The Best Microphone Is The One You Have

Posted by Luke Farroh on

Field Recording Trip

I was working as a sound editor on a film and needed to go out on a field recording trip to record various elements of vehicles driving on gravel roads. I started packing all of my gear, warm clothes,  and a cup of coffee and began the thirty-minute drive outside of town to where it’s dead quiet.
After I got there, I began setting up my equipment microphone stands, blimps, and changing my settings on my field recorder.
The one thing I forgot, if not the most important - A microphone.
(This is an excellent example that you should always have an equipment checklist.)
I forgot to pack my RODE NTG3, what do I do? How will I record the various elements that I will need like interiors, static pass-bys, and foley? I didn’t want to retake the drive.
The only other microphones that I had on me were my pair of Line Audio CM3’s. I grabbed one of them, put it into my RODE blimp, and pressed record. Does the Line Audio CM3 hold up and compare to the RODE NTG3? A 699$ USD Microphone VS a 125$ Microphone? Should the title of this article be “How To Record Amazing Sounds On A Budget”? 
The problem is, these are the wrong questions to ask.
The question should be, “How does it sound?”

Context Is Key

There’s a whole mixture of sounds within just one short scene set in the countryside, surrounded by a vast forest, and traveling inside a truck driving down a small gravel road. Winds, birds, leaves rustling on the trees, cloth movement of the driver, keys jingling in the ignition, trucks engine, interior of the truck, tires on gravel, Rocks, pebbles, and dirt hitting various parts of the truck, and much more was needed to be recorded.
There are so many other sounds happening around or at the same time in the scene and recording and creating sound effects that fit the context of the scene that helps tell the story; That is what’s most important.
So much is happening in such a simple scene that no single sounds really stand out, they blend and gel together in a great way.
After the editing and mixing process, I know that no one would be able to tell what sounds I recorded with my Line Audio CM3 versus what I recorded with my NTG3.


1. Have you had to use a cheaper microphone or possibly a different microphone that you wanted to use to get the job done?
2. What are some examples of sound effects that work well within the context of a scene than what they sound like by themselves?
Let's start a discussion below!

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