Most often when you’re making your video, you’re going to be gathering audio to go along with it.  Audio is an important part of your final product, and it’s very easy to mess it up.  Today on Reel Rebel, Stephen Schweickart begins his 2-part review of microphones for capturing great audio, starting with an overview of what a shotgun mic is, why it's one of the most popular types of microphones, and how to properly use it.

Overview of Shotgun Microphones

A shotgun mic is a long, cylindrical microphone that excels at picking up sounds in front of it, as it rejects sounds to the sides and rear. Shotguns have a narrower focus than an average microphone. They do a great job of picking up the frequencies the human voice produces. Their sound grabbing and voice-capturing abilities make them a great choice for picking up on-camera dialog.


  • A shotgun mic will help you to eliminate clothes rustles.  When you use a lapel mic, you can hear the rustling of your clothes on your video.  You won’t have that with a shotgun mic.
  • You’ll be able to pick up more ambient and natural tones.  If the mic is properly pointed at the sternum, not the mouth.


  • Someone usually has to hold a shotgun mic.  This can be difficult if you’re working on a tight budget.  Sometimes you may not be able to pay someone to do that for you.
  • Shotgun mics can also limit your video size.  When you’re shooting a video, if you go too wide, you’ll catch the boom operator in your shot.

Stay tuned for part 2, where we will cover proper use of a lapel or lavalier mic.