Friday, February 10, 2017

Lavalier Microphones: Cheap Voice Recording for Filmmakers and Podcasters

Lavalier microphones are a fantastic way to capture voice for a video. They clip to a person’s clothing and don’t stand out in the video. Depending on your setup, you may be able to use multiple microphones. Whether you’re making a YouTube video, podcast, or recording a film, lavalier microphones are a must have solution.

One advantage of lavalier microphones is their portability. Though many expensive wireless solutions exist, there are also a lot of budget friendly systems available. It's not always necessary to record wirelessly. Instead, keep the recorder in a pocket and attach the microphone. If portability isn’t much of an issue, you can record with a computer or camera.

Camera and laptop microphones can pick up excessive background noise. This isn't usually an option for professional applications. These solutions are a great way to improve your production quality, while still using cheaper equipment.

Lavalier Microphones

Neewer Mini Lapel Microphone

The cheapest option available for lavalier microphones is the Neewer Mini Lapel Microphone. This is an omnidirectional microphone. This microphone works with a camera or computer. The Neewer mini lapel microphone isn't compatible with cellphones.

Though their quality isn’t the best, the cheap price makes these microphones a good backup. They make a good addition to any recording kit in case other lavalier microphones break. Keep in mind to test your microphone before using it, because the cables can fail.

PowerDeWise Lavalier Microphone

If you’re planning on recording with a phone, the PowerDeWise Lavalier Microphone is a good option. This lavalier microphone works with iOS, Android and Windows phones. The PowerDeWise microphone also includes an extension cable. There’s also an adapter to use it with a laptop, camera, or portable recorder. Overall, the sound quality of the PowerDeWise microphone is better than the Neewer. The build quality is also an improvement. This microphone will pick up less noise and will last longer. Though the quality is better, it is still always important to test it before each use.

Portable Recorders

To achieve high quality professional recordings, a good solution is to use a dedicated portable recorder. Though portable recorders have a built in microphone, they also support lavalier microphones. A good example is the Zoom H1 Handy Portable Digital Recorder. This device is capable of recording at a sample rate of 96 kHz and a bit depth of 24 bit.

Portable recorders capture audio on a microSD card. You can access the files on a computer for editing. The recorder comes with a 2 GB card, but it can be upgraded to a 32 GB card, such as the SanDisk Ultra 32GB.

Cellphone Recording

If you’re not looking to buy a portable recorder, it’s also possible to use a cellphone. There are a few apps available, such as RØDE Rec (iOS) and Samsung Voice Recorder (Android). This is a cheap, portable solution, since most people have a phone accessible. Portable recorders provide better quality, but using a cellphone is best for most people.

Computer Recording

If you’re using a lavalier microphone to make a YouTube video or podcast, you may have a computer nearby. If this is the case, plug the lavalier microphone into the computer. Then you don’t need to use an external recorder or a phone to capture the audio. We recommend using Audacity to capture all the audio, since it’s free and simple to use. To learn more about Audacity, check out the video here.

Regardless of how you've recorded the sound, Audacity is a great editing program. Use compression to level out the volume if necessary. Depending on the microphone, you may want to use equalization to adjust the frequency balance. If there's a lot of background noise, use noise reduction to remove it. After all the editing is finished, export as a WAVE file.

Combining Your Audio and Video

It's easy to combine audio and video after recording. You can do this with just about any video editing software. Just make sure the timing is right, since there’s nothing worse than out of sync audio!

Overall, lavalier microphones are simple way to record voice portably. They provide great sound quality for voice without picking up extra noise. When budgets are tight, we hope you like these solutions for capturing voice for a video.

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