Better Sound: How to Boom Your Camera Shotgun Mic

When you bought your camera-top shotgun microphone, like a RODE VideoMic Pro, you were expecting to get much better sound. But if you’re shooting a talking head or interview type of video, you may have been disappointed at the results when the mic was mounted on top of the camera.

The secret to getting much better dialogue sound from mics like this is to get the microphone much closer to the talent and boom it from above, pointing down at a 45 degree angle. You’ll generally want to get the mic within 40 - 60cm of the mouth of the person speaking, if you can.

In this episode, we cover how to boom your mic like this so that you’ll get much better dialogue sound. We also quickly discuss the gear you’ll need to make this work.

So here's the list of gear you'll need to make this work:

  • On-stage Microphone Boom Stand - ~$25 USD, I've had mine for over five years and it has seen a lot of use, and is holding up nicely. Mostly metal and not to bad to transport for location shoots
  • Adapter for your particular microphone to attach it to the mic stand. If you have a RODE VideoMic Pro, you'll want this 3/8" to 5/8" adapter. Most other mics have 1/4" threaded taps so you'll need this 1/4" to 5/8" adapter.
  • RODE VC1 Extension Cable. Now that you've boomed the mic much closer to the person speaking, you'll need a way to connect the mic's 3.5mm plug to your camera or audio recorder. This is the one I use and it is about three meters long.

Optional items (but I recommend the sandbags or some other creative way to stabilize your mic stand)

  • Saddle Style Sand Bags to stabilize the mic stand. You provide the sand and I highly recommend that you put the sand in heavy ziploc style bags first, then put the ziploc into these saddle bags. You'll have far fewer spills. And spouses and property owners aren't usually too thrilled when you spill sand all over their wood floor. :)
  • If your microphone doesn't have a threaded tap on the bottom, only a coldshoe mount, you will also need an adapter like this.

Happy recording with much better sounding dialogue audio!