Different microphones are used in different manners and are better for unique situations.
Shotgun Mic and Its Use
The right position for this mic takes planning. Briefing may be needed before filming:
- Will it be used for short or long shots? Will it remain in one spot or be mobile?
- Will the view be uninterrupted for audio personnel?
- Will there be any obstructions?
It is best for personnel to be positioned so that action comes toward the mic instead of away. With movement it becomes easy for talent to pass in and out of the sound pickup area. Talent turning away from the mic can create problems.
Attaching the Shotgun Mic
It is most popularly attached to a fishpole or boom pole for small studio and location shooting. It is about 6-9 feet long with the mic attached to the end. Cable for sound resides inside the pole.
Microphones For Lavalier
Also known as a clip-on or lapel mic, these are a favorite when they are okay to be seen attached to a person’s clothing. They provide some of the best sound and are unobtrusive, and are best clipped onto the outside of the clothing. They can also be used attached to an ear or worn on the head. It can be a challenge to keep the sound clear when the person wearing it turns their head. The mic is perfect for only picking up the sound of the wearer. If the surroundings are noisy, a windshield may be added.
They aren’t always used just with people: they are used in sports, like soccer, and attached to nets as well as on musical instruments.
PZM Mic Boundary
PZM is the pressure zone mic and it is used to capture sound from talent six-feet-or-more away. It doesn’t give a sound that is hollow (as in a mic that is hanging). Though they pick up differently, they are used the same. These mics are great for productions where a mic shouldn’t be seen, such as dramas as well as stage performances. Increase pickup distance by mounting.
Mics That Are Hung:
These are made for high-quality pickup of productions such as choirs and orchestras. Usually hung over the area of performance, the microphones are small in size.
Microphones for Surround Sound:
These can capture 7.1 and 5.1 channels of sound that are discrete and in multidirectional patterns. In some instances they are recorded directly onto camera with video. They have five elements: right, left, right side, left side, and center. Camcorders have smaller systems using Dolby Pro Logic. Some systems for editing have a decoder for Dolby built in. They need to be carefully positioned. If the camera is moved quite a bit, this isn’t an ideal spot. They are mostly mounted separately.
Use Suggestions for Surround-Sound
- As a base of sound that’s ambient for mixes
- For situations (concerts) with seating in arena style
- On stands that are stationary
- Generally place as close to front and center as possible
- For sports place close to center field or main camera
- Place above or near instruments being recorded
Stands and Mounts
These are best used when the director is okay with the possibility of it being seen. This is useful for announcements on stage, groups singing, and instrumentals. Some disadvantages are movement because it may go out of range, relying on talent to maintain correct mic distance, and a possibility of kicking the stand over.
Mics that are Wireless
These are most commonly mics attached to the lapel (lavalier mics). These are commonly used because talent can move around freely. Generally used in interviews, on referees, and discretely placed on actors; the mic is mostly on the same frequency as a radio.
Challenges with these Mics:
- Battery operated so they can ‘die’
- Multiple channels will need to be used for multiple mics
- Working near certain structures may cause interference with the mic
Microphones that are Hidden:
These are best when other mics won’t work. They can be placed in vases, and hidden in pictures or furniture. They do have limits because talent can move out of the range.