Choosing the Right Microphone for Documentary Projects

MicrophoneDocumentaries provide audience with the unique experience of exploring diverse cultures, socially relevant themes, nature and so on. They become more effective when transcribed and made available to a wider section of interested users. With proper documentary transcription, you can add appropriate subtitles, make multilingual translations, include notes for the narrator and provide texts for inaudible parts. To ensure accuracy of documentary interview transcription, the first necessity is effective recording equipment. Documentary projects are covered by journalists in the specific field and they need to use a good microphone to capture voices clearly. Let’s see how to choose the right microphone for a documentary project.

There are mainly three categories of microphones available for use in documentary projects.

  • Shotgun Microphones – These types of microphones are of great use while pinpointing the exact audio you want without any kind of audio interference from surrounding ambient noise. You can hold this device manually using a boom pole or attach it to a boom stand. Use this microphone if there is too much noise in the place where you are supposed to take the documentary.
  • Handheld Microphones – These are the types of microphones that you see with local TV reporters. If you are making a documentary while traveling, you can use this microphone.
  • Lapel Microphones – Also known as lavalier microphones, these are tiny mics that can be clipped to one’s shirt or tie. These types of microphones can ensure consistent audio levels since they do not move around like handheld types. Lapel microphones are typically used for sit-down interview sessions.

While selecting a microphone for your documentary project, check also for the audio pattern of the device. Different types of microphones capture sound in different ways. The three basic audio patterns suitable for documentary projects are:

  • Omni-directional – Omni-directional microphones can capture a wide range of sounds from all directions. These are suitable for gathering all voices in a group discussion. However, it is required to place the device close to the subject for achieving good quality.
  • Cardioid – Cardioid microphones capture sounds mostly from their front and sides and a bit from behind. Handheld microphones typically have this audio pattern to ensure the widest possible usage.
  • Uni-directional – Unidirectional microphones are highly directional to focus on a specific sound and block out other noises. This is greatly useful to capture the voice of a particular person in a group discussion. Shotgun microphones typically use this audio pattern.

Recordings of documentaries taken with appropriate microphones can be sent to providers of transcription services to obtain documentary transcripts with maximum accuracy.

About Julie Clements

Julie Clements

Joined the MOS team in March of 2008. Julie Clements has background in the healthcare staffing arena; as well as 6 years as Director of Sales and Marketing at a 4 star resort. Julie was instrumental in the creation of the medical record review division (and new web site); and has especially grown this division along with data conversion of all kinds.