Bad audio can ruin an otherwise great video. The quality of sound is a crucial aspect of any film project, and it plays an especially important role in outdoor films.
The sounds of nature, the wind, and dialogue all contribute to the overall experience of a film, making it more immersive and engaging for viewers.
However, capturing quality audio in outdoor settings can be challenging due to a number of factors, including wind, background noise, and the movement of subjects.
Lavalier mics and shotgun mics are two of the most commonly used microphones for outdoor filming. Each type of mic has its own strengths and weaknesses, and understanding these can help you choose the right one for your specific situation.
These small, unobtrusive mics are also known as Lapel mics and are typically clipped onto the clothing of the subject of your video, usually very close to the mouth.
They're great for situations where your subject is moving around a lot, such as in documentary or adventure films.
Lavalier mics are ideal for capturing dialogue, particularly in noisy environments.
One of the best things about lavalier microphones is that they're super easy to set up. You just clip them on and go.
However, they can pick up rustling and rubbing noises when they're attached to clothing, so you want to minimize any of these sounds.
Additionally, lavalier mics are not as effective at picking up ambient sounds because they're designed for picking up dialogue directly from a speaker's mouth.
These directional microphones are typically used in filmmaking to capture audio from a specific direction.
They're often mounted on top of a boom pole and above the subject being filmed, but they can also be mounted to the top of your camera in a vlog or documentary-style setting.
Mounting a shotgun mic to your camera is fantastic when you're a single shooter, but if you have multiple people, having a boom operator is always a great idea.
One of the great things about shotgun mics is that they're extremely versatile and can be used to capture everything from dialogue to ambient sounds.
However, the fact that they can capture ambient sounds can also be a downside and make it difficult to record dialogue in a noisy environment.
If you're shooting with a boom operator, a shotgun mic will require more setup and is not as plug-and-play as a lavalier mic.
Another thing to bear in mind is that shotgun mics need to be quite close to your subject, so you need to make sure that you keep them out of frame so they're not distracting to the viewer or the subject being filmed.
You also need to ensure that your audio quality is as crisp and clear as possible.
When shooting outdoors, wind protection is critical, so you can avoid having wind hit the microphone and cause unwanted noise within your film.
Both lavalier and shotgun microphones can be fitted with wind protection, such as a dead cat.
A dead cat is a fluffy, furry cover that goes over the microphone and helps to cut down on wind noise when it's not too windy.
You can also use foam covers to reduce wind noise.
For my B-roll shots, I always record audio directly into the camera using my shotgun mic to capture that sound.
The reason I do this is so I have some audio to work from in post-production when I'm trying to build up a soundscape.
The audio I use for my B-roll sound effects comes from two different sources, either a paid-for sound effects library or a custom sound effects library.
The one I like to use is artlist, but many others are out there.