Shotgun Microphones - What are they? ‘Shotgun mic’ is actually a generic term that has come to classify microphones of several types. The ‘shotgun’ mic used to typically be a true condenser (externally powered) long microphone, but has now come to mean almost any long barreled microphone with a narrow acceptance angle. The use of the "Shotgun mic" is considered when sound from a specific location requires amplification and quality in a recording. These microphones are useful when it is difficult to put a microphone in a specific location or device. Like a camcorder. And since a parabolic microphone would cover a larger area, it's too cumbersome to mount. See the photos below. These could include various types of mic’s termed by their manufacturers as ‘cardioid’, ‘super cardioid’, and ‘lobar/gun’ as well as several other "creative" terms. In a typical field audio kit, the shotgun mic is typically the sound source for around 50 to 70% of what you hear actually ending up in the final mix for films and television. The reason is that, correctly used, a shotgun microphone will pick up the voices of the talent with a comfortable amount of the surrounding ambient sound. Unlike the sterile, closed mic'd sound that is typical with a lavaliere microphone, the shotgun mic usually exhibits a fuller, richer and more pleasing sound quality. However, it is a mistake to think of a shotgun mic as a magical device that can only selectively pick up a specific sound while totally rejecting all sounds to the side or rear of the microphone. The way sound behaves is more complex than can be explained in this review, but suffice it to say, a shotgun mic is the correct tool for many audio tasks but it is not an all-purpose solution to every audio challenge. The shotgun mic is the logical place to begin in building a high quality field audio package. Camcorder Mounted Many owners of sound design/audio post facilities cringe at the phrase, ‘camcorder mounted mic’ but the facts of life are that many DV users do cover live event, documentary type situations, working alone without a sound recordist , and are specifically interested in how well a microphone mounted on their DV camcorder will perform. We tested all three microphones mounted on our Sony TRV-900 DV camcorder with a Beachtek Systems XLR adaptor plate and a Lightwave Systems Universal Mini Mount with a two inch height extension to remove the tip of the mic from the upper portion of the picture. This extension is needed on most of the smaller camcorders but may or may not be necessary on a larger unit like a Canon XL-1 or Sony PD-150. Boom Mounted This is the preferred method of working with a shotgun mic and the method used in 90% of all professional work. The advantage is that the shotgun can be brought much closer to the talent or subject's proximity, thereby resulting in a much better signal to noise ratio, isolating the talent or subject's sound effectively from unwanted ambient sound while still retaining the richness and superior bass response that a shotgun records as compared to most other types of mics. The downside is that you must use a bigger crew, using the shotgun/boompole with at least with a boom operator/mixer or preferably, with a separate mixer and boom operator. It takes a crew of least two and preferably three to really work well with a single camera and a shotgun/boompole. We tested the microphones using a Lightwave Systems Universal Mini-Mount and Zeppelin mounted on a carbon-fiber Gitzo 11 foot boompole on a variety of shooting situations including informal "run and gun" setups, two camera sit down interviews and Steadicam "walk and talks". The mics were recorded through a PSC M4MkII four channel field mixer into several camcorders including a Sony TRV-900 using a Beachtek Systems XLR adaptor plate, a Sony DSR-500WS camcorder and a Canon XL-1 camcorder, as well as an HHB MDP-500 Professional Mini Disc recorder. You’ll Love What You’ve Been Missing In the Shadows Paranormal Project has had great success with these recording devices and believe we’ve caught sound that we would have otherwise missed. As this is not something many paranormal teams think about, it’s something they should...And not only with camcorders and cameras, but with digital and analog audio recordings. Reel-to-reel would knock your socks off...as you’ll hear everything that goes bump in the night, even that moth flying too close to your head will sound like the Mothman himself. You’ll want to use one for every investigation, and never again will you use the camcorder without one. Especially when you begin hearing EVPs over your video! All About Microphones They Amplify What You Can’t Hear For Yourself! Ghost Hunting 101 The content of this website is the copyright of World Nexus Publications © 2008-2011