[Gear In Review Podcast] GIR11 – Microphones for Video

Hosted by Reed Smith and Bobby Rettew, MA

In the last episode we explored microphones; in this episode we are talking about microphones for video. There are lots of microphone options for our video cameras, iPhones, and DSLRs. In this episode, we will look at numerous video microphones that are cost effective and showcase different levels of production value. Each one provides a different opportunity whether it is wireless or sits on-top of the camera, we will share thoughts about each situation

Here are links to portable hard drives we discuss:

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Reed Smith: Hey everybody, this is Reed Smith.

Chris Boyer: And this is Chris Boyer.

Reed Smith: And we are co-hosts on a show called Touchpoint, which is a podcast that’s dedicated to the discussions on digital marketing and online patient engagement strategies. Not only for just hospitals, but health systems and physician practices.

Chris Boyer: In every episode, we’ll dive deep into a variety of topics on digital tools, solutions, strategies and other things that are impacting the healthcare industry today.

Reed Smith: And while you listen to this show, we would certainly love you to check out ours.

Chris Boyer: All you have to do is swing on over to touchpoint.health for more information and also some of the other shows that are featured on the Touchpoint Media Network.

Reed Smith: Welcome back to Gear in Review, I am Reed Smith, joined as always by Bobby Rettew.

Bobby Rettew: What’s going on this morning or this afternoon or lunchtime or whatever?

Reed Smith: Here we are again. Last episode, we talked about microphones, thought we would expand on that just a little bit and talk more specifically in this episode about microphones used to capture better audio when shooting video, if that’s not a mouthful.

Bobby Rettew: No it’s a big mouthful and it’s obviously … it’s one of the things that we are always trying to get better and better at when we’re working on video projects. So this’ll be kind of fun, we’ve learned a lot.

Reed Smith: Well before we get too far in, thanks again for all the support. Thanks for all those subscribers and listeners out there. If you’re interested, be sure to head over to touchpoint.health. Learn about all the other shows and all the good things that we’re doing. Be sure to subscribe, rate, review us on iTunes. It’s the best way that we can make sure other folks actually find this show. So here we are.

Microphones for video.

Bobby Rettew: Oh this is fun.

Reed Smith: So and this is a little bit outside my wheelhouse. Last time around, I mean I can weigh in a little bit ’cause I use a microphone to capture audio as we’re doing this very moment. But you’re the video guy. So what … kinda of what are we talking about here?

Bobby Rettew: So there’s three areas that we work in. One is the microphone that you can use on a camera, that you can put on a camera. So if you’re capturing footage of someone doing something, it will record really quality audio into the camera.

Second, audio for interviews and we have two different options there. One is a boom mike or a mike that hangs over the person or sits underneath them to record clean audio as the interviews happen. Or three, a Lavalier mike that can be wired or wireless.

And so those are the three areas that we kind of navigate when it comes to our workflows for video production.

Reed Smith: Nice. All right so I think most common, well not most commonly, but people probably at least can visualize the idea of a boom mike, right? You got a guy standing over in the corner with headphones on and he’s dangling this microphone over you as you audition for American Idol.

Bobby Rettew: Right and-

Reed Smith: That’s kinda what we’re talking about.

Bobby Rettew: Pretty much and you know the reason why we have navigated or gone to this option is pure functionality and so mainly because when we do a lot of interviews, there is this just basically awkward moment. Having to go in and put a Lav on someone’s clothing and for males, many times, if a CEO’s wearing a jacket, we can put the lapel mike on the jacket fold and hide the mike behind the jacket. In between the jacket and his shirt.

If the gentleman’s not wearing a jacket, we’ve gotta find a way to put it on the person’s shirt and I don’t like to show wires. I like to hide wires. So we end up having to tuck it behind buttons or in the collar and that usually is kind of an uncomfortable thing because most of us have kind of a personal zone space that we don’t like people to break into. And so you’re having to break into someone’s personal space to put mikes on them.

The one thing that really kicked it off to moving to a boom mike is many times, we would interview ladies and ladies many times wear blouses that are very sheer and if you pin a lapel mike, it pulls on ’em. And it’s really hard and awkward and it’s also many times, can be tough to ask a lady to go to the bathroom to go put a mike up her shirt and then have to carry that mike back out and we hook up.

So we’ve tried to really navigate this awkwardness with just let’s put a boom mike up because-

Reed Smith: So you’re miking the room versus the person to some extent, right?

Bobby Rettew: Absolutely, absolutely and it really makes it easier for the person. They can come in and just sit into a chair and the mike is already hanging and-

Reed Smith: That’s what I was thinking was, I mean, this is probably a time saver to some degree as well, right? So you’re able to set up in a space and then people can come in and out and it’s less time consuming even for them, ’cause it’s a few minutes to get them wired up so to speak, if that’s the direction you’re going.

Bobby Rettew: Absolutely and so we moved to this option of the boom mike and it’s functionality is great. We have two different options that we leverage. Many times, we will record the person being interviewed and the actual interviewer. So we’ll hang two mikes sometimes through booms. And so we use a Sennheiser ME66 and a K6 which is a supercardoid shotgun mike and it does a really good job of capturing rich voice.

The hard thing about that mike sometimes is that it really likes to suck audio in and so we have to kind of be careful about the individual that’s sitting in a chair. We don’t have like a metal chair that they can tap their ring on or something that makes clicky clack noises.

And then we also use at the same time, this audio technia, ATM10A. It’s also an omnidirectional condenser mike and it does … Both of them do a great job. They have rich sound. We always have to find the right spacing between the person’s face and where we hang it. If you hang it too close, it’ll get too close and really overpower the mike and so we try to hang it just above the view point of the camera. And both mikes do a great job, rich sound and have performed really well. They are both XLR mikes so they’re cabled. That we can either do two things, into the camera or into a recording device or a mixer if we have a sound guy helping us out.

Reed Smith: Gotcha. Awesome, okay so that’s boom mike. What’s our next option to capture better audios as it relates to video?

Bobby Rettew: Yeah, so on the camera mikes is something else that has really jumped up, especially with the DSLR movement. Many of the Sony’s and the Canon’s and the Nikon’s that offer video recording options in the DSLR, have a built-in mike. But it doesn’t really … It’s just capturing everything around the camera.

We have recommended using a road mike that can literally hook into the flash shoe on top of the camera and we’ll plug into using a mini connector into the camera and you can record through that and it’s a directional microphone that records what’s in front and it does a great job. It typically uses a 9 volt battery so it can power it, because it can’t pull phantom power off of the DSLR. Great, great mike. The only thing about that mike that’s kinda tough sometimes is if you’re putting a wide angle lens on the DSLR. It sometimes will showcase in that shot because it hangs over the lens a little bit.

Reed Smith: Gotcha, okay. And that’s always a good option. You see a lot of vloggers, video bloggers using these types of microphones. They have all kinds of wind socks and screens and things like that, that go on ’em and try to reduce again some of that ambient noise but it’s almost a necessity that just like your phone. While there is a microphone, and it’s okay. But if you’re actually doing it for public consumption, you really need this external mike and that’s a good option.

Bobby Rettew: No, it’s a really good option. I’ve recorded a lot of videos where if it’s a presentation to someone or thanking someone, I’ll set my DSLR up, my Canon 5D Mark III. I’ll put the road mike on top of it and it records a beautiful sound, sounds really great. And it has a professional sound to it. So really plays with that microphone.

Reed Smith: Cool. And where does that leave us? What else do we have?

Bobby Rettew: Well we still use Lavalier mikes and let me tell you why. Many times with Lavalier mikes, they’re really good for outside consumption or shoot and move type of opportunities. First of all, we use a Sennheiser ME2 Lav mike and it does a great job as a wireless mike. It fits on the shoe of the video camera and is also has a compact transmitter that you can put in your pocket or put on your belt loop. And we have found ways to really do a good job of hiding or putting it on the lapel and the reason why we like it is many times we have a lot of show and tell options and it allows a person to move around wirelessly. We have to plan ahead with the person that is gonna be featured to make sure we recommend the type of clothes to wear.

For the ladies, we tell ’em obviously do not wear a dress, please wear pants and a blouse that can support it. For the men, we tell ’em, just a jacket without a tie. So we give ’em … we try to make sure we give ’em options, that this is really good for the shoot and move.

The other thing we use is also the Sony ECM 44B. That is a wired mike. It sounds absolutely beautiful. We do it for in-studio type of work, where it’s really quiet and it has a rich sound and we can prepare the person being interviewed for that mike to wear something that it can support. And I personally, it’s a game changer. I would rather go with that versus the boom mike because it sounds so good, it’s so rich and it really comes across as a professional sound. So I’m a big fan of this microphone.

Reed Smith: So it sounds to me like these are all good options. But you’ve gotta make a decision based on a couple of things. One is, is this a set location or we moving around, right? How many different subjects am I going to be interviewing in the course of this time span? And how comfortable are you and how comfortable are they with having a Lav mike versus a boom mike and some of that kind of stuff. Is timing tight may weigh into it. What are some other considerations that people may have?

Bobby Rettew: I spent a lot of time speaking to nonprofits and healthcare communicators about microphones for video that specifically help them in a quick, portable way. They’re using small cameras. How can they do something that sounds good, but at the same time, they don’t have a lot of stuff and so I really push them to that road mike. It does a great job. You can pop it on top of a camera and it sounds really good, it’s portable. You can shoot really good pictures with an affordable DSLR and also pop that mike on top of it to record really good sound, especially when you’re tying to go out and go to an event or you’re promoting something.

It allows you to record that and sound really good, but at the same time be very portable. And it’s only one piece, right? It’s just something to hook to a camera and that’s it, and plug it in. If you really want to step your game up, and help yourself out with the video team inside your organization. Knowing how to use a Lav mike, especially a wireless Lav mike, to wire someone up and helping that video production crew.

So I would encourage you to understand how these wireless Lav mikes work, just so that you can be an extra person in the room to help when you’re greeting an interview subject.

So those two areas are really good to understand and how to use them inside your organization.

Reed Smith: There you go and I think the simplest determining factor may be literally how many hands do you have. So and that’s gonna weigh into Lav versus boom mike versus a boom mike that’s on a stand versus people holding it, et cetera, et cetera. So again, these are all great options. There’s reasons to use ’em all. Some of it’s personal preference. Some of it’s environmental. I at least encourage you to get out there, check ’em out, start using something and let us know. Let us know what you use, what things you’ve run into, what works well, what you found that doesn’t work well. That sometimes is just as helpful.

So love to hear feedback, love to hear from you. Certainly appreciate the support. Subscribe, rate, review wherever you get your Podcasts. That really helps spread the word and make sure other folks can find this and yeah, so we’ll be back with another episode soon.

Bobby Rettew: Yeah and for all the people that just listen to this, we’ve listed a lot of equipment. We’re gonna put this in the show notes. We’re gonna have links to everything. So you can go check it out and see from a budgetary standpoint, what makes sense in your life.

Reed Smith: There you go. For Bobby Rettew, I’m Reed Smith and we’ll see you next time.

Bobby Rettew: Sounds good, have a good day.

Reed Smith: This show is made possible in part by the Social Health Institute. Through research and partnerships with healthcare organizations around the country, the Social Health Institute explores new and innovative ways for hospitals, healthcare organizations, to develop and enhance their social media and digital marketing strategy.

To learn more about the Social Health Institute, visit them online at socialhealthinstitute.com. That’s socialhealthinstitute.com.

This has been a Touchpoint Media production. To learn more about this show and others like it, please visit us online at touchpoint.health.

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