Camera-mounted parabolic microphone brings focused sound to video recordings
Wildlife film makers can attach a shotgun microphone to a handheld camera while out and about, but might not be able to zero in on the sounds of distant subjects. Dodotronic has launched a camera-mounted parabolic mic that's designed to do just that.
The Hi-Sound Compact is the brainchild of Italy's Ivano Pelicella, who founded a company called Dodotronic in 2003 to design and build quality parabolic and ultrasonic microphones.
Pelicella says that he was inspired to create a portable audio recording solution after meeting wildlife photographers at a recent exhibition in Spain. Though they hauled pricey high-end cameras and lenses with them on shoots, top-notch microphones seemed to be absent from their kits.
Some might take an audio recorder and parabolic microphone with them for focused sound recording, but having to work a camera and such audio equipment on their own could prove challenging. The Hi-Sound Compact was designed to make things easier.
It's a camera-specific flavor of Dodotronic's Hi-Sound DR stereo parabolic model, and retains the transparent polycarbonate reflectors that focus sound waves to microphone capsules in a similar way to how radio waves are received by a satellite dish.
The device attaches to the shoe mount of a camera and is plugged into the microphone jack, allowing wildlife videographers, field researchers, sports reporters and folks involved in investigative work or surveillance to not only zoom in on a subject using the camera lens but also pick up otherwise inaudible sounds "with stunning quality and with little noise."
The Hi-Sound Compact features two 9.7-mm-diameter (0.38-in) mic capsules calibrated as a matched pair for a signal-to-noise ratio of 80 dB, -24-dB sensitivity, 110-dB SPL and offer "true 20 Hz to 20 kHz performance." Each capsule is mounted on the opposite side of the device's mid-frame and directed to the reflector's center, where the incoming sound is concentrated.
In addition to mounting directly to a camera, the Hi-Sound Compact can also be attached to a tripod. The setup is powered by the camera or audio recorder it's plugged into, so doesn't require additional batteries. And all in, the device tips the scales at a very portable 300 g (10.5 oz), and a bespoke travel case has been developed to offer in-the-field protection. A handy windshield is also included in the package.
The project is currently raising production funds on Kickstarter, where pledges start at €200 (about US$215). The usual crowdfunding caveats apply, but if all goes to plan shipping is estimated to start in May. The video below has more.