How to Get the Best Sound from Your Camcorder

Many people use camcorders straight out of the box using its internal built-in mic (microphone). Mics that come pre-installed on a camcorder often vary in terms of quality while offering stereo sound. However, some of these built-in mics do have certain limitations. External mics can isolate the camcorder from the mic in order to eliminate some of these issues. Keep in mind that anything that you can possibly do in order to improve the overall sound quality will make a huge difference.

Smaller Camcorders and External Mics

Some mid-range and high-end camcorders have external mics or jacks. If your particular camcorder has this feature, you have access to a number of audio options in general. Camcorders also have what’s known as an accessory shoe. In most cases if you have an external jack, then you also have an accessory shoe.

Different Kinds of External Mics

  • Parabolic
  • Omnidirectional
  • Shotgun
  • Wireless
  • Lavalier

What is Dead Cat?

Dead cat is designed to minimize wind noise when recording audio in high winds. It looks like an actual furry sleeve that helps wind equalization and is also what most professionals use to diminish wind noise. When using your camcorder outdoors, the biggest problem you have to face is usually noise from the wind that blows against the plastic or metal frame where the microphone is located. It creates background noise that blocks out the actual sound you desire to shoot. Standing behind a windbreak, or literally using your body as a shield, is one solution to blocking the wind. Several camcorders today have an electronic windscreen already built-in that serves to decrease the degree of wind noise.

Foam Sleeves and Dead Cat

Basically, there are two main ways to block the sound of wind noise without the need to move your position. First, is to get an external mic that has a foam sleeve accessory that easily slips over your mic. Foam has the ability to significantly decrease wind noise. The second option is to place a dead cat over the mic’s foam.

Get the Mic Near Your Subject

Another aspect of recording good sound is to get your mic as close to the subject as you possibly can. Camcorders with wide angle lenses will enable you to get much closer overall. In order to get a good long shot and still maintain good sound quality, invest in a wireless microphone or use a long extension for your mic by mounting it on a mini tripod or use a broomstick.

Essentially, there are a number of ways to improve the overall sound quality on camcorders.