Filmmaking is an intricate art form that requires a high-quality camera, patience, and a lot of skill. That being said, even the best film producers can’t edit their work to a professional standard if the audio isn’t up to par. That is why it is imperative that you determine the best microphone for film production before thinking about anything else.
A shotgun mic is sometimes called a line mic because of the long and thin shape of it. You may have seen them on film sets, usually attached to a long boom pole hovering over the actors. Shotgun mics are great for picking up targeted audio, so background noise is kept to a minimum.
No matter where you’re planning to showcase your film, whether it be at festivals, or online on platforms such as YouTube, you’re going to want to find the perfect mic to go with your camera. Over 400 hours of content is uploaded to YouTube every minute, so you need something to make you stand out from the crowd.
Shotgun mics can be easily hidden out of shot and can be used in all sorts of locations, which makes it no surprise that they are the most commonly used mics in the film industry. Below we’ll be discussing the top five shotgun mics for film on the market right now.
IN A HURRY?
After all of our research, we’ve found that the VideoMicPro shotgun mic from Rode is our favorite on the market, and we think it’ll soon be yours as well. For starters, Rode is a trusted manufacturer and has a lot of experience in the audio equipment industry, so it’s a given that their products are innovative and highly developed.
It’s also very easy to either use this shotgun mic on top of a camera or on a boom pole, thanks to the included mount. Finally, it records audio at an amazing standard. You can find a more in-depth review below.
Top 5 Shotgun Mic for Film
OUR TOP PICK
Rode is a very well-known and highly regarded brand when it comes to audio equipment, so it’s no surprise that its name has come up on our list! The VideoMicPro shotgun mic comes ready to be attached to your camera, camcorder, or portable audio recorder.
The audio is so crisp and clear that every one of your recordings will be considered professional. This mic will amp your film up to the next level thanks to the incredibly low self-noise, shock-absorbing mount, and its ability to ignore the background noise.
There are a number of settings on the side of this shotgun mic to allow you to tweak the end result as you’re still recording. Not only does the mount fit onto a number of cameras, but there is also a thread that can be used to attach a boom pole in case you wanted to record further away shots.
It comes from a high-quality manufacturer.
Your audio quality will be of a consistently professional standard.
You can either attach the mic on top of a camera or onto a boom pole.
The mic cable is rather thin and therefore may be a little flimsy.
One customer claimed the self-noise was higher than they’d expected.
Audio-Technica has designed and developed its AT875R shotgun microphone specifically to use for video and broadcast production. This mic is very focused and is able to remove a lot of the background noise from the sides and back of the long design.
The AT875R mic measures in at less than seven inches, making it ideal to be mounted on smaller cameras. However, this doesn’t affect the functionality of the model, you can still achieve a high-quality audio clip from far away from the source.
The overall sound is natural and impressive, and the microphone itself is durable and reliable. It only weighs 80 grams so you won’t be weighed down at all. You’ll also receive a windscreen, a stand adapter, and a carry bag.
High-quality compact microphone.
You’ll receive some accessories to prevent you from having to purchase any items separately.
This mic focuses on a narrow field of audio very well.
The adapter may not work with every camera.
The image may be a little deceiving as you do not get a stand with the mic.
Another Rode shotgun mic to feature on our list, the NTG2 is a lightweight model that can be used for a number of different purposes including film, television, and broadcasting. Not only will you receive the mic itself, but you’ll also get a carry case, a windshield, and a clip to attach it to a boom pole.
You can also use the NTG2 mic on top of a camera, provided you had a shoe mount or the means to purchase one. The sound quality is very good and the mic is sensitive enough to pick up even the slightest of audio.
Rode offers a 10-year warranty for this mic so you know your money is protected in case of faults. The battery life is impressive so you don’t have to repeatedly change the batteries during a filming session.
A lightweight shotgun microphone.
You receive a few accessories to use with the mic.
High sensitivity which is great for film purposes.
There have been reports of counterfeit items being sold under the same name, and the warranty doesn’t cover these items.
The USB port is covered which makes it difficult to plug the wire in.
Next up is a shotgun mic from Shure that sits perfectly on top of your camera. The mounting system absorbs shock well and prevents you from hearing any vibrations that may be caused by recording while on the move.
It is highly directional and only picks up the intended audio while dismissing the background and side noise. You can use this mic for up to ten hours before you’ll need to recharge or replace the batteries, meaning that you can achieve all-day shoots without having to stop.
You can choose whether or not you want your mic to come with an integrated flash or not. You’ll also receive a windshield and the connector cable so that you don’t have to worry about any additional purchases.
High-quality mount that diminishes any noise from movement.
Long-lasting battery life.
You have the option to get it with an integrated flash, which may help you in filming.
The battery door is not of the highest quality.
Wider sound pick-up radius than other options.
The Pro Audio MKE600 mic system from Sennheiser is s shotgun mic that rejects an impressive amount of side noise from the recording and only focuses on what’s in front of it. The mount that comes with this mic absorbs a lot of shock meaning you can get clear audio even when you’re moving around.
There is a switchable filter added to this mic, which allows you to reduce noise pollution from the environment and handling. This will allow the microphone to focus on what you want it to record, rather than all the distractions. You also receive a windshield to further prevent background noise.
You’ll notice that the sound quality is excellent, no matter where you’re filming. Outdoor shoots are now as easy as filming indoors with this shotgun mic. What’s more is that it’s battery-powered so you can use the charge more intelligently.
It comes with a shock-absorbing mount and windshield.
Focuses mainly on what’s in front of the mic so you don’t have any background noise.
Delivers the same high-quality sound whether you’re indoors or outdoors.
It can be tricky to change the batteries of this mic.
One customer claims that this mic picked up the sound of the heartbeat of who they were filming.
Best Shotgun Mic for Film - Buying Guide
Below we’ll be looking at some of the most important factors to consider before settling on the best shotgun mic for you. Shotgun mics for film can be rather expensive, so you don’t want to simply choose the first one that you see. Depending on what you plan on filming, different mics will suit you better, so again don’t choose the highest-rated model without doing your research first.
Cluing yourself into the factors listed below will help you make more of an informed decision to ensure that you get the best shotgun mic for your film.
This is a factor that won’t concern you much if you’re planning on using your shotgun mic on a boom pole, but if you’re planning on attaching your mic straight onto your camera, you’ll need to make sure that it works with what you’re filming on.
Of course, choosing the best camera and the best shotgun mic is quickly rendered useless when you find out that they don’t work together. This is especially true if you’re going to be shooting on a DSLR camera.
Make sure to check the compatibility of the shotgun mic that you’ve got your eye on. This will save you time, money, and you won’t be disappointed when it comes to a filming day.
The sensitivity you need from your mic depends on the level of audio that you’ll be recording. As a rule of thumb, shotgun mics generally have good sensitivity which is one of the reasons why they’re so popular for film. A shotgun mic will be able to pick up much more quiet details than a conventional mics are capable of.
This allows your mic to capture more depth in the audio, which may take your project to the next level. The sensitivity of shotgun mics is so high to allow you to hold the microphone a reasonable distance away from the actors. This is beneficial for filmmakers who want to pan out without seeing a boom mic hovering over the set.
While most shotgun mics have good sensitivity, there are some models that fall flat in this aspect. If you want to be able to hear quieter sounds in your film, or want your actors to be able to whisper without having the audio distorted, make sure that you check the sensitivity of the mic you’re looking at.
Self-noise is the term for the noise that the microphone makes while it’s working. The shotgun mic is a piece of technology in itself, so obviously some lower-quality models will produce a noticeable noise.
Due to the high sensitivity of shotgun mics, it can be a curse in this case, as the mic will pick up its own noise while you’re filming. If you’re filming a particularly quiet scene, you may find that you can hear a hissing sound during the rewatch.
This can ruin your whole audio for your film, so we think it’s an important feature to be aware of. Read the customer reviews to ensure that no one else has had a problem with the self-noise of their microphone. If they have, we’d suggest steering clear of that model.
The directionality of your mic refers to how well you can direct it to how you want it to perform. Much like directing your actors and fellow filmmakers, the ability to direct your mic is a very beneficial feature of shotgun mics.
Again, shotgun mics have very high directionality so you can achieve the exact result that you want. This means that the shotgun mic focuses on one small space, rather than a large area. This will reduce the background noise pollution of your shot and enable it to focus on what is happening in the scene.
When shooting a film, the microphone needs to be held in one position for a long time. If you’re going to be attaching the mic on a boom pole, someone is going to have to hold it above the setting until you get the perfect take. If you want to be nice to your boom operator, choosing a lightweight shotgun mic might be a good way about going about this.
Alternatively, if you want to connect your shotgun mic onto your camera, it’s going to affect the cameras overall weight. Again, this is going to put a strain on whoever is holding and operating the camera, so we’d suggest looking for lightweight models rather than heavier alternatives.
Shotgun mics, or any high-quality filming equipment really, can be rather expensive. Unfortunately, it is often the case where the better the performance of the mic, the higher the price point will be. These mics are very useful for filmmakers, so it’s worth noting that they’re an investment to your craft.
That being said, you still want your money to be protected should anything go wrong after the purchase, so check the warranty of the shotgun mic before buying it. The longer the warranty, the more confidence the manufacturer has in their product.
This gives you a better idea of the overall quality of the mic, as well as giving you peace of mind that you can get a refund or replacement if you run into any faults.
No matter whether you want to mount your shotgun mic onto your camera or onto a boom pole, you need to ensure that it will fit properly. If you can a poorly fitting mic, you may find that it shifts while you’re filming and causes noises that overpower the audio. Moreover, the mic could fall straight off and break on impact.
You don’t want to have to purchase another boom pole to work with your shotgun mic, so noting the mounting capabilities of each microphone might save you a lot of money and frustration.
Choosing a shotgun mic that offers a flat frequency response is more likely to give you a more natural sound that your audience can relate to. This will give you a more in-depth sound that feels more three dimensional.
While this may affect the background noise level, you can still edit these frequencies out in the post-filming edits. We think that having the ability to edit some of it out will prove better for you than not having it captured at all.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between a shotgun mic and a boom mic?
A shotgun mic is the exact same thing as a boom mic! They are originally called shotgun mics, but over the years have been nicknamed boom mics due to the fact that you often attach them to boom poles.
Do I need a shotgun mic?
It is wise when you’re making a film to use a shotgun mic for a number of reasons. Not using any mic may prevent you from recording any useable audio footage, rendering your recording useless.
Using a shotgun mic allows you to focus on one audio output, whether that be your characters or a sound effect. Moreover, they’re very good at picking up smaller noises such as little details or quiet voices. They’re very easy to use and beneficial for filmmakers.
Only you can decide whether you need a shotgun mic, but we’d suggest that you do your research. They’ve proven to be very helpful during the filming process and come with a lot of benefits.