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Tools For Video

With amazingly shallow depth of field, price points that make filmmaking affordable and camera bodies far smaller than camcorders, video-capable DSLRs have changed the world of video forever. Video capabilities were added to still cameras almost as an afterthought, so while the video quality in still cameras continues to get better and better, there are several limitations that require additional gear if you intend to produce professional videos or put together long-form projects like a short or full-length film—or you just want the best results possible for your personal videos.

Azden SGM-990


Unless you’re planning to overdub the audio track, good, crisp, easily understood audio is an absolute necessity for successful videos. The internal microphone that you’ll find in a DSLR is a subpar audio device designed to capture unfocused ambient sound from the surrounding environment. It also has a tendency to pick up any noise from camera handling. Thankfully, most current DSLRs include a stereo 1?8-inch mini-jack, also known as a 3.5mm connection, and by simply plugging in even the most basic microphone, you instantly gain far superior sound to the onboard mic.

The majority of broadcast microphones are manufactured for the needs of camcorders, so many models have professional XLR outputs rather than a 1?8-inch jack. However, there are several microphone solutions available with a 3.5mm output and a low enough profile to sit atop and plug directly into a DSLR or camera.


Shure’s LensHopper VP83 and VP83F microphones are designed specifically for DSLR use with a very efficient build and rear LCD display for settings and monitoring audio from the back of the DSLR. The VP83F steps up the offerings with a dedicated stereo headphone output for monitoring audio as it’s recorded, as well as a flash memory slot for a microSDHC card of up to 32 GB. (With internal capture to a microSDHC card, this essentially removes the need for an extra dedicated audio recorder, if choosing to go with dual audio.) The VP83 offers an integrated 3.5mm cable, while the VP83F sports a gold-plated, detachable cable. Both mics also feature a high-quality Rycote Lyre shockmount system. Estimated Street Price: $229 (VP83 LensHopper); $349 (VP83F LensHopper).

RØDE Videomic

RØDE offers a number of mics designed for video and broadcast, including the popular NTG series of condenser shotgun microphones, the omnidirectional Reporter interview mic and several lavaliers, including the smartLav, which captures audio directly to an iOS or Android smart device. The VideoMic, Stereo VideoMic, VideoMic Pro and Stereo VideoMic Pro are camera-top shotgun mics with an integrated 3.5mm mini-jack and powering from an easily replaceable 9V battery. The mono VideoMic and VideoMic Pro with better build each offers a condenser shotgun microphone and super-cardioid pickup pattern for superior audio from the front of the camera and minimization of sounds from the rear. The Stereo VideoMic and Stereo VideoMic Pro offer your choice of shotgun or a more omnidirectional pick-up pattern, as well as stereo capabilities with two cardioid microphone capsules. Estimated Street Price: Begins at $169 (RØDE VideoMic).

The Azden SGM-990 includes a switchable mic capsule configuration, so the microphone can be used at up to 35 feet as a super-cardioid shotgun with rear- and off-axis rejection, or as a more multipurpose omnidirectional mic for handheld interviews or capturing higher-quality ambient sounds. The SGM-990 powers from a single AAA battery. Estimated Street Price: $85.


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