It is necessary to get every word recorded with great clarity when conducting interviews. This is why an interview microphone of high quality is a must. In this article, we emphasize some key points to take into consideration before you make the choice. Pay attention to each of them and you can get the one that fits your recording needs perfectly.
What to consider before buying a microphone for interviews?
There are three aspects that you should decide first before start shopping for a microphone interview. They are:
Set the range of price that you are willing to afford. The price is varied by the brands and models. Your budget helps you exclude the mics beyond the cost thus giving you more time to make the further decision.
Your recording environment
You are supposed to make sure where you will hold the interview so you can determine what polar pattern and exterior construction are needed. For example, if you take up outdoor interview, you will need a cardioid microphone to capture target sounds and reject ambient noise. In addition, the microphone for interviews should feature solid construction so it can keep working under bad weather conditions. It is better to come with accessories like shock mount and wind screen to ensure smooth and clear audio recording.
What you are going to record your interview on
It matters to know what your recording device is so you can look for the interview microphone that is compatible. For instance, if you are intended to have recording on cameras, you can shop for camera interview microphone with XLR or TRS cable.
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Three steps to choose the best interview microphone
First, decide the microphone type according to the interview form and contents.
There are three main types. Each goes for specific need and features advantages and disadvantages. Read the following part and find the appropriate type.
Shotgun - Professional for sit-down interview
Shotgun microphone for interview gains great popularity especially in sit-down interview. It is in the shape of barrel and picks up audio from the direction that it is pointed at to block unwanted environment noises. Therefore, it must be pointed in the direction of speakers. It can be mounted on a boom pole or be connected to your DSLR and suchlike devices via an XLR cable.
- It can be set up in advance to stop the interviewees from waiting.
- The talent won’t feel uncomfortable without a cable down his or her shirt.
- It has no requirements on what the interviewee wear.
- It allows you to interview several persons in turn in the same space within a limited period of time.
- An experienced boom operator is needed to suspend the microphone above the interviewee to make sure high quality output.
- You may have trouble recording outside with a kit of mic and boom pole in your pack.
Lavalier - Portable interview microphone for both outdoor and indoor interview
It is the interview microphone that you can notice on people’s shirts in different places. It is designed for recording interviews in a non-intrusive manner. To go further, there are two types. One is wired and must be connected to a device in the talent’s pocket. The other is the wireless interview microphone. Since it is compact and light, it is a top choice for mobile interview and you can move freely without the restriction of cable.
- It is mini and unobtrusive, enabling people to concentrate on the interview itself.
- It causes no burden even it takes a long time to finish the shooting.
- Interview lavalier microphone frees your hand so you can gesticulate accordingly.
- It takes interviewee’s time to place the lav mic properly on the clothing.
- There is the risk of rigging up if the clothes is in soft texture.
- It may capture noise if there is rubbing against the clothes.
Handheld - Choice of microphone for street interviews
Handheld interview microphone is a popular type the reporter uses. It comes in two types, wired and wireless. It helps a lot in street interview and interviews alike when the interviewees are randomly chosen.
- You can control the handheld interview microphone as you like since it is in your hand.
- It allows you to have multiple-person interview flexibly by changing the direction it is pointed to.
- It should be held in your hand, limiting your gesticulation.
- You should always make sure your are holding the mic in the right place.
Second, consider five important factors.
After deciding which type of interview microphone is suitable for your personal needs, it is your turn to think about the pickup pattern. Actually, there are two patterns that work best.
The first is directional. It is highly sensitive to sounds coming directly in the front and make rejection of background noises. Therefore, the talents’ voices will be recorded clearly. It is a good choice for outdoor interview.
Microphone featuring omnidirectional pattern is another choice. It captures sounds in all directions, which is good for microphone-sharing among several guests. However, it is not recommended for outside recording.
Because interviewing typically include a lot of movement, a professional interview microphone must feature a good proximity sensitivity effect. Even if you move around, a high-sensitivity microphone will produce the same level of sound. And there is no need to worry about the volume to be reduced when you step back or turn your head.
It stands for the frequency range a microphone detects. To make the right options, you should be aware of your interview audio level and then invest in a mic that performs well in this range of frequency.
This is the maximum SPL that a microphone can record without distortion. That is, the higher the Max. SPL is, the louder sounds it can handle. Generally, 120dB SPL can fit your need. For higher sound quality, you can look at the 135dB SPL and 150dB SPL.
Signal-to-noise ratio (SNR)
The ratio compares the output signal level to the level of self noise that is produced by the interview microphone when there is no sound source. It is measured in decibels.
Table: Overview of microphone specs at SYNCO
In the table below, we divide the SYNCO microphones into several types and list the range of specs parameters.
30Hz to 20KHz
20Hz to 20KHz
20Hz to 20KHz
20Hz to 20KHz
80-82dB (1KHz at 1Pa)
Third, check the connection to make sure the compatibility.
To make sure that your chosen microphone can work with your preferred device, you are advised to check the type of connection. There are three common types if divided by the devices.
If you want to use the interview microphone for camera, it should be with XLR or TRS connection. As for computer, a USB connection comes to help. If you feel like using smartphone to shoot the interview, you will need a microphone featuring headphone or charging port connection. That is, it should have the connector in the form of TRRS, Type-C or Lightning.
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An interview microphone can make or break your contents. It takes time and efforts choose the best one for your need. We hope that you can get all the information you demand from this article to make your wise choice.
What kind of microphone would you use for an interview when there's lots of background noise?
A supercardioid microphone is recommended since it is able to capture the target sound in the front in noisy surroundings. The narrow pick up pattern also enables it to stay away from feedback thus producing clear output.
How to shoot an interview with my smartphone?
The tips are as follows.
Make interview in a relaxing space. To guarantee the performance, it is good to have interview in a space where both interview and interviewee feel relaxed. Setting a comfortable temperature plays a big role.
Light your frame. Lighting attributes to a beautiful frame. If you don’t have a video light, it doesn’t matter. You can get natural and free lighting from windows. Pay attention, the sunlight changes direction as time goes by. Remember to change your position to ensure consistent lighting if it take a long time to finish the task.
Place the mic properly. Owing an interview microphone for iPhone or android doesn’t always lead to high quality sounds. You should place it properly. Take lavalier microphone as an example. It should be clipped on the clothes a bit above the sternum and be on the outside.