Is the Rode VideoMic Pro the king of the video microphones?
When you enter the market looking to purchase a microphone it can be a daunting place. The terminology is immediately confusing with talk of condensers, dynamics, cardoids and directionals. It feels like you're like a child walking into the middle of a movie with no frame of reference.
If you are reading about this microphone it is likely that you want to shoot some video and capture great sound. With Rode now being such a respected manufacturer of microphones it is safe to trust them that this is the right kind of microphone to do that. And indeed it is, it is a directional, condenser microphone that will capture the sound from the direction it is pointing in.
The Rode VideoMic Pro is specifically designed for use with a camera. It attaches to the hot shoe flash mount and has a 3.5mm jack that will attach directly into your camera or portable audio recorder like a Zoom H4N. It comes with an included shock mount to reduce some of the clicks and knocks that naturally occur from the camera, like focusing and zooming. If you buy the Rode VideoMic Pro today it ships with the new and improved Rycote® Lyre® shock mount.
The actual microphone is covered by a foam cover and this cannot be removed. It sits nicely on the shock mount and has this short wire to connect to your camera or audio recorder. Many reviews mention the flimsiness of this wire. Whist it certainly isn't a robust wire I have had it for a few years now and I have never had any issues and there is no sign of it breaking or snapping.
Round the back and it reveals the biggest strength of this camera that makes it perfect for shooting video with your camera. It has a switch that will add 20db of gain to your audio. This lets you manually turn down the gain in your camera, effectively reducing noise that is normally created by the poor audio circuits in your camera. This is a killer feature and for many the sole reason they buy this mic. You can also reduce the mic gain by 10 db to properly record very loud audio sources like concerts.
In addition to this it also has a selectable hi-pass filter that reduces low end noise such as traffic and other background sounds and this is just another nice little feature that will improve your overall sound.
These features do require power though and this brings me onto the only real weakness of the Rode VideoMic Pro. This is a portable microphone so a 9v battery is used to power it up. Although it claims to have 70 hours of use there is no auto-off feature so when you’re finished filming if you forget to turn it off you can be left without power the next time you come to shoot.
This has happened to me a few times before and can be potentially prevent you from capturing the moment. I now just carry a spare 9V battery so it never happens again.
So all in all this is an excellent video microphone that gets a full 5 star review from me. There are smaller and cheaper alternatives out there. There are also video microphones out there that do not require power so if you think the batteries may be a problem for you it might worth looking at alternatives such as the rode video micro or the Sennheiser MKE 400 Shotgun Microphone.
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