The best mic for Independent Video/Film Productions?

FAQ #2525 Updated October 30, 2008

Question:

I am attempting to shoot an extremely low budget feature length production, most likely on digital video. I need mics that will reproduce speech well, and can do so from a reasonable distance (probably between 2'-6') so as to stay off camera. Durability is important, as my budget is very limited. Versatility is also important, for the same reason (which is why I haven't just bought a number of lavalier mics and called it good).
I've found plenty of recommendations for miking instruments and vocalists (something else I'm interested in), but not for this specific application. What would you recommend?

I've already read the video pamphlet, and I already understand the basic theories involved, what I really need is concrete "buy this" type advice, if that's even possible. The SM63 looks like a great mic, but can it be used to record clear dialogue from several feet away (off camera)? There are simply too many options (better than too few I suppose). For example, the music education pamphlet is quite specific (ex: "One condenser microphone (PG81 or SM81 per section."). I do realize that a video production, by nature, will be more varied and individual than a concert situation, but this type of advice is what I'm looking for. If that's just not possible though, I'll understand, and thank you for your time

Answer:

First, read the booklet about audio for video: Educational Articles - Online booklets and bulletins

Next, buy an XLR adapter box from www.beachtek.com

Finally, get a Shure SM63 mic. It is a very versatile, omnidirectional mic that sounds great.

Based on your limited budget, the most versatile and useful mic is a handheld omnidirectional mic, like the SM63. It would be the type of mic I would choose if I could only afford one.

But, the effectiveness of any sort of mic is ruled by:

1. The amount of unwanted background noise (the louder it is, the closer the mic must be to the talker)

2. The acoustics of the room (lots of hard surfaces and echos, the closer the mic must be to the talker)

No type of mic can affect the two items above.

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