In video production, shotgun microphone is widely regarded as the go-to standard for getting high-quality audio. As we all know, audio quality is key to video recording. That’s the reason why it’s important to select the right mic and use it appropriately. So what is a shotgun microphone used for? Before that, let’s have a brief understanding of it.
What is a shotgun microphone?
A shotgun microphone is typically directional, which is good at capturing sound in front of it while blocking ambient noise from the sides and rear. Different types are used in recording. The followings are some common used types.
There are different ways to classify the types. According to the device applied to, there are three common types.
Shotgun microphone for camera feature a shoe mount to mount on the camera. It is usually short in barrel to avoid blocking the lens.
Off-camera microphone features longer interference tube and is mounted on mic boom. It is commonly used in video production.
As for shotgun microphone for phone, it features connectors like Type-C, Lightning or TRRS to fit different types of cellphone.
If classified by pickup patterns, there are the super cardioid shotgun microphone, hypercardioid and ultracardioid shotgun mics.
Also, it can be classified by the length of shotgun, including long, medium and short shotgun microphones, which affects the using situations.
What are different lengths of shotgun mics used for?
The length of the shotgun microphone plays an important role in determining the situations where you use it.
Short shotgun mics are widely used and commonly mounted on cameras. They are durable and portable thanks to the small size. Although owning short shotgun, it is still more directional and precise than lavalier microphones. Its range is 4 feet. But for better audio, you can put it 2 feet away from the subject.
Due to these characteristics, it is ideal to use this shotgun microphone for interview, vlogging, video conference, interview and such situations where you need a portable but directional mic. In most cases, it is the best shotgun microphone for smartphone and other mobile devices.
Medium shotgun microphone has more directional pickup pattern and reject more off-axis sound than the short one. In most cases, it requires XLR input and external power, known as XLR shotgun mic. In general, it works well in the range of six feet and gets best sound at around three.
If you are booming and recording voices for TV and film, it can be the safest bet because it is extremely directional but still simple to use and provide you some flexibility in placement.
Long shotgun microphones have a very tight pickup pattern. Because of it, a boom operator is needed to point it at the subject since changes in the angle can be highly evident with a drop off in audio.
Though it is common for you to keep your microphone as close to the target as possible, it can be used from a distance of roughly nine feet if there isn't too much noise outside.
Long shotgun mic is the best shotgun microphone for outdoors since it has the tightest pattern and the longest range.
Pros and cons of using shotgun mic
When we use shotgun mic for streaming, it features many advantages, including
- It directly concentrates on the target sound.
- It helps reduce ambient sounds in the noisy environment.
- It provides clear sound quality.
- It saves time for post-production.
But there are also some disadvantages when using shotgun microphone which includes:
- You need to aim it at the subject exactly for good recording.
- It needs a boom operator to control the sound.
Shotgun microphone VS lavalier: the differences in uses
When used appropriately, shotgun mics and lavaliers, often known as lapel mics, can both capture high-quality audio. Both microphones are excellent for discourse, vlogging, and interviewing, but there are some differences when they are used.
Lavalier mics are usually clipped to the subject, even omnidirectional models can provide a strong signal-to-noise ratio due to their close proximity to the sound source, which means it can move with you and provides good audio. Therefore, it is ideal for the mobile shooting and cross-talk. For example, if you have an interview and need to move around, it is good to use lav mic for you and the interviewee.
Despite the fact that directed lavs are available, shotguns typically have a tighter pickup pattern and a more adaptable form factor. When compared to lavaliers, shotgun mics might sound more natural, and don't require much operation before the shooting begins. That is, you don't have to clip the mic properly and make sure it works well - something you need to do when using lav mic. As a result, it is a choice for simple and high-quality sound recording.
1. When should I use a shotgun microphone?
When you need to capture sound without any background noise, a shotgun mic is a good solution. It comes in handy when you need to isolate a specific sound source in a crowded or noisy environment.
2. Why do I hear wind noise when my mic is used?
Wind noise is a sort of handling noise that is distinct from other noises. This can be caused by a multitude of factors. A damp capsule, a bad cable, or even a lack of a windscreen could all be to blame. Here are some suggestions for lowering handling noise.
① Maintain a low-humidity atmosphere.
② Get a shotgun microphone windscreen and isolate the microphone as much as possible to reduce the amount of environmental noise.
③ Check the cables are properly connected both to the mic and the interface or mixer.
3. What is the frequency response?
It ranges from 20Hz to 20kHz. However, it is dependent on the company and the model.
4. What is a polar pattern?
The polar pattern refers to the sensitivity of sound picked up from various angles around the microphone. It’s the “listening space” in a nutshell. Because not all diaphragms are created equal, the polar pattern for each might vary. This has an impact on how the mic sounds as well as how much sound it picks up.
5. How are cardioid & super-cardioid microphones different?
A super-cardioid microphone is substantially more directional than a cardioid one. It has the same directivity as a cardioid, but it lowers noise in front of the mic considerably more, typically by 10dB.