One Microphone Every Videographer Should Own



I use a cheap stuff wireless lav bought off ebay from china... it works alright but somehow it seems to have too much of a boom and gives me booming audio if you know what i mean. I also switch to wired for interviews and they come out great. the lav's advantage is when my talent is wearing it i can get her impromptu conversations from a distance without her subjects knowing they are being filmed or while they are comfortable with the camera's distance...but of course the other person's speech will not be as loudly heard in the lav on my talent.

Re: One microphone everyone should own


Great overview of what mics to use when shooting video. Provided the budget allows, having a sound recordist on a shoot is the best option. I've recently done a series of videos where an on-camera presenter interviews clients and residents. We used a radio mic lavlier (hidden) on the presenter and the sound guy boomed the interviewees. 

Agree re the camera mic being the 'worst' option, but amazing how many people use them.


Tim Trott's picture

I came to video from the audio world, with many years in radio, television and recording studios.


I most often use a collection of Azden wireless mics. I have one hand-held that I use as a desk mic on certain situations. I have one two channel Azden on one set of frequencies and a couple of others on another set of frequencies.


I have a diversity (two antenna) receiver on each of the frequency pairs and I use single channel receivers for additional cameras to allow syncing in post. I learned by accident that the Azden WMT lavalier mics are actually phantom powered, and decided to see if they would also worked as wired phantom powered mics connected to the phantom power in my camera and mixers, and was pleased to find that they do. I found it out when I connected one to a Shure mixer and it didn't work until I turned on the phantom power.


I had another brand but settled on the Azdens..


I own a shotgun mic (also Azden) and a boom pole with shock mount, but they have been used only in rare situations.


For live music, for example. I connect old style (dynamic) mics to the Azden transmitters. When I say "old style" I mean mics like the classic EV 635 and AKG D-125. Two diversity receivers feed my main camcorder and single channel receivers feed additional camcorders for sync.


I use the camcorder's built in mic in natural settings - waterfalls, whitewater rafting, old trains, trade show exhibit floor, and other situations where the 5.1 sound adds to the video experience.


Tim Trott Productions - Video Does It Better (sm)


Film4Ever's picture

I also own, well did own Azden equipment and it was very low quality and unreliable. I tried to call thier service department and thier only answer was to buy a new unit. I have now switched to different brands and do not have the same issues that I had with Azden equipment.

I have a few mics, a

Mdifilm's picture

I have a few mics, a sennheiser mke600 shotgun that is reasonable and great, a good shure wireless mic. I am currently looking for wireless mic that uses batteries for location on on field shoot without the need of power outlet, is there any good ones within less than $200 range?

Wireless under $200

Tim Trott's picture

Easy answer: Azden WMTs on Ebay. That's where all mine came from: 2 diversity receivers (different frequency sets), 3 single antenna receivers, 4 transmitters, 5 lavalier mics, one hand held transmitter mic for interviews.

Tim Trott Productions - Video Does It Better (sm)

Best lav mic

I currently have a couple of audio technica wired lav mics. The sound quality is okay I guess. But I want to get something better and perhaps wireless to work with my Canon xf300. I work in house and my environment is filled with loud air conditioning units and loud slot machines that put off an electrical hum even in an idle state. So I need a good mic to record interviews and demos in this loud environment. Any suggestions?

Lavs vs Shotguns

Almost every assessment of this subject I have read has said that the Shotgun is not only preferable to the Lav, but that Lavs should be avoided if you can get a Shotgun close to the source. Lavs have to be hooked to something and that something often makes noise. Of course we all know that for those long shots, Wireless Lavs are the ace in the hole. The unidirectional quality of the Shotgun makes it my chioce whenever I can use it.

It depends on the situation

Tim Trott's picture

It depends on the situation but the condenser wireless lav has been the answer for most of the situations I am in. For example we did a series of horse trainer videos and I had enough to deal with keeping up with the subject without having to keep a shotgun aimed. Because of the pickup pattern of a shot gun mic it does not have the dynamic range of a condenser mic. As for noise, I use Adobe's NR tools to judiciously filter out hum and fans.  Condenser mics have less problem with picking up hum becase the sound is amplified at the source and not after traveling down a long wire that becomes a hum antenna. Dynamic mics, by their design, are more prone to RMF interferance but they can offer advantages in certain situations. There are times when I connect old-style dynamics to my Azden transmitters.  I had a Nady WLT but it didn't work out for me. I have not tried any of the higher-end wireless mics (Sure, Sennheiser) so my experience with wireless is somewhat limited.

If you use a shotgun close to the source what is the point of using a shotgun? That is not what it is designed for and you are introducing the effects of the narrow pickup pattern for no useful purpose. At close range a good dynamic or condenser mic with the right pattern would have better frequency response and dynamic range.


My views come from working in radio and recording studios before getting into video production so I may have a different perspective than some.

Tim Trott Productions - Video Does It Better (sm)

I use mine for everything

I have a pair of the $25 AT3350 Audio Technicas, but I've used them for all kinds of things besides lavs. They work well to record panelists and for wild sound. Either I have bad ears or these are pretty great little microphones. 

To Lav, or Lav NOT

Demian's picture

Thanks for the good run down of microphone options.

I'm working on a series of interviews of people who suffer from Electromagnetic Frequencies (EMF). Wireless devices -- such as a lavalier, Wi-Fi modems, cell phones and towers -- are dangerous for them.

My first choice mic for this situation, and most others, is a Shotgun. This type of mic gives an excellent high fidelity tone, and does not get whacked (and wreck the audio) when an interview subject is physically demonstrative.

Sweet Corn Productions
"Radiation Diaries"

Boom for Canon Vixia HF G30

michele's picture

Hello, I work for a university and college of agriculture. We shoot a lot of our extension experts out in the field. I have a Canon shoe mount mic, as well as a wireless lav. Two issues are when we are interviewing two people at once, and of course, wind sheer. Dead cat helps with wind noise. Looking for a recommendation for a boom mic hand held with a pole and or stand. Any suggestions?