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When producing a video and recording the audio, the sensible solution is to look up the cheapest Rhode shotgun mic and attach it to the hot shoe of the DSLR camera. That is fine if you are producing a elementary highlight video of their field day, but the more shooting and recording you do, the better trained your ears become to being able to discern what good audio is, and empty audio. A shotgun mic is an extremely direction mic that picks of vocal ranges 40 Hz to 20 kHz, which differs based upon the mic you are using. For instance, the Sennheiser MKE 600 shotgun mic is brilliant in its durability, its dependability and its sound quality. But when comparing this mic to the Shure SM7B micrphone, the warm vocal quality simply isn’t there.

While the shotgun works great for run-n-gun situations, for more standard and formal interviews, I recommend a mic that reaches deeper into the human vocal range and doesn’t leave out half the tones that make a voice, full. The Shure SM7B microphone creates that feeling of closeness, warmness, and vocal responses that draw the audience in, which less need for remaster your audio using parametric EQ effects.

The SM7B dynamic microphone has a smooth, flat, wide-range frequency response appropriate for music and speech in all professional audio applications. It features excellent shielding against electromagnetic hum generated by computer monitors, neon lights, and other electrical devices.

The SM7B has been updated from earlier models with an improved bracket design that offers greater stability. In addition to its standard windscreen, it also includes the A7WS windscreen for close-talk applications.

Features

  • Flat, wide-range frequency response for exceptionally clean and natural reproduction of both music and speech
  • Bass rolloff and mid-range emphasis (presence boost) controls with graphic display of response setting
  • Improved rejection of electromagnetic hum, optimized for shielding against broadband interference emitted by computer monitors
  • Internal “air suspension” shock isolation virtually eliminates mechanical noise transmission
  • Highly effective pop filter eliminates need for any add-on protection against explosive breath sounds, even for close-up vocals or narration
  • Now shipping with the A7WS detachable windscreen, designed to reduce plosive sounds and gives a warmer tone for close-talk vocals
  • Yoke mounting with captive stand nut for easy mounting and dismounting provides precise control of microphone position
  • Classic cardioid polar pattern, uniform with frequency and symmetrical about axis, to provide maximum rejection and minimum coloration of off-axis sound
  • Rugged construction and excellent cartridge protection for outstanding reliability
  • Replacement cartridge:  RPM106

So when considering your next mic choice, don’t just run to whatever is cheapest and easy. Take the time to buy equipment that will deliver quality audio. The Shure SM7B will do just that.

In the video production world, gear is important. New pieces of equipment are vital in order to upgrade, or resupply failing or aging gear. Having every piece of gear is nearly impossible for most film producers, so hard choices have to be made when deciding what gear to buy. Budgets are real things and with constraints, so come the tough choices. A piece of gear that, to be perfectly honest, is more of a luxury, than a necessity is the Color Checker Passport.

While true colorist will quickly argue it’s the best way to get true colors and skin tones, it is possible to get very close without it. So what exactly is a Color Checker Passport and how does it help when color grading in post? First off, it’s the size of a passport, making it portable and easy to bring in a bag. When opened, it has 4 charts: white balance card, focus checker, color pallet, and a set of grade levels for setting exposure.

For now, I mainly want to focus on the usefulness of the color pallet. While I am not going to go into detail on how to use it exactly, the main idea is that when filming, capture a frame of video that has the color checker in the shot. Once you have downloaded your footage, when color grading, you can check the brand name of the color checker passport and then look up the grade table in a video editing software program such as Divinci Resolve. After selecting your passport checker in the drop down menu, when you sample a color in the footage, the program knows what the color is supposed to look like and will apply the necessary changes to the footage to achieve the most natural look. It takes the guess work out of color grading/adjusting the white balance.

Once again, I see this piece of gear as a luxury as it does come in at a cost of nearly $100 and it is an extra step to take when starting to work on the final look of your project. However, if you are a die-hard fan of the truest skin tones, it might be exactly what is needed to achieve better looking footage. I own one, and hardly use it. I have never had a client complain. But, there is a small part of me that wonders how much better the colors might be if I did use it.