The last external microphone I’d like to explore is the “shotgun” or “boom” mic. This is a good device for recording in a group or picking up the surrounding/ambient noise. This soccer game clip (Download ShotBoom.mov) really doesn’t do it justice, but hopefully you’ll get the idea. The first time I ever used one was for an independent movie my son acted in. The mic was on the end of a pole and dangled just over the heads of the actors who were talking. They even recruited me at one point to follow my son through a field and pick up the sound of his footsteps because I had the longest stride and arms. This mic has a lot of surface area to pick up sound through and therefore needs a windscreen more so than the others to dampen that unwanted white noise. Surprisingly, the built-in mic did about just as well at my daughter’s soccer game and actually sounded better when it was protected from the wind. Since there was a steady breeze and the shotgun mic was exposed on top of the camera, it picked up a lot of wind in spite of its foam covering.
To review, check out an enhanced podcast by Marco Torres and the students of the San Fernando Technology Team. Their FlickSchool page is a great resource for tips on photography and making movies to tell good stories.