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Types of Microphones


Cardioid Pickup Pattern
A cardioid mic has a somewhat directional pickup pattern, so it is less sensitive to sounds from behind, than it is to the sides and front. It is often used from above, on a fishpole.


Shotgun Microphone

A shotgun mic is a more directional super-cardioid. This allows you to record sound with minimal background noise, from a greater distance. There may be some sacrifice of sound quality compared to a simpler cardioid mic. It is most useful outdoors where sound is not reverberating off walls.


Lavalier Microphone
The lavalier mic is small enough to be hidden on a person's clothes, to provide close perspective sound of their voice. It will also pick up other voices or sounds from nearby. Unless equipped with a wireless transmitter, it is best suited to static scenes.

Omni-Directional Pickup Pattern
Note: a lavalier has an omni-directional pickup pattern, so the direction it is pointing is not significant.

Choosing a Mic

Download a microphone demonstration video (21MB QuickTime movie) showing the use of the three types of mics.

Narrator In studio recording, the microphone is usually placed in close perspective. For voice recording, have the narrator speak across , rather than directly into the mic.

The camera's automatic level control often works fine, although it may cause noisy background sound to fluctuate up and down. When using manual level control, adjust the level so the loudest sounds are just below zero on the VU meters.

Always take great care with audio cables and connectors, which are fragile and essential to sound recording. Check all equipment before you take it on location.

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