How The Rode Videomic Pro Produces Inexpensive Audio

Overview of the Rode Videomic Pro by Filmmaker Michael Head

One of the most often overlooked aspects of video for beginning filmmakers is audio.

To a point, it’s easy to see why many filmmakers often overlook audio – After all, video is a visual art form, isn’t it? Yes, but I will never forget this saying I heard: audio without video is radio; video without audio is nothing.

Even in the era of “silent” films, there was music that conveyed mood, intensity, and other aspects of storytelling in this “visual art form.”

So what is a good way to capture quality audio?

Enter the Rode Videomic Pro. Shotgun microphones are great for collecting focused audio from the direction the microphone is pointed, and the Videomic Pro is an excellent upgrade to the built in microphone found on many cameras.

Rode_Videomic_Pro

Rode Videomic Pro

The Rode Videomic Pro is powered by a 9 volt battery which has a very long lifespan – as much as 70 hours of recording time from a single battery.

The microphone has a variety of settings to help record in many situations – on top of the native recording level there is a high-pass filter that helps reduce low-frequency noises like electrical hums in rooms, traffic, and some airplane sounds (but always monitor and re-record, if you need).

There is also selectable level settings such as a -10dB setting for loud environments and a +20dB that especially helps when recording to DSLRs (which tend to have poor audio circuits, even with an external microphone).

The Rode Videomic Pro microphone outputs it’s signal through a 3.5mm jack, which is perfect for most small cameras and can be adapted for XLR inputs.

The Rode Videomic Pro has a standard shoe mount for attaching to a camera, but it also has a 3/8″ thread which allows it to mounted to various items such as boom poles and stands with matching threads.

It is always a good idea to get the microphone as close as possible to the subject, and while having the mic on camera is already a vast improvement over most in-camera mics, it is great to be able to boom the microphone close to the subject (and Rode has a Boom Pole for the Rode Videomic Pro – how convenient!)

The Good:
– High Quality, low cost condenser shotgun Microphone
– Runs on 9 volt batteries (with a long life)
– Adaptable mount (shoe mount and 3/8″ thread)
-Selectable settings (high-pass, +20dB, -10dB)
– Great sound recording!

The Not So Good:
– 3.5mm only, no XLR output (but it is adaptable)
– Very short output line – you’ll need an extender

Final Thoughts:

I have utilized Rode Videomics for years, and the improvement they offer over on-camera mics is absolutely undeniable. Don’t let poor audio ruin a good story – Always capture audio that will enhance, not distract, from your film.

Next time, we’ll look at how to use the Rode Videomic Pro and the Zoom H2n (reviewed last week) to capture great dual-system sound (and a few pitfalls to watch out for). Until then – keep shooting!

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