Whether you’re shooting a commercial, a small-budget film, or a homemade video, the way you capture sound will definitely make all the difference.
When choosing the ideal microphone there are several considerations you need to factor in before purchasing one, ranging from the placement of your mic to the device itself. So, what kind of microphone will perform better?
Many low-budget commercials, and even films, have the capacity of eliciting the following question: “How did this even make the cut?”. The production may have been average, the dialogue silly, but the sound… The sound is the reason why this commercial was aired in the first place.
Surprisingly, many ads and commercials see the light simply because they sound right. In fact, sound in commercials can be highly deceptive and is geared towards drawing people’s attention. Having the best microphone possible is definitely a pivotal element for achieving the ideal and right sound.
Common techniques used in the production of ads, such as audio editing, ADR, voiceover, traditionally occur in post-production and can be highly time-consuming and expensive. And since sound plays a key role in audience perception, it’s highly important to capture the audio in the right way. This means that, depending on the nature of your commercial, you need the right microphone for the job.
Here is a selection of our picks for the best microphones for ads and video production in general.
Best microphones for commercials and video production
- Best lavalier microphone
- Best handheld microphone
- Best shotgun microphone
Best lavalier microphone
Sennheiser Evolution Wireless 100-p G4
- Build quality
- Broadcast quality sound
The Sennheiser Evolution Wireless 100-p G4 series is an all-in-one wireless system with an incredible capacity for broadcast quality sound. The microphone has a transmission range of up to 330 feet and 8 hours of operation time.
Being this microphone an update to the traditional industry-standard evolution wireless mic system series, the brand claims that the user interface of the G4 100-p series will allow producers to set everything up much faster and achieve better control thanks to its 12 compatible frequencies.
Additionally, the 100-p series output power goes up to 30 mW, and the lighter aluminum housing allows for easier use. Included in this 100-p series version comes a 135-p 4th-gen portable handheld set and 2 portable lavalier sets, a 122-p 4th-gen cardioid.
Best handheld microphone
- Great sound quality
- Solid construction
- Built-in pop filter
- Geared and optimized for vocal recording
The new SM58 wired handheld mic has been known as one of the most affordable, easy-to-use, professional dynamic microphones in the market. The SM58 is a cardioid mic with a frequency response of 50Hz to 15kHz tailored to deliver clear and warm audio reproduction.
Even amidst harsh conditions, the Shure SM58 is designed to target the main sound source while almost completely minimizing background noise. It has a built-in spherical filter to minimize outside noises such as handling noise.
Best shotgun microphone
- Suitable for all kinds of environments
- Industry-standard sound quality
Although this microphone is not particularly cheap, the Sennheiser MKH-416 short shotgun interference tube microphone is an industry-standard divide that is even used by Hollywood blockbusters and professional productions alike. This mic responds to frequencies between 40 and 20,000 Hz and has a hyper-cardioid pickup pattern that narrows down into a lobar pattern slightly above 2 kHz.
This shotgun is extremely useful if you want to capture incredibly tight and focused sound sources, no matter where you’re recording or shooting. If you’re shooting your ad or commercial outdoors, you most certainly will come across adverse environmental conditions such as humidity and condensations, which often cause most mics to fail. This mic comes with a condenser design which makes it immune to moisture, allowing you to capture high-quality sounds no matter the conditions.
Many microphones require plenty of additional accessories such as a windscreen, a pop filter, zeppelin, shock mount, and even a boom pole. Depending on what type of commercial you’re shooting, you should also mind what other devices you’ll need for your project. The last situation you want to find yourself in is facing last-minute shipping the night before.
Once you’re certain which mic is the right one for your project, make sure to study the basics of microphone placement, as it will also make a huge difference even above the type of device you’re using. It is pointless to have the best mic in the market if you’re not placing it properly to get the most out of it.
Learning mic placement techniques will not only help you capture the right sound but will enhance the overall quality of your project. Besides, this knowledge will help you in future projects as you will spend less time trying to decipher what to do with the devices you’ll use.