How to Choose the Best Dialogue Microphone for Film


Wondering what microphones professional sound technicians use on big budget films? The truth is, they use all sorts of different mics for different applications. But there are a couple industry standard mics that are in constant use on major motion pictures. Picking the best of these microphones for the dialogue spoken in your motion picture depends on where you are filming.

  • Figure out your budget. Shotgun mics -- most commonly used to record dialogue in films -- can range in price from a few hundred dollars all the way up to a few thousand dollars. The key is getting the best sound equipment you can without breaking the bank, even if you rent your equipment.

  • Determine what environment you will be working in. Shotgun mics mounted on a boom are often the best way to capture dialogue, but if you are filming a wide-angle shot or there is a lot of background noise present, consider using a Lavalier mic. Lavs clip to the actor's lapel and are available in a wireless or wired form. If you are working inside in room where there is a lot of reflection of sound, called "reverb," consider a mic with a better off axis rejection like a hyper-cardioid.

  • Listen to the different mics before you decide on one to figure out which one sounds the best to you in your particular filming situation. There are several audio demonstrations available online or at sound retailers. Most likely, the retailer can help you pick the appropriate dialogue microphone after a detailed discussion on what and where you are filming.

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