New Mics for streaming!

A mic that hears near and far? How is this possible?

A lot of people ask me questions about mirrorless streaming cameras. There are so many now and many price points, so this ends up being a detailed conversation based on the aesthetics (and wallet) of the person asking.

Interestingly, hardly anyone asks about mics and audio. However, have you ever tried to listen to a radio station, or TV when the audio isn’t very clear? It’s a terrible experience, and the listener will turn it off faster than the speed of light if they can’t hear well.

So what kind of mic should I invest in?

A lot of cameras have mics built-in, but that really is not the way to go if you want superior control and sound. And, hey! If you’re making a video that you later want to make an audio podcast from, you really should invest in something that will sound fantastic.

What aesthetic are you going for?

A lot of my clients do not like the look of a mic on their table or right in shot so the viewer can see it. It’s understandable since that can make the viewer feel a bit “distant” from the talent (you). They like the warmth and intimacy of appearing like they are talking to their audience across a coffee table, with no mic in the way.

Some DO like to look like they are in a studio, complete with a mic and the windscreen in front of the mic. They feel it makes them seem more like broadcast professionals.

A quick lesson on mics: Mics have listening patterns

The round, globe like pick up patter of the Omni Directional Mic.

Omni Directional

The omnidirectional polar pattern (it looks like a globe – called omni for short) is the easiest to understand. It picks up all sound uniformly around the mic, regardless of direction. The microphone in your phone is a common example of an omni mic. Typically you will want to use an omnidirectional mic when recording audio that you can’t control very well (like ambiance, a press conference, or a moving talking head). Omnidirectional mics are the most flexible mics, but they are also the noisiest.

The heart shaped pattern of the cardiod mic.  This image shows how the cardioid mic hears mostly whatever its pointing to, and not much from the rear of the mic.

Cardioid listening pattern (heart shaped)

This pattern is a highly flexible pickup pattern that is great for all-purpose use. Cardioid microphones come in all shapes and sizes. Though they are “cleaner” capturing you voice compared to an Omni, Cardioid mics will still pick up background noise if they are not in a controlled environment.

The Hypercardioid mic almost looks like a mushroom, with the top of the mushroom pointing to what you want recorded, and the stem of the mushroom closer to the opposite side.

Hypercardioid mic pattern, aka mini shotgun.

A hypercardioid pickup pattern is a directional pickup pattern that is great for isolating audio. Typically you’ll only see this heart-shaped pickup pattern in shotgun mics (the long narrow mics typically seen in film production). This pattern these mics pick up is perfect for on-camera mics, documentary recording, and instrument recording. The biggest difference between a hypercardioid mic and a supercardioid mic is how much of the rear and side noise is picked up. Hypercardioid mics are typically used for instrument recording.

Bi-Directional pickup pattern

A bidirectional microphone (also known for its “figure 8” pickup pattern) is a mic designed to pick up audio equally from the front and back of the mic. Typically, bidirectional microphones are used for radio interview recording or podcasting. They can be used as a backup mic for talk shows when placed on the hosts’ desk.

Ok, but what is a good mic for a podcaster/vlogger/streamer?

I used to use a little tiny “shotgun” mic that fits nicely into the hot shoe (the top metal part) of the camera where a flash could go, and then plug that into an audio jack on the camera. The camera audio and video connect to the computer via a cam link, so this will go “on air.” Because you plug into the camera, you don’t tend to get audio sync problems.

The Rode mics have a great rep in the industry and do a good job.

This is a photo of the Rode mic and the camera it is mounted on from the photographer's point of view. The power and setting of the mic are displayed.
This is the Rode Video Mic Pro Plus

This mic, placed about 9 inches from my mouth, pointing up at me from my desk has the benefit of…when I turn my camera off, the mic automatically gets turned off. No more flat battery before a big stream!

It does pick up a little bit of room noise, like the slight buzz from my lights.

Another popular podcasting mic: The Blue Yeti

You may have heard of this little mic. It was my first podcaster mic and its still very serviceable.

The Blue Yeti mic has its own stand. This model has Omni, Bi-Directional and Cardioid modes, and you can plug your headphone into it.

The Blue Yeti Condenser Mic. With an Omni, Cardioid and Bi-Directional setting on the mic, along with its own headphone jack, it is a great entry mic to podcasting around $100.

If you are interested in a more PROFESSIONAL sound, a richer, deeper sound, you either need to get up close to the mic and speak into it, risking the audience seeing your mic. (Unless you use a lavaliere mic,the clip-on kind like newscasters use, or, a wireless lavaliere mic. More on that in another post.)

There is a NEW(ish) mic on the market that can capture sound “near and far” so you can keep your coffee-talk aesthetic, and sound better, clearer, and more professional.

Enter: Shure MV7.

A close up of the Shure mic, pointing at the viewer, hanging from a mic arm. Green lights are displayed near the soft mic cover the user speaks into.
At $224 plus tax, this is a great mic at a very reasonable price for the quality.

If you want the mic up close, in the shot, you can do that. Or, you can have it out of shot on their “far mode” and it should sound wonderful in both placements.

Shure suggests that you can set the far mode to 6-18″ and it should still pick up well as if it is right in front of you. You can get the great quality of a podcaster mic without it being in shot.

You can connect this mic with the (professional audio) XLR cable, a USB connection, or a headphone cable. XLRs are what the broadcast pros use and deliver wonderful audio. However, if you’re using an XLR it is probably because you’re putting that mic, via the XLR cable into a mixer so you can play with the audio and sweeten it any way you like.

The Shure SM7B is an XLR (bigger brother) to this mic if you’re looking for super pro mics.

Using an XLR ensures you will not have any mic delay or syncing issues.

Keeping things simple?

Assuming you are streaming just you, and you don’t have a guest, then I’d just plug-in using the USB connection. That way, the app will be enabled and you can select near/far and more through the app. (Mic position, tone, or auto settings).

This does introduce a mic delay, however, which is a nightmare for live streams and Zooming. That is when you will need to go into your streaming software and use the Mic Delay. Some software uses a “virtual mic” select the virtual mic and this will make sure you won’t have a delay.

If you’d like to chat about mics, lights, cameras, streaming software, and graphics – all of which YOU CAN DO – I’m happy to chat for a complimentary 30 minutes. 😀

Live Streaming for Wellness Professionals

Hi friends,

“Your service is guiding a client through a first video endeavor from start to finish. You took the fear out of my hesitation to do video. Yes, it was a lot of work for us to write the content and present but we wouldn’t look good without your skills, patience, and compassion. “

Presenter #1 was in Fresno, California. Presenter #2 was in Alameda, California, 206 miles away. Behind the scenes, in San Francisco, (12 miles from Alameda)

I was operating the whole production: graphics, music, intro, video, live on Zoom, Facebook and YouTube all at the same time to their audience. ***** Because of the C-19 quarantine I wasn’t able to shoot the demo videos, but I coached my clients on how to do it. ***** Enjoy!

This is session 3 out of 3. Please check out the public Facebook group: “Learning to be Centered During Challenging Times” for all three parts.

Here’s what my clients, Denise Cicuto Acupuncture and Kate Jones, Somatic Body Centered Therapist said:

“Alison is kind, thorough, & professional. She is also compassionate and patient which helped so much because my colleague Kate and I are so new to video. Alison delivered the final versions of our videos very quickly. We kept saying Alison is a rock star at what she does. Maybe it would be more precise to say that Alison is a rock who made us shine like stars.”

“What you promised me when we first discussed ‘playing’ with video is what you delivered – a seamless video presentation with captions and subtitles and slides and music. It all looked great to us.”

Contact me: info@alisonvictor.com, and let’s get you streaming!

Set up a single shop across Facebook and Instagram, Customers can buy in real time during live streams, and MORE…

Images of Facebook shopping on a cell phone screen

New this week (for people who sell physical items)!

Businesses will be able to set up a single online store  that will be a unified presence for customers to seamlessly experience your shop across Facebook + Instagram + Stories + ads ( with plans to include Messenger + WhatsApp).

This means that your viewers can also shop in REAL TIME while you are STREAMING LIVE on Facebook and Instagram! This also means customer service, tracking, inventory – all will be available via Messenger, Instagram Direct or WhatsApp.

Partnerships have been established with Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce and several more sites. Let’ say you already have a Shopify store, you can import your inventory/collections into Facebook Shops. (But don’t trade in one for another – keep your platform you’re on….it’s better to diversify in case of outage, or tech issues, or ??)

Facebook is rolling this out in the USA now on Facebook. By Summer 2020, if you already have a business page on Instagram, you’ll get an email from Facebook telling you they’ve converted you over.

HERE’S AN EXPLAINER VIDEO FROM FACEBOOK: for business owners who want to jump on this now.

Social Media, Video Marketing & Live Streaming News

LIVE STREAMING NEWS Announcements!

FACEBOOK – in its bid to compete with ZOOM , has now released Messenger Rooms! Perhaps this is a response to the ZOOM privacy controversy and the need for Yoga Studios, Dance studios, Teachers, everyone needing a Zoom-Like system.

Messenger Rooms hold up to 50 people at a time. It should be free to use (though you may have to pay for additions, like sharing features for a fee – not known at this time). There is no set time limit on Messenger Rooms.

People can join even if they don’t have a Facebook account.

HOW?

You can share out your invite with a link from Messenger, no downloading needed for the viewers! The viewer can join by sharing through groups, events, or personal profile! You can start Messenger Room & let people in and private room join. You will be able to do this from Instagram, and the Facebook Portal, too. The viewer will just click a link and …you’re in! Then you can have effects, bunny ears and mouse noses…360’s and mood lighting.

When you create a room you can choose to see who can join you. You can remove people, and lock a room, mute all attendees. It is not clear yet if the sharing screen could be something you pay for, or if it is built in.

Messenger Rooms is rolling out in some countries this week…rest of the world in the coming weeks.

LIVE WITH – was a program that was retired, and now it is BACK! This is so you can go live with video by phone only (no other gear) and you could do a phone interview and spread the Live with your audience and theirs. Can connect on the phone ONLY, and have live conversations

Live with Facebook PAGES: you can now go live with a profile! For example: I can go LIVE with (my profile) but you can’t add another page through LIVE WITH.

Facebook’s PORTAL is a Facebook camera that is on a stand and allows you to video call with another user. The camera automatically follows you around,. You don’t need a mic – there’s one built in. NOW, you will be able to go live from the Portal, too! You can do the live from there to profiles, but now you can go to live to your page and group.

Businesses can now Charge for live streams. This is happening in EVENTS, so when you create events you have an option to go live from there. Your strategy model should be that you give away free content (downloads, pdf’s, free lives to offer some value to answer pain points your customers have (FAQ), then have a paid workshops . Facebook hasn’t announced if they will charge for this service.

NEW: Audio only option: Facebook are making it easier to access live video so you can still join in if you are having Internet issues. Say you have buffering problems, or not enough data to watch a live. The audience will then be able to turn on AUDIO ONLY as a viewer, so you don’t use up a lot of data and bandwidth with the video, but you can hear using your phone. The pages in Facebook shares the toll free number to your audience for you. I, as a page, can share that number Facebook gives me – I don’t have to set anything up! This is found In Facebook Producer, and is available now.

STARS: This is a way to financially support more creators in Facebook! These are super chats where you can support your creator by donation. The creators earn 1 cent for 1 star. Facebook live is adding donation button to Facebook LIVE. Instead of sending people off to donate somewhere else, it will be integrated into Facebook live!!!

Instagram LIVE UPDATE! Now, as a content producer, you get a link, so you share and promote commenting on Instagram videos from a Desktop. Instagram LIVE usually disappears after 24 hours from your profile, but now you can share that video to LIVE on IGTV. They are promising that they will make it “easier for finding for viewers.” Currently, there is no expiration for IGTV videos!

Now is the time to shift your business! Now is a good time to look at new ways to create business that will help you survive through this C19 time, and set you up for future financial models. You have a BIG opportunity online NOW. I am happy to help guide you in this mission! Contact me:

Alison.Victor@gmail.com, Instagram: @avmultimedia, Twitter: @AVMultimedia