We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is a Shotgun Microphone?

Dan Cavallari
By
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At EasyTechJunkie, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A shotgun microphone is a type of directional microphone commonly used in television and movie production; it is used to process or amplify sounds directly in front of the microphone rather than sounds from the sides or ambient sounds in a room. The narrow shape of a shotgun microphone, and its orientation when mounted on a camera, makes it appear shotgun-like, hence the name. The microphone can pick up some sound to the left, right, and rear of the mic, but it is specifically designed to pick up the most sound from the front of the microphone.

The category in which a shotgun microphone falls is the directional microphone, meaning the mic is best used to pick up sounds from a certain direction. Omnidirectional microphones, such as condenser microphones, are better used for picking up sounds from many directions and condensing them into smaller signals for processing. Condenser microphones are most useful in controlled environments such as studio spaces, while a shotgun microphone is best used on assignment in different locations, particularly in noisy locations. A person standing in front of the microphone will still be able to be heard despite a significant amount of ambient noise.

A condenser microphone can be designed to act as a shotgun microphone as well. Condenser microphones are useful for picking up quieter sounds easily by using a certain type of diaphragm that vibrates when sound waves strike it. This method can be used in a shotgun microphone, and that microphone can be used to pick up sounds at a longer distance. The microphone may still be directional, but it will be able to pick up more sounds as well as sounds from a greater distance with better clarity.

Like many other types of microphones, a shotgun microphone is often used in conjunction with a windscreen or pop filter. These devices are made of thin materials that hang over or in front of the microphone to prevent air from striking the diaphragm, causing a popping sound or loud wind sound. Shotgun mics are often mounted on television cameras that are taken out on assignment, so windscreens help prevent the microphone from being inundated with loud, annoying sounds caused by wind or the cameraman's movement. The mic can be taken off the camera itself, though it is usually mounted to the camera for ease of use. A cable must be used to connect the microphone to the camera so the sounds can be recorded.

EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Dan Cavallari
By Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari, a talented writer, editor, and project manager, crafts high-quality, engaging, and informative content for various outlets and brands. With a degree in English and certifications in project management, he brings his passion for storytelling and project management expertise to his work, launching and growing successful media projects. His ability to understand and communicate complex topics effectively makes him a valuable asset to any content creation team.
Discussion Comments
By MrMoody — On Nov 05, 2011

@Charred - I’ll just chime in here. Shotgun microphones deliver OK quality if you use them like they do in the movies, dangling them over your subject and getting as close as possible to them.

However, in my experience, camera mounted microphones don’t deliver comparable results. The cardinal rule is to get as close to your subject as possible for the best sound.

In this regard, I think that even an inexpensive USB condenser microphone, pressed close to your lips, would be better than a shotgun microphone two feet away. Of course, I guess that depends on whether you need the mobility of the shotgun microphone or not.

By Charred — On Nov 04, 2011

@hamje32 - If you’re not necessarily interested in the directional quality of a shotgun microphone, but want something that is still camera mounted and delivers good quality, consider a stereo condenser microphone mounted onto your camera.

Read some condenser mic reviews online to find the best quality. I’ll tell you one advantage that the condenser microphone has over the regular shotgun microphone is that the stereo microphone is stereo, true to its name.

You may not realize it, but most shotgun microphones are “mono,” meaning that they will only deliver sound in one channel. You can fix that in post production by swapping out the channels, so that you end up with stereo as a result, but it’s a hassle.

That’s not so with stereo microphones – it’s stereo right from the start.

By hamje32 — On Nov 04, 2011

@miriam98 - There are quite a few camcorder shotgun microphone units you can buy, all with varying degrees of quality.

I don’t have a camera mounted microphone, but I do have one that I can dangle over the subject, just like they do in the movies. I have a stand that is raised above the subject’s head and I attach the microphone to the stand.

I have a 25 foot microphone cable that hooks directly into my camcorder’s microphone jack. There is a little noise interference but I can scrub it out in post editing.

Other than that it delivers excellent sound. I don’t know if it would rival the $1,000 microphones that the professional studios use, but it’s more than adequate for my purposes.

By miriam98 — On Nov 03, 2011

Years ago I bought what’s called a “baby” shotgun microphone for my digital camcorder. I call it a baby shotgun because it’s much smaller than a regular microphone.

This shorter microphone for camcorder use is barely longer than the camcorder itself, whereas professional shotgun microphones are about the length of a pole. The advantage of having the shorter microphone is that it can be camera mounted.

A longer microphone mounted on the camera would invade the field of vision in the camera.

Anyway, although it’s shorter, it is a great directional microphone. It picks up sound from directly in front of you. Sounds from around and behind the unit, while picked up, are muffled. They sound distant, as if the microphone were far away.

I find this kind of microphone great for one on one interview situations where all I want is the subject’s voice in front of me.

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari, a talented writer, editor, and project manager, crafts high-quality, engaging, and informative content for various outlets and brands. With a degree in English and certifications in project management, he brings his passion for storytelling and project management expertise to his work, launching and growing successful media projects. His ability to understand and communicate complex topics effectively makes him a valuable asset to any content creation team.
EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.