If you want to perfectly capture audio when filming, you should carefully choose the mic that you are going to use. Aside from capturing the audio, you also want your mic to be hidden from view while filming. All these considerations are addressed by a directional mic like a shotgun microphone. But what is a shotgun microphone?
A shotgun microphone is a kind of directional microphone that is often used in movie production and television. Since it is a directional microphone, it processes sounds that are directly in front of it. It appears like a shotgun because of its narrow shape and its peculiar orientation when you mount it on a camera.
Several factors make a boom microphone a great choice for filming. These factors include the following:
When you are filming, you do not want your microphone to capture sounds other than what your subject is saying. Hence, you should use a directional mic to achieve this. The shotgun mic is engineered for extreme directionality. It is designed to capture the clearest sound of your subject or talent. It rejects off-axis sounds and only captures the voice of the subject.
Flat/Extended Frequency Response
The good thing about using a shotgun mic with flat frequency response is that it produces a natural sound. Low frequencies, of course, should be filtered in the mix if you want to get an awesome recording. Using a shotgun mic with flat frequency response, you can achieve that.
When shooting film, you should choose a boom microphone with high sensitivity. Since the boom mic comes with high sensitivity, it should be shielded with windscreen or blimp. You should position this blimp in-between the talent and the mic capsule. You should also position the mic some distance from the subject. You do not need to worry about not capturing the audio because shotgun mics are directional mic.
It Should Be Lightweight
One of the factors that you should look for in a boom microphone is its weight. The weight of the mic will determine the level of performance and comfort of the boom operator. Heavier boom mics will weigh heavily on the arm of the operator. Hence, the lighter the mic, the better it will be for boom pole operator. You should also choose a shotgun mic that nicely fits into the shock mount. It should also fit well with the blimp style windscreen.
4 Best Shotgun Mics for Filming
There are many brands and models of shotgun microphones in the market today. Hence, you may get confused if you would shop around for one. So, to facilitate the choosing process for you, here are four of the best shotgun mics in the market today:
Last update on 2020-12-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
1) Sennheiser MKH416-P48U3
The Sennheiser MKH416-P48U3 is a widely used standard mic for filming and making a documentary filming. It is one of the best shotgun mics in the market today. Over the years, television broadcasters and filmmakers have made this mic as their standard mic.
The Sennheiser 416 features an all-metal body that is meant for durability. It also comes with a directional pickup pattern that clearly picks up dialogue and isolates background noise. It is also characterized by a high sensitivity that makes it a favorite of filmmakers.
This mic is very compact and is a pressure-gradient mic that features a short interference tube. It is not sensitive to humidity because of its RF condenser design. Because of its high directivity, it produces high consonant articulation as well as feedback rejection.
The Sennheiser 416 is also transformer-less and features a fully floating and balanced output. With its rugged construction and immunity to weather changes, you can expect this mic to last longer. The Sennheiser 416 is a great choice if you are looking for a reliable and durable shotgun microphone.
2) Rode NTG4+ Supercardioid Condenser Shotgun Microphone
The Rode NTG4+ is a directional condenser microphone that comes with an in-built battery. This mic features a low-noise functionality and high sensitivity. It also offers the convenience of level control and onboard equalization through digital switching.
Aside from being the first microphone to have a built-in battery, it also offers a convenient USB charging along with 150 hours or more of operation. The charging time is only 2 hours. With its USB charging feature, you can even charge it using your computer, car, or even power brick.
The NTG4+ offers great audio at a very affordable price compared to other high-end shotgun mics. It comes with a high-pass filter, high-frequency body, and pad. It also features a persistent state that ensures that you retain the settings of this mic whenever it is switched off. With its new condenser capsule, it provides perfect audio capture, higher sensitivity, low noise floor, and an enhanced and richer character.
3) Sennheiser MKE 600 Short Shotgun Microphone
The Sennheiser MKE 600 comes with a short design for use in challenging video-audio recording situations. It is perfect for outdoor recording. It features a durable metallic capsule that you can easily mount on your DSLR via its built-in shock mount and camera shoe.
With this mic, you can expect a better audio capture with less wind noise and increased directivity. It comes with a foam windshield along with a switchable low-cut filter. This filter lessens noise. You can power this mic through phantom power or using a single AA battery.
The Sennheiser MKE 600 is meant for durability with its rugged construction that includes an all-metal housing. Thus, it is perfect for outdoor usage where there are variable weather factors. Its dimensions are 16.1 x 10.5 x 5.8 inches. It weighs around 128 g (Without Battery) or 4.5 oz.
4) Audio-Technica AT897
The Audio-Technica AT897 is another well-known shotgun mic that is a great choice for filmmaking. It is more affordable than the Sennheiser 416. It also features a longer design than that of the 416. Its 11-inch length ensures that this mic stays out of view.
It features a natural-sounding and smooth on-axis audio quality. It also provides you with the needed narrow acceptance angle that is perfect for long-distance pickup of sound. Moreover, it offers excellent sound rejection from the rear and sides. Thus, it rejects unnecessary noise.
The Audio-Technica AT897 is operated using phantom power or battery. It also features a low-frequency roll-off that is switchable. This mic is surely a great budget microphone that offers great audio capture.
Last update on 2020-12-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Other Top-rated Shotgun Mics
Frequently Asked Questions about Shotgun Microphones
To understand further the use of shotgun microphones and their advantages, you should at least be familiar with the FAQs about shotgun mics. Here are some of these questions:
Why Should I Mount the Shotgun Mic on the Boom Pole?
There is a succinct reason why you should mount the shotgun mic on the boom pole. First, it should be out of the shot during the recording; otherwise, the video recording will not look good. Second, it should be as close as possible to the audio source. So, if you are recording a dialogue, you want the shotgun mic to be as close as possible to the subjects without being visible in the video.
Since microphones have limited range, you need to position the shotgun mic as close as possible to the mouth of the subjects. Thus, a boom pole is a perfect choice for angling the microphone as close as possible to the subject’s mouth.
Of course, you can also use a lavalier mic for that. Yet, you need to hide the lavalier mic under the clothing of the subject to make them invisible to the viewers. Moreover, lavalier mics pick up even the rustles of your clothing. They pick up the noises which the directional mic cannot. Hence, they are not a perfect choice for filmmaking as compared to shotgun mics.
What is the Most Recommended Microphone for Film Recording?
You have two options when it comes to audio film recording mics. These two are the shotgun mics and the lavalier mics. Shotgun mics are mounted directly on the camera or a boom pole. It can focus directly on the target subject and be as closed as possible to the mouth of the subject.
The lavalier mics, on the other hand, are omnidirectional, meaning, they pick up the background noise. If you want to capture even the noise around the entire set, then, the lavalier mic is perfect for that purpose. But if you want to capture only the sound of the subject, then, the shotgun mic is your best option.
Is There A Difference Between A Boom Mic & A Shotgun Mic?
Well, there is basically no difference between the two. The boom mic is also the shotgun mic. Shotgun mics, of course, are referred to as boom mics when they are boom mounted. So, the next time you hear about shotgun mics and boom mics, you should not get confused for both terms refer to the same type of mics.
Finding the right shotgun microphone, of course, might be a bit confusing for the uninitiated into the different types of mics. Yet, the moment you understand the different types of mics and their advantages, plus, the most recommended shotgun mics in the market, you can easily zero in on the right shotgun mic for your use. You can also learn much from the different FAQs to further understand the pros and cons of using shotgun mics.