Working from home now means organizing many virtual meetings. And if you find that your colleagues do not hear you well or complain of disturbing background noises (think of children, music, doorbells), we have great advice for you.
Do what the professionals do: invest in a microphone.
Do you think the cast of “Friends” was recorded by the internal microphone of the video cameras? Of course not. Each actor wore a microphone and there were other microphones in the set.
You are not in “Friends”, but you are in video production. Let’s call it “The office … at home”.
You can’t network, show, suck or corner a manager alone in the office. So it’s your only real way to shine.
Why not invest a little in yourself to be better represented with improved sound?
“If you want to do your best, audio is the most important part of the video,” said Larry Becker, author of Great on Camera. “If people can’t hear you, they’ll be frustrated and stop you. Bad video and they’ll be confused just to listen to you. A microphone will make a big difference.”
There are several models and we have some favorites. Remember that all video conferencing programs you use have an audio/video area in the settings that lets you pass built-in webcam and microphone settings to your external selection.
Which microphone to buy? Let’s start at $ 15 and go up the ladder.
At just $ 19.95, it’s a wired lavalier microphone that attaches to the top of your shirt. The bad news is that it’s a wired microphone that can connect to your laptop or smartphone (with an adapter), and you could get caught in the cables. It is also powered by batteries. If you accidentally leave it on, your microphone may be empty at the time of your next meeting. Becker recommends buying a pack of 8 LR44 batteries (they only cost $ 6) and putting them in a drawer just in case.
If you’ve seen instructional streaming videos lately, you’ve undoubtedly seen the ubiquitous microphone on the host’s desk, as is the case on some talk shows until late at night. The nice thing about a USB standalone microphone is that it sounds a lot better than your webcam and you’re not tied to a wired microphone that prevents you from moving. Two very popular options for young podcasters recently have been two models of Blue Microphones, the Snowball ($ 50), and the Yeti ($ 99). The more expensive Yeti has additional capacitors for improved sound, says Blue. If you’re not planning to record music or host a podcast, this may be an exaggeration as a meeting microphone. A big tip: If you have connected the microphone to your USB computer connection and placed it on your desk, you have to be very close and “kiss the microphone”. You cannot expect to be picked up by the microphone if you move away from it. Other brands also make great USB microphones, including Rode, Shure, and multimedia, in the $ 100 to $ 200 range.
If you love the idea of not having a distracting microphone in your recording and want to wear a wireless lavalier, there are plenty of options. But you will spend as they are not cheap. My favorite, which I use for videos and not for meetings, is the Rode Wireless Go ($ 199.99). I connect the transmitter box (the microphone) with my lapel and the receiver on my camera. This would be an exaggeration for meetings, but if you need a microphone for video creation, podcasts, and meetings, you can’t go wrong. Similar setups from Sony and Audio-Technica are selling for $ 500 and more.
What about this pair of Bluetooth AirPods or even the wired headphones with built-in mic? Why not just use them? After all, you already own it. They can, and they’ll be a massive improvement over the computer’s built-in microphone, Becker notes.
“But sometimes there is a little connection problem,” he notes. “And it usually still sounds a bit distant. It’s better than a built-in laptop microphone and always better than a webcam built-in.”
So there you have it. Spend $ 20, 50, 100, or $ 200 and watch your audio improve dramatically, or just clip your headset on and hope the connection doesn’t drop