Sound for self shooters: radio mic

Helen Hutchinson discusses how self shooting doesn't have to mean compromising on great sound, as long as you choose the right equipment and follow these simple guidelines.

Think ahead
Ask yourself a few basic questions, and choose your equipment accordingly. What will you be filming? Will it be a quiet or noisy location? How loud is the ambient (background) sound?

Getting personal
Personal mics are great for isolating speech from background noise, and are particularly good when interviewing and recording speech in a noisy environment, or when it's not possible to get close enough to use a top mic.

Personal mics are omni-directional, which means they can pick up sound from all directions. They work best when very close to the source. If your subject's not moving, then you can use a clip mic which connects directly into the camera.

"You can still get great sound, even as a self shooter." – Helen Hutchinson

On the move
If your subject is moving, or if they are far away from the camera, use a radio mic. Make sure the transmitter and receiver are set to the same frequency.

If you are filming abroad, you must make sure your radio mics work there and are legal or you may find yourself competing with the local emergency services.

Make sure you position the mic to avoid hearing clothing rustle - just below the collar is ideal if you don't need to hide the mic. If you choose to hide the mic, placing it between the shirt buttons or just inside the neckline works well.

Tugging the cable that leads from mic to receiver can make an awful sound, so make sure you anchor the cable - a simple loop close to the mic itself will stop any tugging.