Holiday 2012: HDSLR Shotgun Microphones

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When it comes to image quality, HDSLRs offer videographers some highly desirable aesthetic characteristics. However, issues like automatic gain and loud autofocus motors have given these types of cameras a poor reputation for in-camera audio. To combat this issue, several manufacturers have created shoe-mountable shotgun microphones that connect to the 3.5mm audio input on most HDSLRs.


Sennheiser

The Sennheiser MKE 400 features switchable sensitivity, an integrated shock mount and all-metal construction. It can handle input levels up to 126 dB and will operate for 300 hours powered by a single AAA battery.

Røde

The Røde VideoMic features a supercardioid polar pattern, 100 hours of operation on a 9V battery and an integrated shock mount. The VideoMic also has a switchable high pass filter, attenuating frequencies below 80 Hz.

Røde VideoMic Røde VideoMic Pro

The next step up, the VideoMic Pro features a more compact and lightweight design and adds a 3-way level control. -10dB, 0dB, and +20dB modes allow you to attenuate loud sources or boost quiet ones. The VideoMic Pro operates up to 70 hours on a 9V battery.

The Stereo VideoMic adds the benefit of true stereo X/Y recording. It features a switchable 10dB pad, a high pass filter and an integrated shock mount.

Røde Stereo VideMic Røde Stereo VideoMic Pro

The Stereo VideoMic Pro offers a more compact design with improved stereo fidelity. The enhanced build features a matched pair of 1/2” cardioid condenser capsules mounted in a coincident X/Y pair. A 75 Hz high pass filter minimizes unwanted rumble, while a 3-way level switch allows the signal to be attenuated by 10 dB or boosted by 20 dB. The Stereo VideoMic Pro will operate for more than 100 hours on a single 9V battery.

Coming in 2013, the flagship VideoMic HD Digital Recorder features its own microSD Card recording system. Encoding digital audio in WAV and MP3 file formats with resolution up to 24-bit/96 kHz, the VideoMic HD features an RF-bias true condenser shotgun mic based on the Røde NTG3. The supercardioid polar pattern maximizes off-axis signal rejection for focused sound. The VideoMic HD can be used simply as a shoe-mount microphone, featuring the same 3-way level switch as its predecessors and a new 3-way high pass filter. The low frequencies can be left intact or rolled off below 75- or 150 Hz. Additionally, the VideoMic HD includes a 3.5mm mic/line input and a high-level 3.5mm headphone output. All of this functionality is powered by a single 9V battery.

Que Audio

The folks at Que Audio have assembled three shoe mount microphone kits. The first, DSLR-Video Microphone Kit, includes a SG1 pencil profile mini shotgun microphone with a hypercardioid polar pattern and high SPL handling. Powered by two AG4 batteries, the SG1 will operate for about 100 hours. The kit includes a shock mount, shoe mount, absorber, cable and more. A similar model, the DSLR Video Microphone Kit Lite, features the same microphone, shock mount and cable, but includes fewer overall accessories.

The latest and most comprehensive kit from Que Audio, the DSLR-Video Pro Microphone Kit, includes the Q Mini Shotgun PRO microphone, a QSM-PRO shock mount, a QM1 shoe mount and a host of other accessories. The Q Mini Shotgun PRO features a hypercardioid polar pattern, a 3-way level switch and a wider brass barrel than previous models. It operates up to 400 hours on two AG4 batteries and handles SPLs as high as 130dB. This kit will provide everything you need to capture high quality audio recordings on your HDSLR camera.

In Conclusion

With the variety of options shown here, hopefully you’ve found something that will help you create better audio recordings. Remember that sound is no less than 50% of how an audience evaluates the overall quality of a video, and these tools will add that next level of polish to your projects. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch with a B&H Sales Professional via live chat, over the telephone or in our New York SuperStore.