Rode (properly branded as RØDE) makes some of the most popular professional audio devices on the market today. Currently, the Rode VideoMic Pro is attached to the camera I use to record TLDR every weekday. It’s a consistent, powerful condenser microphone with enough flexibility to fit a variety of recording needs.
Rode’s microphones are known for their excellent clarity and versatility. Perhaps more so, they’re known for being popular go-to microphones for vloggers, videographers, and podcasters.
So how do you get the most out of your Rode mics? Here are eight tips to help you capture better audio, every time.
Do Sound Checks with Rode Mics Before Every Recording
Doing sound checks before you start recording is a great way to avoid those occasional hiccups that can make you throw out a perfectly good shot. If you don’t have a camera or audio device that offers live monitoring, then a quick 10-second audio check prior to shooting for real can make a world of difference. Even the slightest change in the shooting environment, such as the addition of wind or a second subject, can dramatically change the audio profile of a shot.
Monitor Recording Levels of Your Rode Mics During Shooting
If the device you’re using to record audio with the Rode microphone has a headphone jack, it should be used constantly during recording. This is essential, especially when you intend to do long-form interviews and presentations. If a subject turns their head, you need to be able to adjust the microphone’s position and levels accordingly. This is infinitely more difficult to do when you can’t hear what’s being recorded.
Consider Using Rode Mics as Boom Microphones
Rode’s shotgun microphones are very versatile. Often, a front-facing shot can be difficult to record, but a top-down approach will solve these issues in a pinch. By attaching your Rode microphone to a boom pole with an extension audio cable, you’re setting yourself up to receive even audio recording, regardless of which way the subject turns their head. You also avoid some of the ruffling and shuffling noises that happen when a subject moves their arms or legs.
Make Sure Rode Mics Are Aimed at the Correct Subject
Leaving your microphone unattended can be easy, but it doesn’t give you consistent audio. The slightest turn of the head or step to the side from a subject and their voice can drop by 10 decibels. This is a nightmare for audio engineers and editors to work around, and it can be resolved by staying on top of your microphone’s direction. If you need to leave it unattended, consider moving it a little farther away from your subject so the 45-degree field in front of it covers the entire area of potential movement. This may require some work in post, but it’ll be consistent.
Stand at Least Two Feet Away from the Subject While Recording with Rode Mics
Your subject doesn’t need to be on top of the microphone to be heard. Rode’s products are extremely resilient in noisy situations, and the right settings can yield incredible results in even the most chaotic environments. Staying two to five feet away from your subject is optimal. You can even get a little (or a lot) further away and still receive clear presence in some circumstances.
Use the High-Pass Filter in Rode Mics to Cut out Bumps and Shakes
Most Rode mics have a high-pass filter in them that cuts out some of the shakes and bumps that happen while you’re moving around with them. The sound you receive may be a little less “true,” but at least it’ll avoid the thunderous boom of a knock to the surface on which they’re sitting.
Set an Appropriate Decibel Level for Rode Mics
If your microphone has a -10, 0, +20 decibel switch on it, put it to good use. This should be the first audio level adjustment you make before fine-tuning on the recording device. You want the microphone to be set high enough to capture all of the speakers’ voices, but low enough that background noises don’t appear to overpower the subject. Cutting the dB level by 10 at a concert or adding 20 when recording a non-amplified speaker at a wedding reception can make a world of difference.
Use a Windscreen on Your Rode Mics
Many Rode mics come with a foam windscreen. You should never, under any circumstance, remove it unless you have something better to replace it with. A “dead cat” is most useful in outdoors settings on a windy day, but that foam sleeve will work in a pinch. Nothing ruins good audio faster than a burst of air across the pickup.
Do you use Rode mics regularly and have further tips you’d add to this list? Please feel free to share in the comments below!