Improving Your GoPro Camera's Audio
GoPro cameras have been a true revelation in the filmmaking industry. They almost single-handedly created the 'action cam' market, whilst inspiring a generation of dare-devils and adrenaline junkies to share their exploits the world over (not to mention drivers hoping to capture footage on their dash-cam, or even major motion picture producers using the footage in their films).
Being able to shoot in 1080p and now ultra-HD 4K resolution in such a small form-factor is a true game changer, but what about the audio quality? If you listen to the majority of GoPro videos, you'll notice the sound is either quite distorted, full of harsh wind noise or simply turned off altogether. This is due to the inferior built-in microphone onboard the camera itself.
Luckily, there is a solution! RØDE Microphones have a range of compact, broadcast-quality condenser mics that are perfectly suited to connect to these cameras. This gives you a vast improvement in your audio and takes action-packed videos to the next level.
Let's take a look at what you will need to combine your RØDE mic with your GoPro camera.
Before you get started...
The most recent GoPro models (Hero 3, 3+ and 4) do not have a 3.5-millimetre audio input to plug your sound recording equipment straight in, so you will need the USB to 3.5 mm adaptor, sold as an optional extra by the manufacturer. Click HERE to grab one before your next adventure.
Additionally, to keep things compact and mount a mic directly onto the camera, check out the KamPro GoPro Cage. It's a compact housing much like the official GoPro models, but with multiple threads and cold-shoe mounts to allow quick and compact mounting of your RØDE on-camera mic!
The most compatible microphones
The latest and most compact offering from RØDE, the VideoMicro, is a perfect companion for your GoPro camera. Measuring only 80 mm (3 inches) long and weighing in at a mere 42 grams (1.5 ounces), the VideoMicro is a tiny, on-camera directional condenser mic that will give you crystal-clear audio for any application. It requires no batteries, has no switches to fiddle around with in extreme filming locations and comes with an in-built Rycote Lyre shock mount to keep your audio smooth on bumpy terrain. Best of all, it also comes with a furry windshield to cut down on disruptive wind noise when you hit terminal velocity.
If you want to capture your extreme sports antics in true-to-life stereo sound, check out the RØDE Stereo VideoMic Pro. This is another recording device designed to help keep your setup small, light and portable, while containing two mic capsules in an X/Y format to capture stunning stereo audio. The Pro model offers you additional features such as a three-step level switch and high pass filter (bass roll off), giving you more control over your audio so you're ready for any scenario. This device requires a 9-volt battery, so make sure you pack a few along with your RØDE Deadkitten windshield.
When you need a more discreet solution, however, or to simply record your own dialogue and narration during the action, RØDE's smartLav+ is a Lavalier mic you can plug directly into the camera. The smartLav+ comes supplied with a 1.5-metre-long cable, a strong mic clip to attach it to clothing and a foam windshield to help cut down any wind noise. For extremely windy conditions, it would be best to use the RØDE Minifur-Lav on top of the supplied foam shield, to prevent unwanted distortion on your audio track.
As this lav mic is normally designed for personal recording into smartphones, you will also need the SC3 adaptor to convert its phone jack into the standard 3.5 mm TRS plug that your GoPro has. Be sure to hide the cables as well, or tape them to your body before you begin your extreme sports! You don't want loose cables flapping around distracting you from sticking your landing, after all.