In part B of our first ProCourse, we’ll be talking about condenser microphones. This kind of microphone is one you would see on a film set, but you wouldn’t usually see it in the shot of the movie.

The Sennheiser MKE600, for example, is a very directional condenser microphone. Now, what does that mean? Well, a condenser microphone is very sensitive, so it is very good at picking up very subtle sounds. Directionality means that if we step out of the microphone’s axis of sound, then we no longer hear ourselves as clearly as we would before. This shotgun microphone is very good at picking up the sounds that you intended to get and also good at rejecting the ones you don’t want to get. That makes it ideal for use in situations where you can have a lot of ambient sound.

Now, with condenser microphones, there’s one very important thing that you need to note— they require power. This power is something we call phantom power, which we usually see displayed as “ +48 volts ” . This power would usually be provided by your recorder. The MKE600 has a feature that you usually don’t find in other shotgun microphones; a bay that can house a 1.5V AA battery. With the power from the AA battery, you could use this particular microphone without connecting it to an external recorder and instead, with the right cable, just connect it directly to your camera.