What's a good/cheap external microphone for my Kodak Zi8 camera?
February 25, 2011 11:43 AM   Subscribe

What's a good/cheap external microphone for my Kodak Zi8 camera?

I have a Kodak Zi8 camera which has an external microphone input, I want to buy a microphone but I have no idea where to start!

The internal microphone is pretty good (as you can see in my previous videos the microphone rarely distorts). I mainly film punk, hardcore and indie concerts, and often from either on the stage/next to it or near it so I need a microphone that can handle very loud noise.

I did find out about the Sony ECM-DS70P, but then i've seen a couple of bad things about it, so I was just wondering if anyone has any better suggestions or advice?

Ideally it should be a small microphone as the camera is only a Flip style one, so a huge microphone may look odd! Thanks!
posted by rinsemedown to Technology (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What kind of budget are we talking about?
posted by jjb at 11:46 AM on February 25, 2011

Response by poster: Sorry I forgot to mention! I guess around £0-100! I can't see myself going over £100 really.
posted by rinsemedown at 11:50 AM on February 25, 2011

Depending on your budget, Zoom recorders are pretty much the gold standard for this sort of thing. You'll have to do some editing after the fact to get the sound back into your video, but I'm told that the results from this process are much, much better than anything you can get with a camera-mic.
posted by schmod at 12:06 PM on February 25, 2011

Best answer: You've got basically three options, a basic external recorder with built-in mics, a cheap pro mic that you adapt to the 1/8" jack on the Kodak, or a little mic meant to go on the camera like the one you linked. I'd lean to the first option.

The Zoom H1 or the Tascam DR-07 are both around $100US, but they've both got pretty terrible handling noise if you're holding them. But, moving around with any stereo mic / recorder can give you a screwy sound perspective, so you're better off locking it down somewhere, perhaps on a tripod closer to the sound booth to capture the audience's perspective of the sound. You can then mix that in post with the internal mic of the recorder if you need some of the on-stage / backstage sound. Sync is really not hard, a simple hand clap captured by both recording devices will give you a peak to sync to.

The other option would be a basic dynamic mic like an SM58 or 57 and a cable to adapt down to the 1/8" and possibly defeat that plug-in-power from the cam, if it's not switchable in the camera's options. Plug in power (not to be confused with Phantom Power) can damage mics that aren't intended to use it. The problem is, dynamics are heavy, and you have to work out some kind of mounting rig.

The little mics like the sony you linked aren't really going to be much of an improvement over the pinhole mic already on the camera.
posted by jjb at 12:20 PM on February 25, 2011

Just wanted to say that as a hobbyist in music recording, I would be shocked if the Zi8 could provide enough amplification for something like a SM57. Those mics specifically require a pretty high amount of gain for any sort of usable signal, and I just can't see the pocket cam handling that.

The standalone recorder would be ideal.

Agree that the Zi8 has decent sound internally, I've used mine to record some musical events and I was always impressed with the sound it delivered.
posted by DMan at 3:48 PM on February 25, 2011

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