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Video Camera Microphones

Choose an External Mic for Your Camcorder


An external microphone for your video camera is a must if your serious about making great videos. The one that's built in to your camcorder just won't cut it.

When it comes to choosing a microphone, you've got lots of options. Lavaliere microphones, which clip on a lapel or tie, are perfect for interviews or lectures. Shotgun mics are good for getting sound from a crowd, and a hand held microphone is great for news recordings. Generally, I prefer wireless microphones because of the freedom that they offer, but wired microphones are less expensive and have less risk of audio interference.

For this camcorder microphone list I've found a range of microphones for any situation and any budget. I've even included a microphone that can be used with the iPhone, because that's being used by more and more people as a primary camcorder, and it can definitely use an audio boost.

1. Wireless Lavaliere Mic

This microphone, from Audio-Technica, has a range of up to 300 feet, so you can clearly record someone who is quite far away from the camera. It also has two available frequencies, which is useful if you get interference or want to use two wireless microphones at once.

The system comes with a lavaliere microphone, tie clip, transmitter and receiver with a camcorder mount. The whole set is quite inexpensive, as far as wireless kits go, and while professionals may find it lacking, it's great for beginners and hobby videographers.

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2. XLR Lavaliere Mic

This lav mic from Sony is wired to your camcorder with an XLR connector. With a wired lavaliere, you don't have to worry about audio interference or battery failure, but you need to stay close to the person who's wearing it.

Of course, many consumer camcorders don't have an XLR input. If that's the case with yours, you can still use this microphone. You'll just need an adapter to get from the XLR to whatever type of input your camcorder has.

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3. Stereo Plug Lavaliere Mic

Like the other lav from Sony, this one gets great sound. It has a stereo plug, which is more common on consumer video cameras.

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4. Handheld Mic

This wireless, hand held microphone is great for giving a "newsy" look to your videos. The on-screen talent can hold the mic and move around freely, while the wireless receiver attached to the camcorder clearly picks up everything they say.
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5. iPhone Microphone

I love recording video on my iPhone because it looks so good. The problem is, the sound is low quality and doesn't match the HD picture. If you want to get better audio, the Blue Mikey microphone is the way to go. It plugs in to your device and includes dynamic recording options so you can get great sound in any situation, from a quiet conversation to a loud concert and anything in between.

6. Sennheiser Shotgun Mic

This is a pricey microphone, but it is excellent, and worth it for professional filming projects.

Shotgun mics like this one can be positioned on a camcorder. Or, if you have a long cable, they can be put on the end of a boom pole and held near the person or object that you are recording. This is a directional shotgun mic, so it will record sounds that are directly in front of it, but will mute sounds coming from the sides or behind the microphone.

In addition to the microphone itself, you'll need a cable to connect it to your camcorder as well as a wind guard to cover and protect it.

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