Thursday, May 04, 2017

Wild Audio

I never agreed that the on-board GoPro mic was all that bad – even muted by the cases – waterproof and otherwise, but there were a lot who complained that the camera produced crap audio.

Sennheiser has come up with a solution. The Action Mic for GoPro Hero 4.

Wind screen
It’s not cheap – $200. For that you get the mic, connections, waterproof back door for Hero 4, two spacers, and an innovative windshield

Unlike a dead cat or standard foam wind screen – this one is immersible in water – no problem.

Cute as a box of puppies
Take your waterproof Hero 4 case, remove the backdoor, snap on the Action Mic’s backdoor, plug the connection into the usb mic slot on the camera, if you’re not using the battery backpack, add the blue spacer, carefully close up the back door – mind the wire and make sure the seal is good and even all the way round. *

I live next to a creek, so I fitted up my Hero 4 Black, and took the whole thing for a trial run. Nothing exciting, like boating over a cliff, just a dip and dunk in the creek.

First, I tested the audio around all sides of the camera – clear, distinct with no fall off when the mic was on the far side. Then down into the creek we went.

Wow. It was loud. The little tink-tink-tink sounds are debris hitting the mic. This creek moves pretty fast.

Afterwards, disassembled and allowed (as advised) to air dry. Pretty cool. 

I plan to mount the rig on the front of my kayak, control it with the remote and I’ll probably get excellent audio of fish jumping, birds chirping and me swearing at the power boat people. Once Montana decides to give us some summer.

The only down side I see is, rigged with the mic, the GoPro is a sizable chunk of wind resistant object. Although the mic handles the wind well, some people might object to the size with regards to weight and balance. 

Although, I am nobody’s audio expert, I have been experimenting with adding a mic to the GoPro for a quite a while. Here is what I’ve tried.

Olympus, Rode, iGo and a Takstar. The Rode’s the best by far. The Olympus is okay. The iGo is convenient but average (especially when the other camera is mic'd with the Rode. And the Takstar was when I was shooting video with a DSLR and let’s just say, I don’t do that anymore. And of course, none of these are waterproof.

Sennheiser’s Action Mic is an expensive but excellent solution for great audio in all weather video.

* I’m a worrier.

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