Vloggers, YouTubers, documentarians, and filmmakers all have different needs when it comes to tech.
However, the make or break commonality to all modern platforms for video and film is – if you try to upload or sell content with crappy audio, your project is going to be dead in the water.
That’s why today, you’re going to learn all about the best shotgun mic for film options.
Just a couple of decades ago, you needed thousands of dollars if you wanted to gear up to make a film of any kind. But now, thanks to recent advancements in technology, just about anyone can be a filmmaker.
While that news is incredibly exciting for those of you getting into the game, it’s also a little daunting because the competition is fierce. After all, YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world after Google, with 400 hours of content uploaded every minute.
If you want to make a splash in a pond that large, you need to put out high-quality content… and that includes superior sound. So hats off to you for digging deep into this difficult-to-sort-through noise.
Today you’re going to learn about the best shotgun microphones for film for almost any budget.
Here’s what you need to know.
What Microphone Do They Use in Movies?
Sound crews primarily use shotgun microphones when shooting their films, as they mount easily to a camera or a boom arm while capturing crisp and clear vocals without background noise.
Lavaliers and other omnidirectional mics like the Rode wireless GO hide easily in clothing or other places to capture Foley sounds.
“Foley sounds” are ambiance noises, squeaky doors, swinging of fists, the swishing of clothing, footsteps, a bouncing basketball, cash registers, or engine sounds from cars.
When capturing these sounds during filming, you can dramatically reduce editing time because the sync point of footsteps or hits is seen clearly in this starting audio track.
To learn about the best omnidirectional microphones to capture these atmosphere sounds, check out this article.
The standard shotgun microphone in the industry for capturing vocal tracks (since its release in the 1970s!) has been the Sennheiser MKH416, and it is still one of the best mics around.
However, there’s a newer microphone player in town and, somehow, they are developing products that can hold their own with these long-standing microphone companies… but offer them for less.
That company is Rode, and coming in at almost 30% less than the MKH416 is the Rode NTG3B.
In This Article
- Top choice: Rode NTG3B
- Runner up: Sennheiser MKH416-P48U3
- Best Under $300: Rode NTG4+
- Best Under $200: Audio-Technica AT875R
- Best high-end: Schoeps CMIT 5
11 Top Shotgun Mics For Filmmakers
|Overall Top Choice||Rode NTG3B|
|The Runner Up||Sennheiser MKH416-P48U3|
|Best Under $300||Rode NTG4+|
|Best Under $200||Audio-Technica AT875R|
|Best High-End Shotgun Microphone||Schoeps Cmit 5|
Overall Top Choice: Rode NTG3B
Whether you’re shopping for your first shotgun mic or for your 11th, the Rode NTG3B is an absolute overall number-one contender because of its medium price range, and because it is jam-packed with awesome features… on both the inside and outside.
Worried about your mic getting wet? It is almost completely resistant to moisture, which is awesome for outdoor shoots.
One of the worst things a subject can do during an interview, or really during any sort of film, is to move around in unexpected, unplanned ways. This is what they call a ‘moving subject.’ Of course, keeping this from happening is the main goal.
But in situations where you cannot keep this from occurring, a mic like the Rode NTG3B… which has a broader pickup pattern, will tend to keep recording quality audio, even if the subject moves around and the sound source changes locations (they move their head to the side, lean back, turn slightly, etc.).
The NTG3B shotgun microphone does an awesome job of filling two different types of seats in the microphone world. On one hand, if you’re only going to own one shotgun mic, the NTG3B is an excellent mic to choose, because it is incredibly versatile.
It gives you superb audio quality… enough so that it can act as a complete arsenal in your shotgun mic toolkit.
In either case, you’ll find that the Rode NTG3B will give you a truly professional solution to your on-set sound challenges.
Key features of the Rode NTG3B:
- Length: 10″
- Weight: 0.36lbs
- Max SPL: 130dB
- Extremely low handling noise
- External RF-bias technology makes this mic almost completely resistant to moisture
- Included: aluminum storage cylinder, pop-filter, mic clip, and a large zip pouch
- 10-year warranty
The Runner Up: Sennheiser MKH416-P48U3
Whether you are looking for the best shotgun mic for vlogging, YouTube, filmmaking, etc., you can’t avoid bringing attention to one of the best mics on the marketplace… the Sennheiser MKH416-P48U3.
Have you ever wondered why the Sennheiser MKH416 has been going strong since the mid seventies? Well, probably because it is literally a powerhouse!
This product sports a more premium-level price tag (around $1,000), but it is the microphone of choice for many professional filmmakers because of that proven Sennheiser sound.
Due to the design of this mic, it has an increased amount of directivity… which means that when you point it at a sound source, it will be more likely to hone-in on the specific area you are pointing it at.
This decreases the chance for other sounds, happening to the sides, to make it onto the track.
Another fantastic feature of this mic is that it is rugged and durable. If you’re going to be shooting outside, in studios with concrete flooring, where there is the risk for dropping, moisture, or for the mic to be ‘knocked around,’ then the Sennheiser MKH416 is actually a great choice.
And finally, the Sennheiser shines in the difficult-but-critical element for beefy vocal tracks, a solid low end without boomy bass frequencies.
Features of the Sennheiser MKH416-P48U3:
- High sensitivity
- All-metal body
- Length: 9.84″
- Weight: 0.36 pounds
- Max SPL: 130 dB (A-weighted)
- Frequency response: 40Hz – 20kHz
- Very low self-noise: 13dB (A-weighted)
- Fully floating and transformerless balanced output
- RF condenser microphone ideal for inclement weather situations
Best Under $300: Rode NTG4+
If you think that you need to spend top-dollar for a decent microphone, you would be mistaken. And in case you don’t quite have the dough for our top selections, don’t worry.
This Rode NTG4+ Super-Cardioid Condenser Shotgun Microphone’s superior audio quality might be what you’re looking for.
Getting great audio is important. But getting it within your price range is sometimes a challenge. This mic fits into a workable price-range for beginners or those leveling up their craft, and delivers a ton of value for the cost.
One thing that should get your attention about this particular mic is that it has a built-in battery that you can charge with a USB charger. This makes it perfect for applications where you need to use a condenser mic, but don’t have access to phantom power.
Another really cool thing about this mic is that it has a built-in high pass filter. That basically means that sounds recorded with this mic are instantly sent through a sound filter that cuts out lower frequencies, while allowing the higher frequencies to travel through.
The main benefit of this is that it gives you crystal clear vocal tracks, which is obviously what you want when recording audio. Low end rumble can also be cut out with a high pass filter.
Features of the Rode NTG4+:
- PADS: -10dB
- Length: 10.94″
- Weight: 0.38lbs
- Broadcast quality
- Low-noise circuitry
- Max SPL: 136dB
- Low cut filter: 75Hz
- Super-cardioid pickup pattern
- Self-noise: 16dB (A-weighted)
- Full charge in less than two hours
- Frequency response: 20Hz – 20kHz
- Includes: RMS mic clip, foam windshield, ZP1 pouch, and Micro USB
- You can charge this product using your PC, power-brick, and even your car
- Built-in high-pass filter, PAD, and high-frequency boost (with easy-to-reach controls)
Best Under $200: Audio-Technica AT875R
If you find that your film budget is far smaller than you would like, this Audio-Technica AT875R Line/Gradient Shotgun Condenser Microphone is almost the least expensive option on our list today (under $200).
This microphone is ideal if you need to save your wallet without skimping on sound quality.
There is even a convenient switch located right on the mic’s housing which allows you to adjust the equalization and level controls.
If you need a real audio upgrade, but don’t have a bunch of cash to spend on it, this mic will get you an upgrade at a price point that is accessible to almost anyone.
It is designed specifically for video production, and packs in a lot of features for filmmakers.
One such feature is its ‘narrow acceptance angle.’ The pickup pattern on this mic is specifically designed to pick up focused sound from long distances away from the source.
For this reason, it is super common to see this mic mounted to the tops of cameras, or on boom stands.
Another thing that people really like about this mic is its short size. Since it is more compact, it is easier to handle while mounted to a camera or a boom arm, and can fit into situations where larger, longer mics may just be too bulky.
Features of the Rode NTG4+:
- Length: 6.89″
- Max SPL: 127dB
- Weight: 2.8oz (.18lbs)
- Line + gradient recording pattern
- Frequency response: 90Hz – 20kHz
- Excellent sound rejection from the sides and rear
- Included: AT8405a stand clamp for 5/8″ threaded stands; 5/8″-27 to 3/8″-16 threaded adapter; windscreen; two O rings; and a carrying pouch
Best High-End Shotgun Microphone: Schoeps CMIT 5 U
If you have the money for it, and you want the absolute best of the best, this Schoeps CMIT 5 U is the industry standard for many professional videographers.
You can customize this product’s tone as well as it’s predictable directionality, even when you rotate the mic. And with the three selectable filters, you can easily manage the proximity effect, boom noise, and high-frequency emphasis with the push of a button.
One feature that users really love about this mic is its ability to create a ‘balanced sonic character’ at longer distances.
That basically means that higher frequencies are picked up more directionally than you might expect as the distance from the mic increases.
In layman’s terms, this means that the directionality of the mic, coupled with its ability to pick up higher frequencies at a higher-quality level, give this mic the ability to pick up high quality, directional sound at surprising distances… while still maintaining a balanced, quality ‘character’ to the sound captured.
Another really interesting thing about the CMIT 5 U is mic is that it’s sound profile remains the same, even if it is rotated on its axis. It’s directional pattern is the same on horizontal and vertical planes.
If you’re ready to hit that top-level, this is a mic to look at.
Features of the Schoeps CMIT 5:
- Length: 9.88″
- Max SPL: 131dB
- Weight: 3.35oz (.063lbs)
- Self-noise: 13dB (A-weighted)
- Frequency range: 40Hz – 20kHz
- Rycote INV-7 InVision shock mount
- Phantom power: balanced 3-pin XRL output
- Mounting: 3/8″-16 female, 5/8″-27 female, mic clip (included)
- A rotationally symmetrical lobar super-cardioid pickup pattern
- Bass roll-off filter button: 6 dB/octave below 300 Hz (offsets proximity effect)
- High pass filter button: 18 dB/octave below 80 Hz (suppresses rumble and boom noise)
- High boost button: +5dB boost at 10kHz (decreases noise from the windscreen and increases vocals)
There are thousands of microphone options in the world. And though you’ve gotten a look at our top 5, there are still some excellent options in the shotgun mic world that barely didn’t make the cut. Here are some of our favorites.
If you need great audio in a mid-range price range, the Rode NTG-2 Dual-Powered Directional Shotgun Microphone is a definite option to consider. You even get to choose between using batteries or phantom power through the XLR cable.
- Rugged metal body
- Condenser transducer
- Super-cardioid pickup pattern
- Top-notch off-axis signal rejection
- Battery (AA) or P48 phantom power
If you like our top choice, but you don’t quite have the dough for one, this Sennheiser MKE 600 Short Shotgun Microphone bundle might be the best shotgun mic on our list for you today. This powerful package even comes with a bonus — the Sennheiser MZH600 Windshield.
Pro-tip: Only those of you with cameras that accept XLR connections will be able to use the phantom power option, unless you’re capturing audio with an external interface/recorder.
- All-metal housing
- Low battery indicator
- Pronounced directivity
- Super-cardioid polar pattern
- P48 phantom power or AA batteries with a selection knob to switch between the two
If you find yourself in noisy locations, capturing sound can be rough. This product’s extremely low noise floor, in combination with a direct-coupled balanced output, makes it ideal even in noisy and windy conditions.
You’re here because you want to take your sound to the next level. And Audio-Technica’s special (all right’s reserved) technology is going to help you do just that with the Audio-Technica BP4071 Condenser Microphone.
- Line + gradient polar pattern
- Switchable 80Hz high-pass filter
- Lightweight yet rugged aluminum alloy housing
- Transformerless design ideal for picking up transient sound
- Includes: AT8405a stand clamp for 5/8″-27 threaded stands; 5/8″-27 to 3/8″-16 threaded adapter; AT8145 windscreen; two O-rings; and a protective carrying case
If you’re looking at the price points on our other selections and having a panic attack, you’re going to love the LyxPro CMG-50 Condenser Shotgun Mic. You can pick up one of these for less than $100.
If you’re a fan of the Rode VideoMic Pro, you’re going to love the sound quality of this model.
And according to these features, the only people who will be able to tell that you went with a lower price point will be those with access to your accounts.
- Low-battery indicator
- Switchable low-cut filter
- Switchable high-pass filter
- Super-cardioid recording pattern
- Dual powered: phantom and battery
The Sony ECM678/9X is one of the most comprehensive shotgun microphones on this list today. If you’re using a small camera, this is one of the shotgun mics on our list designed just for you.
- Max SPL: 127dB
- Connector: 3-pin XLR
- Frequency response: 40Hz – 20kHz
- Super-cardioid unidirectional recording pattern
- Included: windscreen, stand adapter, short LR cable (for use with a camcorder), mic spacer, mic holder, and a carrying case
If you want to save a few bucks off of the most expensive selections on our list, the Shure VP82 might be the product for you.
- Max SPL: 137.5dB
- Premium off-axis rejection
- Frequency response: 150Hz – 20kHz
- Super-cardioid/lobar recording pattern
- Extra-wide aperture for near-field recording
Frequently Asked Questions
What Kind of Mic Is Best Used for Film Recording?
There are two main types of microphones used for film recording — shotgun mics (supercardioid) and lavalier mics (omnidirectional). Shotgun mics mount directly to your camera or to a boom arm to capture your intended vocal target, up to a certain range.
And lavalier mics are ideal when you are trying to capture one person’s voice without background noise. They are also ideal when trying to capture the sounds going on in your entire set, called Foley sounds.
What Is a Shotgun Mic Good For?
If you want to capture high-quality audio for your video content from a fair distance away, while also keeping the microphone out of the shot, a shotgun mic is perfect for you.
These microphones have a highly concentrated pickup pattern that captures the intended target while blocking out everything else that you don’t want.
What’s the Difference Between a Shotgun Mic and a Boom Mic?
A shotgun mic and a boom mic are the same things. The term “boom mic” describes when a shotgun microphone is mounted on a boom arm instead of the camera. The boom arm gives the filmmaker more freedom to capture audio that might be too far away from a stationary camera.
The Only Limit is Your Creativity
There you have it, folks, the absolute best microphones you’re going to find for putting top-notch audio in all of your video content. No matter what size your budget and camera might be, you’re going to love one of the mics on our list.