How to Make a Microphone Work on a Camcorder

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Making a microphone work on a camcorder involves using an external microphone with a 3.5 mini jack or using a boom to hang the microphone above or below the frame shot. Use an external mic to get higher quality sound with information from a professional videographer in this free video on photography.

Part of the Video Series: Using a Digital Camera
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Video Transcript

Hi, my name is James. I'm a videographer and I'd like to take a moment to talk to you about how to use a microphone attached to your video camera. Almost all video cameras, whether they're consumer cameras or pro- sumer cameras have a built in microphone. This is not going to get you the best audio quality. So if you're looking to take your filming to another level I recommend using an external microphone. On a consumer camera more often than not you're going to find that it has a three point five mini jack for the input for a microphone. This input jack, it's the exact same size as a standard headphone jack found on iPod or any other set of earphones. Basically you would plug a microphone in, run the cord somewhere outside of your shot and have the microphone set up to pick up the audio. Sometimes people use a boom and have the microphone hanging above or below the shot so you can't see it. Other times they'll use the microphone clipped to a person like you see myself wearing. And then another option is just to have the microphone in a stand. If you're going to be using a pro-sumer camera for more professional work, you're going to have an XLR input for your microphone and this is going to give you very professional sound recorded through your microphone. Again, you're going to have the same options whether you want to have your mike on a boom, on a stand or clipped to the person. But the most important thing is to understand how to connect it. The XLR will plug right in to your camera and again this is going to give you really high audio quality. It's important too whether you're using the mini jack or the XLR, to check your audio settings when you're doing your recording, to make sure that your microphone and what's being recorded in that is not too loud or too soft. You want to be able to hear it and you don't want it to be too loud that it's blown out. So it's important to understand the difference between a mini three point five input and an XLR input. But it's you know, no matter what one you're using, you know using a microphone is going to get you far better audio quality. So that is how you use a microphone with a video camera.

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