QUICK TIP: The On Camera Shotgun

Bryant Falk

New member
The Strapped on Shotgun:

For those on a tight budget doing allot of run and gun. I will always recommend any other mic than the one built into the camera.

An often overlooked option is the strapped on shotgun. This is a shotgun mic that is attached to the camera facing who ever is being videotaped. The advantages include:

1. Less camera noise into the mic as it's a bit further away

2. Better audio of the talent you are focusing on

3. A longer allowable distance between camera and talent yet still the same audio quality.

I even recommend creating some type of telescoping boom so when the camera is zoomed in you can extend the camera boom mic even closer to the talent.

This setup allows you to still have just one camera operator, very economical!

Cameras like the Canon XL1, Panasonic HVX 100 & 200, Sony PD 170 make this setup pretty easy as they all have built in XLR inputs. If you need an adapter just pop over to the Beachtek website and find what fits your camera and your needs.

I also recommend a boom mic with it's own battery so you don't drain off camera battery power during those long shoots out on the busy streets!


Do you have any recommendations as to what shotgun mics are better suited for the task? I'm currently looking at cameras and of course I want to pair it with equally if not better sound so any suggestions for microphones including shotgun mics would be great.

professor aire

I prefer using the Sennheiser MKE300. I've used it in the exact method described above for numerous weddings, retreats, classes, forums, etc, and it works great in every application I've put it into. I also have a couple AZDEN SMG series Shotgun mics. The big difference I feel I've noticed between the two is a little bit more directionality in the Sennheiser. Aside from that: the AZDEN mics utilize XLR connections and the Sennheiser uses a mono 1/8" connector. Even the AZDEN mics, however, can easily be adapted down to 1/8" if you need to with an XLR - 1/8" adapter.
Both of these microphones utilize internal batteries. Oh, and the Sennheiser is a much shorter microphone overall, so if you have a cheaper camcorder this can be a better bet, as sometimes shotgun microphones will extend far enough forward to hang into the top of the shot if you don't build a boom to take it off the lens-plane.