The best Microphones for filmmaking: The 2020 guide

May 12th, 2020  |  by Eva

Audio is integral to film and poor audio can be catastrophic. That’s why finding the best microphones for filmmaking is essential, one that’s cost-effective, high-quality and versatile.

To find the right microphone for you, you first must think about what you need it for. What genre movie are you filming? What’s your budget? Are you looking to film a documentary? These are just a few questions to consider which will guide your decision as to what type of microphone is best for you.

We’ve broken down the various types of microphones for filmmakers.

Why do I need a separate microphone for filmmaking?

Simply, to improve the quality of your audio. Unfortunately, built-in microphones in your DSLR, phone etc won’t cut it.

The main issue isn’t just the quality, it’s the distance. When shooting a scene, the camera is furthest from the action meaning that it’ll pick up a lot of additional and unnecessary noise. This can be avoided with a separate microphone.

Different types of microphones for film:

Boom microphone (directional):

Boom microphone for filmmaking

This microphone tends to be used as a directional microphone, these pick up the sound closest to the front and are designed to minimize unwanted background noise. They are used primarily for films where the microphone needs to be as close to the subject as possible without entering the frame; they’re also used by news reporters when filming in public, not on set. The booms are extendable which helps users to get it into awkward angles.

Shotgun microphone:

Shotgun microphone for filmmaking

A shotgun microphone is one of the best options for an indie filmmaker. They produce a far better audio quality than a built-in DSLR microphone and are a useful and compactable size.

You can also add a shotgun microphone to a boom pole like the directional microphone. We’d say the best advantage of a shotgun microphone is their endurance and versatility.

Lavalier microphones:

Lavalier Microphone for filmmaking

The lavalier microphone is a small microphone that sits underneath the top of your subjects. They are mainly used for tv interviews but can be great in action scenes, as they stick to the subject and are indiscreet/invisible.

They pick up high-quality audio making them one of the most commonly used microphones. These are most effective for documentaries and interviews.  

Wireless microphones:

Wireless microphones for filmmaking

Wireless microphones, also known as radio microphones, are slightly more expensive, especially if you’re a student or indie filmmaker. They are, however, an essential part to filmmaking as they are versatile and long-lasting. They’re great for use in action scenes as can be well hidden on the body of the subject, and it also picks up high quality and detailed audio.

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