Choosing the right microphone for your workflow and project needs is key in screen capture success. Author Corbin Anderson explores options from lavaliers to desktop mic setups available to screencasters.
- [Instructor] Let's look at microphone options so you can make the choice that's best for your project and workflow. If you've spent any time viewing online videos, you're well aware of what a turn-off it can be to view a video with poor sound quality. Clean, clear sound is key in sharing your message and keeping your viewer from looking elsewhere. The starting point for this is choosing the right microphone. Now this topic could easily turn into a two-hour diatribe/debate on which mic is best, and the pros and cons of each.
I don't think there is a best mic. It really depends on your needs. So I'm gonna show you a few options, share my experience, and let you decide what would be best for you. Before we begin I want to issue a bit of a disclaimer. I'm not going to recommend a particular brand or model of microphone, sorry, there are just so many to choose from. The models I show are for demonstration purposes. What I recommend is you check out feedback on sites like Amazon and Newegg, or even review videos on YouTube and find a mic that works for your budget and needs.
Of course, the simplest route is to just use the built-in mic on your laptop or monitor. This is fine in a pinch, or if you're just having a casual web-chat, but the audio quality of these mics is usually less than stellar. The first reason for this is they're generally cheap, low-quality microphones, but the real deal-breaker is proximity. If you're using your built-in mic, you're gonna be at least 12 to 18 inches from the microphone. At that distance, not only will the mic not do a great job of picking up your voice, but it will be picking up a lot of ambient noise, traffic, computer fans, dogs barking, all that kind of stuff.
Only use your built-in mic as a last resort. Next up is the headset, probably the most commonly used mic. You may already have one. Headsets are convenient, great for mic placement since they're attached to your head. They're affordable and they're small. Very easy to take with you on the go. If you're someone like a teacher or a tech guide who creates a lot of videos and doesn't have a lot of time to fuss around with microphones, a headset is a great option. The only gripe I have with headset mics is it can be tough to find one that sounds good.
A lot of the ones I've tried have a thin, tinny recorded sound. If you jump online, you'll find an overwhelming number of choices. I recommend finding something in your price range, then checking the ratings and reviews. Try to find a review from someone who uses the headset to record. A gamer is going to have a different review than a video creator. I should also point out that you get what you pay for. You don't necessarily need to spend a ton of mon, but you're not likely to be blown away by a five dollar setup either.
Next up is earbuds. Now I really like the earbud option. They're packable, unobtrusive, and you can find a decent set at a very reasonable price. Now the sound isn't necessarily professional quality. But they do have other advantages and may work out great for you depending on your needs. Earbuds will keep the microphone near your mouth for clear audio, and the speakers are right in your ear, so you don't have to worry about bothering people around you or creating feedback. Additionally, they don't pick up a lot of ambient noise.
They work with your smartphone or tablet, and if that wasn't enough, you won't end up with headset hair. Now earbuds don't work with every computer. They have a special plug-in that has three connections rather than the usual two, one for the mic and two for the right and left speaker. So before you go the earbud route, make sure they'll work with your device. Also, make sure you're getting earbuds that have a microphone, not just the listen to music kind. Another option is a lavalier like they use on the news.
When recording with a lav, you'll want to be mindful of head movement. Since a lav is attached to your shirt rather than your head, the sound will change if you turn your head a lot while you're recording. They can also pick of clothes rustling. So when I'm using a lav, I'm always mindful that I attach the mic in a spot where it won't be rubbing against my clothing. Additionally, it's a good idea to wear headphones when recording with a lav, both to monitor your sound, and to keep any speaker noise from contaminating your recording.
Finally we come to the almighty desktop microphone. This is a favorite for a lot of broadcasters. The reason is, if you have a good one, and use it right, the sound quality is excellent. When recording with a desktop mic, I always wear headphones so I can monitor my voice and keep speaker sounds from contaminating my recording. Now you may or may not have to do this. It depends on the microphone and how your computer is set up. The main drawback of a desktop mic is you have to be very mindful of mic placement.
I can move around a little bit, but I need to keep my mouth near the mic for optimal sound. There's of course a lot more to know about microphones and their use. The important thing is to find a mic that, one, you'll be comfortable using, and, two, will produce the quality of sound you need for your projects. For recent reviews and even audio examples, check out sites like Amazon, Newegg, or even YouTube to help you find the right mic for your workflow.
- Exploring the Camtasia interface
- Choosing a capture area
- Recording your webcam
- Editing your recording
- Adding media and music
- Adding annotations
- Going mobile with Fuse
- Adding animations and transitions
- Adding behaviors
- Exploring the visual effects
- Improving audio
- Sharing your Camtasia recordings