Are you disappointed with the quality of your camcorders voice audio? Here are some suggestions to greatly improve the quality of people speaking in your video presentation. Look at two typical scenarios which may sound familiar.
Scenario # 1: Thirty to forty feet from your kayak, your buddy sets the hook on what seams to be a monster bass and he asks you to record the action. Your camcorder records his every move. He whoops and hollers up as he describes his excitement in detail.
When you replay the video you discover that while the video is very good, your buddy sounds a million miles away and most of what you hear are waves slapping against the hull of your kayak and traffic sounds on nearby highway. Another valuable moment lost to poor quality audio.
Scenario # 2: Maybe you have been shooting video of the kids and family but now want to move up from the consumer ranks to the next step. You recently purchased an iMac computer and would like to utilize iMovie09. What do you need to make this happen?
Most camcorders are equipped with a condenser mic which is designed to pickup all sounds within a 360 degree radius of the camcorder. While this might be desirable at an outdoor baseball game; a 5th grade school play; a conversation in a quiet environment or a birthday party with a bunch of kids running around at Chuck E. Cheese. But if you want high quality voice in the midst of the action, I have two affordable recommendations for the up and coming kayak based movie director!
In my case, I wanted to make semi-TV quality video while kayak fishing. I also wanted to post some movies to YouTube. After researching various options, I found a shotgun mic, when plugged into your video camera, captures sounds primarily from what ever it is pointed at. Shotgun microphones are designed to be very directional and do a nice job of ignoring most other background sounds. If you want to interview your child (and be able to clearly hear their voice) at a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese with a million other kids running around making lots of noise, a shotgun mic is the way to go. This is true for any noisy environment.
In fact, I now always use a Rode Videomic when recording and try not to use the condenser mic. Sound quality is used is dramatically improved with the Rode. http://www.rodemic.com/microphone.php?product=VideoMic
The second and most impressive addition to my growing collection of video gear is the Azden WLX-PRO. VHF Wireless Lapel Microphone System ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAR45nMyTs4 ). This little beauty allows you to attach a very small lapel microphone with a wire leading to a small receiver which clips to your belt. Another small receiver unit is plugged into your camcorder and picks up sounds from the lapel mic, in place of your camcorders condenser mic. The Azden WLX-PRO produces high quality voice audio and can be used to distances of 150-200 feet from the video camera! For my proposes, this is the single best investment ($ 150 through Amazon) in camera gear I have ever made.
However, in order to make these two items work properly, you must own a video camera which has a port in which to plug either a shotgun mic or wireless lapel mic. (you can not use both mics at the same time). In my search for a new standard resolution video camera, I found that Canon offers input jacks for an external shotgun or wireless mics and another port for a headset so you can listen to what is being recorded. I use a Canon FS11 with very good results and the video files transfer with ease into Apple iMovie09.
If you are looking for better quality audio in your videos, pick up a wireless mic from Azden and shotgun mic from Rode. Both additions cost about $ 150 / each but are well worth the expenditure.