The Lavalier Microphone: Cost-Effective Recording for Video Production
| Reuben Howe
As a business in 2023 audio-visual content is more important than ever. People want to see a mix of tailored, cinematic video and authentic, down-to-earth shorts all wrapped up in an approachable but professional brand.
To that end, video content production for small businesses has seen a rise, and many owners are looking to lower the costs of creating so much content for social media channels, where a 30 second reel can take over an hour to film and edit together. Once you add in the cost of the equipment used, this video content is taking more time and money than people realise.
To help lower the initial cost of breaking in to the medium, and helping as many businesses as possible access video content creation, Daffodil stocks the fantastic Lavalier Microphone MCP150. Discover what differences a Lavalier Mic has to a full-blown set-up, and how they can make video content production a breeze for less.
What is a Lavalier Microphone?
To begin with let’s address the odd-looking-word-of-an-elephant in the room. Lavalier isn’t exactly what I’d call common parlance, and some creators might not have considered a Lavalier Mic simply from never discovering them!
The word refers to an old type of jewellery that adorned a necklace or other upper-body accessories. The purpose was decorative more than anything, but the development of wearable microphones has changed the common usage of the word.
While the original meaning is somewhat carried over, a Lavalier Microphone is not simply decoration. These microphones attach to a lapel, clip to a collar or hang around a neck underneath a collar / strap. Concealed and subtle, Lavalier microphones offer personal audio recording for a range of applications such as interviews, TikTok and business social feeds, behind-the-scenes, work meetings on Zoom or Teams and many more.
You may also see Lavalier Microphones referred to as Lapel Mics, or Clip-On Mics. These terms are all equally valid and have no real distinction bar the origin of the term and, potentially, where precisely they attach.
Is a Lavalier Microphone Good Broadcast Quality?
When you think of setting up your social media content team or want to make video content on your own, people often assume that large boom arm microphones are the default, with directional cardioid polar patterns and the full works.
However, the pickup quality of a Lavalier Mic can be just as good!
The MCP150, for example, uses HF pickup to recreate audio within 1dB of its original volume and create an authentic, lifelike recording. By using USB, USB-C and 3.5mm cables different Lavalier Mics may vary in the way they carry the data, but it will be preserved via cable communication rather than distorted and interfered wirelessly.
How To Make a Lavalier Mic Sound Good
While the microphones themselves are engineered with HF recording and fast data cables, there are some tricks and tips you can enact yourself in your use of the mic to really make the recording pop.
Using a Lavalier Mic Muff
First, make sure you take any extra accessories into account such as a Lavalier Muff. These small foam coverings envelop the microphone and keep it from suffering pops and clicks from physical impacts (Particularly when moving and talking at the same time).
The muff has the added bonus of being a wind guard too, so you can protect recordings from annoying droning background noise that you’d have had to remove in post. In these ways, a simple microphone muff can increase signal to noise ratio dramatically.
How To Correctly Position a Lapel Mic
Secondly, you need to position the microphone the correct distance from your mouth (Or the source of the recorded audio such as guitar strings, woodwind tone holes, etc) to ensure the sound waves are correctly dispersed and picked up. Too close, and the sound will be “fuzzy” and distorted, while if the Lavalier is placed too far away then the sound will be quiet and choppy.
Make sure you look at the specifications of the specific clip-on mic you are using. For example, in the case of the MCP150 you should aim for the mic to be 15 - 20cm from the audio source, and it can be facing any direction (The mic is omnidirectional).
Use Decent Recording Software
Thirdly, you can improve the recording either in real-time or in post with software.
The hardware side of recording an interview, filming a video or narrating a voice-over is only so adjustable. Once your mic is set up correctly and your actors / performers are accounting for the microphone then you can’t go too far wrong.
Therefore, improving the quality in post can be a good way to go. The phrase “in post” simply means “in post-production” referring to work done on the recording once it is already made. This can include balancing the audio levels to better highlight a certain voice, removing background noise, equalising volumes so that people further from the mic sound equidistant, and more.
The Lavalier mic will record directly through the cable onto your device or storage unit, and you can then alter that file as you choose. The software you use is up to you, with background audio and equalisation being available in many free programs such as Audacity and Filmora.
What is a Lavalier Mic For?
A clip-on mic presents a huge array of possibilities. The microphone can be attached to a collar or lapel, but equally can be used for recording in a vehicle or other small enclosed space. A Lavalier microphone is tiny and light, and in the case of the MCP150 the 1.5m cable provides the freedom to place it exactly where you need.
From journalists chasing down an interview to your social media content creator hitting upon an idea for a Story, having access to instant, high-quality audio recording will change the business for the better.
Lavalier Microphones from £14.95
The MCP150 lapel mic that we used for some examples here is available for £14.95, which I bring up not to shove the price in your face but to demonstrate that you can upgrade your recording quality for a pittance. This particular model uses a USB / USB-C adaptor to connect straight into tablets, mobiles, laptops and iPads making professional recording possible anywhere you need.
Investing in a recording studio and content team can be a tough choice, but getting the gear you need to make your own start and maximise your current content is a much simpler choice.