Why do I need good audio?

A famous saying in the film industry is, “the best audio goes unnoticed”,  and this couldn’t be more true. When you start noticing the audio in a video, it tends to be because of a negative characteristic; voices are too low or it sounds like they’re in an empty church. The list could go on and on. The best audio comes when the audience doesn’t notice it, and they contently listen to whatever it is they’re watching.

If you want people to actually watch your video, they need to be able to understand what you’re saying or they won’t even try.

Microphones and which you should use

Incase you missed our ‘3 Tips For Recording Your Own Professional Looking Videos’‘ guide, here’s a recap on the different types of microphones.

Lavalier Microphones

A lavalier microphone or lavalier (also known as a lav, lapel  mic, clip mic, body mic, collar mic, neck mic or personal mic) is a small microphone used for television, theatre, and public speaking applications in order to allow for hands-free operation.

These microphones can be used for our personal videos ALWAYS. Sometimes in a more formal corporate production/commercial or in film and TV we’ll of course hide this type of microphone, but for us who cares if we see it? These microphones are excellent and now even come with smart phone compatibility!

Shotgun Microphone

A shotgun microphone is a highly directional microphone that must be pointed directly at its target sound source for proper recording.

These microphones are a little bit more on the pricy side, they also typically require an XLR hookup. However, if we learn how to utilize these, they provide a beautiful bass-filled natural sound for our videos.

Snowball Microphone

There’s a company called Blue Designs which created the famous snowball microphone. This style of mic is traditionally awesome looking, and the quality of the audio is spectacular. With this setup, we’ll see the microphone in our frame but it’s pretty darn cool, so depending on what video content you’re producing, it’s huge in the vlogging/podcast world.

These are very similar to shotgun mics, as they will produce a very nice, bass-filled sound and need to be spoken directly to for the best results.

Great sound is easily achievable with a little bit of know-how

We should always be attempting to avoid using our in-camera and or phone built in microphone. We want our videos to be attractive, but that doesn’t just mean the image quality. What does it matter if you have a 4k image if the person viewing your video can’t stand the sound of your voice?

Having clean audio is CRUCIAL to any video, and I have great news. There are ways to get crystal clean, perfectly usable audio from your mobile phone with the help of a few lav mics that are designed specifically with the small or ‘DIY’ content creator in mind. You can now have professional sounding audio for your content’s consumer without breaking the bank.

Top 5 Budget Microphones

1) Rode Smartlav+

This is the lav that we would recommend over almost any others for your phone. Rode is a well known and highly respected microphone company in the industry. They realized that people need to be able to pull the best audio out of their phones because not everyone has a camera with fancy mics. This mic is $55 and well propel your content to the next level. It has a 3.5mm headphone jack, but for $78 you can upgrade to the Rode SC6-L which is lightning compatible and allows you to plug an ADDITIONAL Smartlav+ in for 2 person setups and interviews.

2) Powerdewise Lav Mic

This is a much better price for a mic that is still well built and provides a professional sounding end result. For only $22, anyone can afford this guy. It does, however, feature a 3.5mm headphone jack. So keep that in mind if you’re using an iPhone or device without one.

3) YouMic Lav Mic

The YouMic is going to be the most affordable mic on the list. Coming in at only $12 on amazon, this could be purchased with spare change found in your couch cushions. Again, this is going to have a 3.5mm jack so that may be an issue for some devices.

This may not be quite as good as the quality of the Rode, but your average content consumer probably won’t notice the difference. Anything is better than a built-in mic on your phone.

4) Tascam DR10L

Tascam is probably one of the most popular audio companies in the industry. These products can be trusted and always have amazing sounding audio. Opposed to the YouMic, this is the most expensive mic on the list. Placed at $199, this won’t be for everyone. This also does not plug directly into your phone, instead, it captures all of the audio as separate audio tracks which need to be synced with the video later in post.

Some pros to this are you’re guaranteed to have amazing sounding audio. You always have a bit more data to manipulate, making it easier to clean up the audio. The con is, as stated above, it needs to be synced with editing software.

5) Rode VideoMicro Shotgun Mic

We’re going to switch it up for this last option. If you’re someone who has a camera but aren’t sure how to utilize the preamps inside the body, this mic is perfect. The VideoMicro is a shotgun mic that mounts directly to the top of your camera. Remember, when using a shotgun mic, whatever audio you’re trying to capture needs to be directed towards the mic or you will lose quality. For a price of $59, you cant beat it.

This would be ideal for someone speaking directly to camera or a ‘vlog’ type of setup, where you’re moving around with the camera and potentially pointing it at different subjects.

Our Takeaways

Audio quality is EVERYTHING when it comes to video. Without quality sounding audio, no one will watch it. It’s really that simple. If you’re serious about making online content and want people to take that content seriously, make sure they know you care. With any of the options listed above, you can take a mediocre video and make it professional with one small, inexpensive change.