Audio For Film 101: 5 Other Uses For Your VideoMic
Most filmmakers are restricted by budget when they start out. In many ways, this is a positive thing: it forces you to be creative with the gear you can afford to get the most out of it. An important lesson emerges from this: how you use your gear is more important than what gear you have.
Microphones are versatile things. While all have their intended uses and are designed to perform particularly well in certain scenarios, they all do the same thing in the end: capture sound. The RØDE VideoMic range is particularly adaptable to different sound recording scenarios. If you’re just starting out and can’t afford a diverse selection of mics for all your audio capture needs, don’t worry; there is a lot you can do with one VideoMic. Here are 5 things that you may not have thought of.
Using a VideoMic as a Handheld Mic
If you often find yourself in situations where you need a handheld mic for quick on-camera presentation but can’t afford a wireless setup like the RØDELink Newsshooter Kit or don’t want to waste time rigging up an XLR mic to a recorder, your VideoMic is a really solid solution.
You’ll need a camera mount like a Joby GorillaPod (if you don’t already have one, they are extremely useful for all kinds of run and gun filmmaking), or something else that you can mount your mic onto. Simply slot your mic into your mount’s cold shoe, angle the front of the mic towards your face, and hit record.
You’ll need also need an extension cable such as the SC8 or VC1 to connect your mic to your camera at such a distance. Or if you don’t want a wire running back to your camera, plug your mic into a recorder in your pocket (your iPhone will do – you’ll just need a SC4 adaptor) and sync the audio in post.
Using a VideoMic as a Desktop Mic
If you’re a vlogger, gamer or podcaster in need of a quality desktop mic, your VideoMic is a great budget solution. Again, you’ll just need a mount or small tripod to slot your mic onto, as well as the correct cabling and adapters depending on how you are recording your audio. For example, if you are a podcaster using a USB audio interface like the RØDE AI-1, you will need a VXLR (VXLR+ depending on your mic) to plug your mic into the XLR input.
You could also connect the mic direct to your computer using a SC4 adapter. Keep in mind that some VideoMics will not work with some computers as all computer manufacturers have different specs and types of inputs.
In order to find out if your VideoMic will work with your computer, you’ll first need to identify what kind of input your computer uses. Some computers will have separate headphone and mic inputs. These are usually TRS so you won’t actually need to use any adapters to connect your VideoMic. If your computer uses a combined headphone/mic input (or headset input), you’ll need to use the SC4 adapter. This will convert the TRS output from your VideoMic to a TRRS type connector; appropriate for this kind of input.
Some models of MacBook Pro will only recognise an external mic if it is not self-powered – i.e. the VideoMic GO and VideoMicro – as these have components that your Mac will detect, identifying it as a compatible microphone. Battery powered mics do not have this component, and may, therefore, be invisible to your computer. These same issues can appear in some models of PC depending on the motherboard and onboard soundcard that is used.
Using a VideoMic For Voiceover
Our VideoMics are excellent for voiceover work for a number of reasons. They all feature a tight pickup pattern, giving them great directionality – perfect for a focused recording that rejects room sound; they all feature high-quality shock mounting to minimise any knocks or bumps; they all come with a pop filter for reducing harsh plosives (‘s’, ‘p’, ‘t’ sounds); and some come with handy EQ and gain switches for on-the-fly tone and volume tweaking.
The key here is finding somewhere quiet to record. We’re not talking about a recording studio, just find somewhere in your house that is acoustically ‘dead’ to ensure there is minimal reverberation in your recording. Your carpeted bedroom could be just right, but if your room has a lot of reflective surfaces and sounds too 'live', try recording inside your closet, or somewhere else that is tight and cosy.
Using the handheld mic technique above is another handy hack if you’re using your VideoMic for voiceover work. Also, remember to get nice and close to your mic to get that rich professional voiceover sound.
Using a VideoMic to Record Foley
As with voiceover recording, the VideoMics are great for tracking Foley due to their directionality, shock-resistant mounting, and rugged construction. Also being very light and compact, they allow you to get close to your subject easily and this is really beneficial when recording Foley, where you often find yourself in awkward positions. Directional mics are particularly good for recording distinct sounds like footsteps, chewing and drinking, or a creaking chair.
Using a VideoMic as a Boom Mic
There is absolutely no reason you can’t use your VideoMic on a boompole for recording interviews, dialogue on a shoot, or anything else you might need to record without a mic in the shot. You will need a 3/8” pivot adaptor to connect your VideoMic to a RØDE boompole, as well as an extension cable to connect your mic to your camera, such as the SC8 or VC1.
For even greater flexibility, you could use a wireless mic system to connect your mic to your camera. The Wireless GO is a great solution here (and is perfect for a filmmaker on a budget). Simply clip the transmitter to the boompole close to the mic, plug the mic into the transmitter and link the transmitter to the receiver on your camera – compact wireless boompole recording!
These are just a couple of ways you could use your VideoMic to record audio for your videos. Don’t be afraid to experiment and think outside what on-camera mics are traditionally used for. Find out more about our VideoMic range here.