gain, and turn it off.
Turn down the input gain on your camera
The majority of cameras have poor-quality audio inputs. This implies that they might add hiss to your recording. To minimize the hiss, just turn down the input gain to level 1 or 2 or adjust it to the minimum. If necessary, adopt the output control of your wireless interview microphone for DSLR to amplify signals.
Watch audio levels
The audio level is the most important thing to which you need to pay close attention during recording.
Decibels (dB) are units used to measure it, and 0 is the max volume. Your camera's screen will display a vertical or horizontal meter that will show you the audio levels. Make sure your meter never reaches 0 dB when setting audio levels because doing so might cause your signal to clip and produce distortion. We can all agree that this is terrible to listen to, and there isn't much you can do to change it in post.
The audio level should always be in the range of minus dB, which is the “green zone”. And the safety net is the "yellow zone", which serves as a sign that your level is edging closer to 0 dB. Distortion takes place in the "red zone". Keep your settings in the green zone and leave enough of "headroom" in case your sound source suddenly becomes louder. Additionally, you don't want your audio levels to be too low since when you enhance them throughout the editing process, they can lack punch and clarity. Aiming for -12dB is a good idea.
Watch and listen for the loudest time when you are recording a football game and suchlike dynamic and unpredictable sound sources, then adjust the audio level to sit below the yellow zone at this peak. This will prevent your signal from clipping. Always keep in mind that the quietest portions may be compressed in post-production to make them seem louder if you're concerned about them being too quiet.
Monitor the audio that wireless lavalier microphone for camera captures with headphones
Most modern DSLR cameras come with a 3.5mm headphone jack for audio monitoring. This is quite helpful to ensure that the levels don’t clip, there isn't any additional noise or anything else that can spoil your audio. If there isn’t headphone output on your camera, you can consider buying a wireless lavalier microphone system for DSLR that features audio monitoring function.
If you want to know more information about mic monitoring, just check the article Beginners' guide: Why does mic monitoring matter?
When capturing audio for a narrative, documentary, or other projects, a wireless lavalier microphone for DSLR is a great option. Just follow the aforementioned tips to get high quality audio for your DSLR videos.