In the last few years we have been shooting a lot of news coverage for local newspaper websites. Most of the videos are showing festivals and events but also demonstrations and other things that happen spontaneous and fast. “You never know how the story will end up” might be one of the reasons why so many people wanted to be journalists.
Capturing a demonstration is always challenging because you really don’t know what will happen so you pretty much keep rolling your camera the whole time. The last few years we always used the Beyerdynamic MCE 86 S II directional microphone for interviews. We mounted it on the camera to get all the ambient sound. It really worked out great for interviews because you are only capturing the angle you are holding the mic to. The downside is of course if you want to capture more atmospheric sound to show the audience how loud and big the crowd is so I always thought about using a stereo mic instead of the directional mono solution. Another thing that was always risky was that you could only turn the mic on and off but you couldn’t adjust any audio levels.
All in all using a directional microphone on top of a DSLR is just not ideal because it is way too long and sometimes it happened that it just fell down because somebody was accidently hitting it.
At the Skyscraper Festival in May 2013 I used the VideoMic Pro from a friend and I liked the audio quality but since it was mono I was looking for something else. RØDE send us the Stereo VideoMic Pro which I first saw on Philip Bloom’s website in January 2012 but kind of forgotten about it.
The first thing I noticed was the weird form factor. The mic looks like a ball! After using it for one day in action I understood and appreciated the small form factor. It isn’t long but really compact which makes it easy to carry it around. When I heard the sound for the first time on my computer I was really amazed by the incredible stereo sound. The video felt much more alive than just in mono because it picks up really everything around you so be careful if you want to talk behind the camera.
The video review is a quick round up about what I liked the most and how to use it. What I forgot to mention was that the power button / on and off switch tends to activate itself very easy if you have it in your bag or backpack. A lock system would be great so you don’t run out of battery but this shouldn’t happen too quick because my battery hasn’t died yet even when the mic was turned on accidently.
Will I be using the microphone in the future? For documentary filmmakers is this one the best pieces of gear I have ever used – it’s a shame I haven’t worked with it before on other project which really could have benefitted from that compact design and clear audio. I will definitely be using the Stereo VideoMic Pro for most of the news coverage especially when it is outdoors.
If you don’t know if the RØDE VideoMic Pro (mono) or the Stereo VideoMic Pro is the right choice for you – we will make a comparison between those two microphones soon!
Written by Moritz Janisch