If you’re thinking of getting into filmmaking or are looking to upgrade your current kit to include high-quality audio, adding a mic should be a no-brainer. While your DSLR or mirrorless will likely have an in-built mic, it won’t be able to record at anywhere near the quality of a dedicated mic.
A popular choice with filmmakers is a Rode mic, which is ideal for anyone keen to take video more seriously. The Rode VideoMic Pro+ can be easily popped on top of your camera’s hotshoe and provides clear, quality audio with much less noise from factors such as the lens, internals and handling, due to the improved suspension mount.
Retailing at £229, the VideoMic Pro+ is larger than the VideoMic Pro, but is it better? I took it for a spin at the IBC show in Amsterdam and I’m sure anyone who has been to the broadcast event before would agree that these are tough conditions to record in. With hundreds of brands crammed into exhibition halls, there’s music, machines and voices, all fighting for attention at various audio levels. And if you’re grabbing footage run-and-gun style, with little to no opportunity to mic up using a lavalier system, a quality directional on-camera mic like this is a must.
So what features have been added that would help me out in the Netherlands? The suspension system has been upgraded, and the mic can now automatically turn on and off with your camera – meaning it’s much easier to avoid that stomach-churning feeling of forgetting to turn your mic on and of course saves power when it’s turned off, too. The battery compartment has been improved, making it easier to use, but also now includes a lithium-ion battery pack, which is rechargeable. Lasting for up to 100 hours, you’ll get plenty of shooting time and charging is easy though a micro USB. I shot for two days non-stop and didn’t have to recharge, but just in case, I carried a handful of AA batteries as a safety measure as the Pro+ will take these, which is a welcome addition. It’s also worth mentioning it will take charge through the aforementioned micro USB and an external powerpack.
The supplied 3.5mm cable is detachable, so you can easily customise the length you need for your camera type. I was shooting with a Fujifilm X-T3, so the ability to use a shorter cable on a mirrorless camera is great. A colourful light system on the back changes depending on the settings, and what battery type is detected, which also to lets you know how much charge is left. With the settings, you can choose from 75Hz or 150Hz from the two-stage high-pass filter on the left, and on the right, you can boost to +20 or lower the decibels by -10 with the three-stage gain control. There’s also a high frequency boost, ideal for shooting in windy environments – plus a new safety channel feature for use when booming the mic to avoid losing precious audio in unpredictable audio conditions and to make sure the audio doesn’t clip when unexpected spikes occur. This clever function takes the right channel and lowers it by -10 decibels, allowing you to take audio from the safety track after shooting if needed.
Sturdy, compact and simple to use, but powerful in its audio delivery, the Rode VideoMic Pro+ would be a welcome addition to any videographer’s kitbag.