Why is it called a lavalier microphone

Today there’s a premiere on my blog: There is a directional microphone!

Not every microphone is suitable for every recording situation - and that's exactly what I talk about in my video and I write in this blog post. You will find out when you should choose which microphone type and what the strengths and weaknesses of handheld, lavalier and directional microphones are. And above all, you can hear the difference in this video:

Do you want the whole thing in a nutshell, with product recommendations for each microphone type, then get my PDF guide.

Handheld microphone

Pros: Full control, confident tone

The hand mic is a typical interview microphone. That means: You ask the questions, your interview partner answers and you guide him by holding the microphone in front of him. You decide very clearly who speaks when, and you can, for example, interrupt an answer or follow up on it. An advantage, especially in a critical interview!

So that are also question and The answer is easy to understand. The hand mic ensures the safest sound.

To do this, hold it just under the speaker's chin. The face remains free, but you still have an optimal tone.

The hand-held microphone is also the best choice for an interview when there are loud ambient noises.

Disadvantages: microphone is in the picture

Normally only the interviewee should be visible in the picture. For the image design, this means that you should choose a close-up as the image section. If you can see a bit of the reporter's fingers on the microphone, it doesn't matter, but your arm shouldn't be in the picture.

The microphone head remains visible - otherwise it means that it is too far away and the sound suffers. The microphone in the picture does not interfere with a street survey. However, with other videos, such as a portrait of a person, it is ugly. Sometimes you want to film from further away so that the surroundings are also perceived.

In such cases, you work better with the lavalier microphone.

Lavalier microphone (clip-on / button microphone)

Advantages: Discreet and uncomplicated

The lavalier microphone is best suited for longer conversations and for a video portrait of a person where there is no need to ask critical questions. Even if you record a moderation or an interview, you can work with it.

The first advantage is literally obvious: you have your hands free.

In addition, the microphone is less noticeable, it is more discreet or can even be hidden.

Thirdly, you can also film from a greater distance because you don't always have to hold out a microphone to the person you are speaking to. So you can also take the surroundings into the picture.

You just have to make sure that the microphone is in use at the beginning attached in the right place is, after that you don't have to worry about it anymore.

Disadvantages: more ambient noise

But the lavalier microphone also has its disadvantages: Only the answers are clearly audible because only the person you are talking to has a microphone. Your questions are bad or inaudible. The solution to this would be to use a double microphone.

In addition, the Lav-Mik is not suitable for situations where it is louder, for example on a construction site, in engine rooms or next to a busy street. It picks up more ambient noise because it is positioned lower down than the hand mic. It is therefore particularly suitable for taking pictures in quiet situations.

This is how professionals use the lavalier mic

Lavalier microphones are available with cable or with radio. Professionals mostly work with radio links. Wireless has the advantage that the speaker or conversation partner can move freely. But it is more expensive than a corded lavalier mic. I have already introduced wireless microphones in this article and here you can find a comparison of 6 lavalier microphones.

Directional microphone

Advantages: easy handling

Last but not least, the premiere: the directional microphone. A lot of vloggers work with this type of microphone, and I sometimes use it too.

The directional microphone is particularly practical because it is attached directly to the camera. It doesn't have to be handled separately and there is no annoying cable.

This works well in a quiet room. The sound is better than if you only work with the built-in microphone of the camera, because the microphone is directed towards the front.

The directional microphone is also suitable if you are filming a scene outside in which no one is speaking. For example, B-roll with Ambi, nature shots or situations while traveling. If you use a windscreen, you will definitely have better sound than with the camera's own microphone.

Disadvantage: only for quiet surroundings

The microphone must be connected to the sound source - that's the golden rule. The further I move away from the camera and thus from the directional microphone, the quieter the sound becomes. Even if I point the camera at something other than the person speaking, one understands very little.

Even in situations with a lot of background noise, you can hardly understand anything with a directional microphone. It really only works in very quiet surroundings.

Pay attention to the plug:

Many microphones today have a 3.5mm jack plug. It looks like these microphones can be used for smartphones as well as for videocams / DSLR cameras. But this is not entirely true. There is a small difference between the plugs for the respective devices:

The connector with three rings (called TRRS) is for smartphones, the one with only two rings (TRS) for DSLR / videocam.

With a small adapter, however, the microphones can usually also be "converted" for the other device. I have written about this in more detail here.

What about buying tips?

Yes I have! 🙂 What you can use the different microphone types for, I have summarized again very briefly and listed a product I tested for each type. Get the
Guide here as PDF!

I have already put together further microphone recommendations in a microphone guide for filming, especially with a smartphone, as well as in complete equipment guides for video cameras and smartphones. You can download them all for free as PDF, either directly via the link or on my give-away page.