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  • Writer's pictureStayClassyTV

Hold a Microphone Like a Pro

Why use a mic?

Sound is crucial in video! Let me say it again for the audience in the back, sound is crucial for video! There’s nothing worse than working all day on a video project, only to discover that the sound dips in and out ... or even worse, your audio is non-existent.

Four types of microphones:

  1. Dynamic microphones. Dynamic microphones are the most reliable microphones in the music industry. Think of these as your go-to studio mics. They’re not especially sensitive, so they work for loud sources. They also tend to be some of the cheapest mics specifically for studio work. Dynamic mics have a wide, unidirectional pattern of pickup, which means they work almost like a spotlight — point them in a direction to capture sound there, as well as to either side, but not directly behind the mic (which can also work well on interior or action sets).

  2. Condenser microphones. Condenser microphones are a little more sophisticated than dynamic microphones. If you’re mostly interested in high-quality studio mics for podcasts or voice-over work, you’ll want to check out condenser mics. Everything about them is similar to dynamic mics, except that they’re more expensive and deliver clearer single-source audio recordings.

  3. Lavalier/Lapel Microphones - These are a filmmaker’s best friend. Lavalier (or just “lav”) mics are small condenser mics that you can attach to on-screen talent during a shoot. And they work wirelessly, so you shouldn’t have to worry about proximity when you’re working with a lav mic. The sound quality won’t be perfect, so you’ll only want to rely on getting good audio from the person wearing the mic.

  4. Shotgun Microphone - Technically this is a “style” of microphone rather than a specific type. But since every filmmaker has at least one shotgun mic in their kit bag, we felt it was important to give them a shoutout.

Best Practices for speaking into a microphone

  1. Keep your hand on the middle section of the microphone at all times. Although you may see famous hosts/musicians holding the microphone by the grille, this technique actually causes feedback issues and wreaks havoc with the sound. To avoid this, never cup the microphone around the grille and always keep your hand around the middle of the mic. Don't hold the microphone near the bottom, especially if there's a wire. You could accidentally unplug the wire with your hand.

  2. Wrap all of your fingers around the microphone to keep it steady.

  3. Squeeze the microphone firmly as you use it. Never hold the microphone limply as this can cause handling noise. The microphone will move a lot if it isn’t held securely and all of the extra noise will be amplified may interfere with your voice.

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