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Did you know that by the year 2017, 74% of all Internet traffic was video? And, retention rates for visual information can reach 65% vs. 10% for text-based information.(1) With statistics like these, perfecting your video production skills is a must to increase your studio’s services offerings. In addition to marketing your own clients, videos are an excellent tool to showcase your personality and work as well.

If you’ve ever watched an Oscar broadcast and heard the nominations for best sound, you realized how crucial great sound is to any movie or video. This is especially the case when you need to capture a person’s voice. Using your camera’s built-in mic will provide a hollow sounding result at best. Another alternative is a shotgun mic. Shotgun mics are long, cylindrical microphones that are excellent at picking up sounds in front of it, while reducing sounds to the sides and rear. They’re specifically designed to have a narrower pick up field. The downside? You’ll have to hire an assistant to hold the mic or spend the time rigging up the mic.

Shotgun mics and are just one of many choices you have for capturing voice for your video production. One of the easiest solutions is to use a lavalier microphone, also called a “lav” or lapel mic. 

lavalier microphone

Lavalier Microphone

Size Matters! 

Not only is it small (about the size of a paperclip), this mic easily attaches to your subject with a clip and can be discretely placed on a collar or lapel. This will help make your subject more comfortable as well. They won’t be distracted by a microphone slightly off camera.

Great Sound Quality

Your “lav” will produce clear and even sound and avoids picking up any background noise.

Solo Shoots

The best part is it’s all hands-free operation so you’ll be able to shoot on your own and avoid the cost of hiring extra help. You’ll have a pocket-sized video studio that will allow you to create professional sounding videos anywhere.

You will need to get to know and practice the mic properly for the best sound quality. There are two types of lavaliers: wired and wireless.

Wired Lavalier Mic

This is the most affordable type and the easiest type to use of the two. After you attach the mic to your subject, you just need to run a thin cable to your camera and plug the cable into the mic jack. Savage Universal offers an omni-directional, clip-on microphone that works with smart phones, DSLRs, camcorders, audio recorders, PCs and other devices. It includes a lapel clip, LR44 battery, windscreen and a 1/4” adapter.

lavalier microphone

Getting the Best Sound

Place the mic in the area between your subject’s chest and throat. Too high a placement will give you unclear sound and placing it too low will require you to turn up the levels on your recorder which will lead to room noise being picked up as well. 

Tip: Try starting with a placement of 8” from your subject’s chin and adjust as necessary.

Level Check!

Levels should land between -12 to -6 decibels.  Check the audio level by having the subject speak normally while you’re using headphones.
 Next, check the volume level, and make sure that you hear no unwanted sound, such as breathing or the rustle of clothing.

Wireless Lavalier Mic 

Wireless lavaliers work by transmitting a signal to a receiver attached to your camera. Although you’ll have more freedom without wires, there are downsides to this version:

Inferior Sound 

The radio transmitter can pick up interference from other nearby signals.

Battery Power 

You’ll have to remember to always have some extra charged batteries on hand as the transmitter eats up battery power fast.

stereo microphone

For more in-depth tips for shooting videos, Lynda.com offers tutorials available online.

Cheryl Woods

Cheryl Woods is an accomplished photographer, designer and branding consultant with a career spanning 20+ years. Her photographic work includes editorial, fashion, portraiture and product photography for major companies in the consumer products field including QVC and Hanover Direct. She received a B.F.A. in Photography from the University of the Arts and an M.F.A. in Media Design from Full Sail University. Cheryl's work has been exhibited at the Lowes Museum of Art in Coral Gables, FL, The New York Independent Film Festival and the Rosenwald Wolf Gallery in Philadelphia, PA. Check out her website here!


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