Hands-on Review of the Rode Stereo VideoMic Pro

When someone is speaking in front of your camera, you need specific microphones to clearly capture their voice. But what if you’re not trying to record the sound of someone’s voice? What if you’re shooting a serene nature scene with no dialog? How about footage of a busy city street? How do you sonically transport your audience into these settings? Do you use the same microphones that you would use capture dialog? Continue reading Hands-on Review of the Rode Stereo VideoMic Pro

The Great On-Camera Mic Shootout 2011

GH2 with Ambient TinyMicJust in in time for 2012… The Great On-Camera Microphone Shootout 2011 is here! I just tested out seven different on-camera microphones, many of which are new models that came out in 2011. The video I made will give you an idea of what these mics sound like, but I urge you to read this entire article. I explain the fine details of each mic, highlighting their pros and cons. Continue reading The Great On-Camera Mic Shootout 2011

Review of the New Sennheiser MKH 8060 Shotgun

In preparation for the upcoming Great On-Camera Microphone Shootout 2011, I had the chance to give the new Sennheiser MKH 8060 shotgun microphone a good, solid test. You can read this entire blog post and watch my review video, but I’ll go ahead and spoil it for you right now… This is one great sounding microphone!

One thing I’ve noticed is that the compact size of the MKH 8060 doesn’t really come through in pictures and on video. Even though it appears to be a somewhat average-sized shotgun microphone on screen, don’t believe what you see. This microphone is much shorter than the average shotgun. Check out my review video to hear how nice it sounds:

The mic was plugged into my Sound Devices 302 field mixer, where it was supplied with 48 volts of phantom power, and then plugged into my Panasonic GH2 camera. What’s remarkable about the sound in this video is Continue reading Review of the New Sennheiser MKH 8060 Shotgun

Wireless Mic Shootout: Sennheiser G3 vs. Lectrosonics

Sennheiser G3 and Letrosonics SM transmittersIf you’ve ever looked into buying a wireless microphone for a video camera or an HDSLR, you probably figured out pretty quickly that the best entry-level system is the $600 Sennheiser G3, while the professionals use higher end Lectrosonics systems. Most people are kind of bummed that there isn’t decent entry-level system for under $600, and the next step up in quality above that is over $2000 more.

Basically, if you’re looking for a battery-powered wireless lav system and you’re on a budget, picking out a model is a drop dead easy decision. Without question the Sennheiser G3 is the best choice. The bad news is that you have to cough up $600. If you’re curious how the the Sennheiser performs quality-wise against the Lectrosonics, I made this little mic shootout to give you an idea:

I’d just like to state again (like I did in the video) that comparing these two wireless systems is a bit silly. Lectrosonics are more expensive for a reason. They’re built without compromises for professional situations where there’s no room for error. However, with that in mind, it’s still impressive to hear how well the Sennheiser G3 performs in this shootout. Continue reading Wireless Mic Shootout: Sennheiser G3 vs. Lectrosonics

RØDE VideoMic Pro vs. Sennheiser MKE 400 – Indoors & Out!

Canon DSLR with Rode and Sennheiser on-camera micsIf you’ve been reading my blog for any stretch of time, you already know that mini-shotgun microphones like the RØDE VideoMic Pro and the Sennheiser MKE 400 are something I’m very interested in. Why am I obsessed with these little mics, even though I own professional shotguns and field mixers? I just love the idea of having the ultimate miniature ENG kit with me every where I go. I’ve got my compact HDSLR camera, now I just need the perfect little mic to go with it. It’s awesome to be able to produce cinéma vérité style documentary work at a moments notice. This is 100% possible, and having the ideal little shotgun is a big part of what makes it happen.

I’d been dying to get my hands on the RØDE VideoMic Pro ever since it was announced in January 2011. From the very first time I saw its size and shape, I could only think one thing: I must hear this thing in a shoot out against the Sennheiser MKE 400. I placed an order for one really early on, and I’ve been using it for several months now. I decided not to write a hands-on review until I received the free DeadCat VMP fluffy windscreen in the mail. As soon as the hairy sock arrived, I pitted it in an old fashioned microphone shoot out against the MKE 400 (and the Sennheiser MZW400 windscreen and the Rycote Mini Windjammer). Here’s how it played out:

Which microphone did I like best? Honestly, I’m not 100% sure. But I will be blunt and tell you this: Continue reading RØDE VideoMic Pro vs. Sennheiser MKE 400 – Indoors & Out!

The RØDE NTG-3 Torture Test!

Rode NTG-3 and Zoom H4n in a freezerMost professional production equipment claims to be designed to withstand harsh environments, but how often does this gear actually get put to the test? I recently had the chance to torture a Rode NTG-3 shotgun microphone. I subjected it to a nightmare scenario that would make even the strongest microphone capsules shriek in fear!

When you attach a meat thermometer to a shotgun microphone, you know things are going to get ugly. First I waved the NTG-3 above a running humidifier for several minutes. The temperature of the mic rose to the mid eighties (29.4° C), and it was completely covered in condensation. I immediately transferred it to a freezer where the temperature was below zero. Here’s a video that will give you an idea of what went down:

Did the NTG-3 survive the abuse? Well, as you can see in the video, it did pretty well. But there was a little more to this test. I made a recording on the Zoom H4n inside the freezer, so I could hear how the mic performed as it transitioned from hot & wet to cold & frozen. Continue reading The RØDE NTG-3 Torture Test!

The Great On-Camera Mic Shootout 2010

I tested out seven different microphones on a Nikon D300s shooting 720p 24p HD video. I pitted consumer microphones with mini-plug connectors against professional location microphones going through a juicedLink DT454 adapter. These are the microphones involved in the test:

Continue reading The Great On-Camera Mic Shootout 2010

Setting Up an Audio Technica Pro-24CM with a Windtech MM1 on an HD DSLR

The Great On-Camera Mic Shootout 2010 post is almost here! In the meantime, here’s a video about setting up the Audio Technica Pro-24Cm stereo microphone on an HD DSLR, using the WindTech MM1 softie:

I wrote about using the Pro-24Cm with the Windtech MM1 extensively in my blog post at B&H Insights entitled Why and When to Use a Stereo Microphone on a Camera. Some people who read that article and went out and bought the Pro-24CM and the Windtech MM1 complained that the windscreen didn’t fit on the microphone very well. So I made this video to show you how easy it is to use these two products together.

Keep an eye out for The Great On-Camera Mic Shootout 2010 post! It should be going online any day now. You’re going to get to hear the Pro24-Cm in action along side several other consumer and professional microphones. Check back often, or better yet, subscribe to my RSS feed.

Setting Up a Rode Stereo VideoMic on an HD DSLR

The following video is the first in a series of videos leading up to The Great On-Camera Mic Shootout 2010. What the heck is that, you ask? Well, I wanted to test out all of the most popular on-camera microphones that are used with DSLR cameras, so I could hear them and decide which one I liked best. I wanted to hear how good they sounded compared to a DSLR with a juicedLink adapter and a professional mic. Welp, that’s exactly what I did! I documented the whole thing so I could share my findings with you.

In this first video, I open up a new Rode Stereo VideoMic. I explain all of the switches on the mic itself, and explain when you should use the Rode Stereo VideoMic — and when it would be better to use the shotgun-style Rode VideoMic. Check it out:

If you have any questions about this mic, I encourage you to post it in the comments section below.

Stay tuned for more posts like this, and then the big momma of them all…. THE GREAT ON-CAMERA MIC SHOOTOUT 2010! It. Will. Blow. Your. Mind.

My Ribbon Microphone Shoot Out

I recently had the opportunity to test out four different ribbon microphones. It was pretty fun because I’ve been recording for a long time, but I never had a chance to properly use this kind of mic. Continue reading My Ribbon Microphone Shoot Out