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Video Tutorial: Which Microphone Should You Use?

Zach Ramelan

Good audio can make or break your project, but with so many available options, how do you know which one you should use, and why?

Choosing the right microphone can sometimes feel like choosing the right lens for your camera. There are plenty of options, each of which has different strengths and weaknesses. In this video, I want to simplify your selection process and show you some of my favorites.

The first rule is to always avoid internal camera audio if you can. No matter what your budget is, try to at least purchase a lower-end external microphone for your video. This will immediately boost your production value. If you can afford a camera, you can afford a microphone.

Let’s take a look.


Here are some of my top choices.

Getting Started

Video Tutorial: Which Microphone Should You Use? — RODE

“Very affordable” and “very versatile” are good ways to describe the RØDE VideoMic GO. It’s an affordable investment, and it will immediately improve the value of any production. You can always upgrade later, but this microphone is a good way to get started capturing better audio.


Best Mic Ever!

Video Tutorial: Which Microphone Should You Use? — VideoMic Pro +
Image via RØDE.

If you need a little more versatility for projects ranging from vlogs to video essays, the RØDE VideoMic Pro+ is a quality upgrade from the VideoMic GO. If you need something you can rely on for a broader range of recording conditions, I highly recommend this mic.


Lav Mic

Video Tutorial: Which Microphone Should You Use? — Sennheiser
Image via Sennheiser.

If you’re looking to expand your audio kit for more interview-style shooting, a great upgrade is a lavalier microphone. These are dynamite for documentary and guerrilla-style filmmaking. You can position them a number of ways for different types of recording, and they come in especially handy for run-and-gun style projects. I use mine nearly twice a week!


Boom Mics

If you find yourself doing more interviews and cinematic-style shooting, I recommend investing in a higher-end boom microphone. I use both lavalier and boom microphone when filming interviews, since each offers a different kind of recording. When recording audio, it’s always great to have backups.

Lower-End Boom Mic Recommendation

RØDE NTG4

Video Tutorial: Which Microphone Should You Use? — Boom Mic
Image via RØDE.

Higher-End Boom Mic Recommendation

RØDE NTG3

Video Tutorial: Which Microphone Should You Use? — RODE NTG3
Image via RØDE.

While reading this list, I’m sure all you’re seeing is dollar signs and empty bank accounts. That’s totally fair — I see the same thing when I look at audio gear. However, the simple reality is that your video production will not grow unless you up your audio game.


Audio Recorders

The last topic I want to cover is audio recorders. The Zoom H4n the Swiss army knife of audio recording devices, and if there’s one piece of gear on this list you should invest in it’s this!

Video Tutorial: Which Microphone Should You Use? — Zoom H4N
Image via Zoom.

Last but not least is a little gem called your cell phone. Most of you have one, and the audio quality is good! If you’re in a pinch or don’t have the budget for expensive recording gear, a cellphone is still better than internal camera audio. I’ve used my iPhone7 on several video projects, and it’s done the trick perfectly!


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