Amen! Film Flap asks: “Where, Oh Where, Has the Mic Input Gone?”

If you want to do anything remotely related to serious video work, it is arguably the most important jack to have on a camcorder: the mic input. Why? Because unless you’re shooting in a phone booth, or super-extreme-close-up, your camera is farther away from your subject than you want your mic to be. If you use the on-camera mic you get good picture, but crappy echoey audio that picks up too much background noise. Unless you’re shooting something silent, you want your mic as close to your subject as possible, even if it’s a $30 lavaliere from Radio Shack on a long cord.

But mic jacks have been disappearing from camcorders under $1000.

So, I’m just as frustrated as Film Flap’s Eggleston, who is trying to find a decent new camcorder with a mic jack:

This recent development leads me to a bit of a rant. Why has the mic input (and its brother the headphone jack) become scarce? How much money and camera size is really saved by eliminating these very useful connections? Could it be a steady diet of crappy clips has desensitized the public to quality? My guess is that most people don’t care. Joe Six Pack never used that little hole anyway, so why start now?

So, when looking for a camera to buy or borrow, make sure you get a mic input. The “fast-cam” is great for shooting spontaneous stuff, but would be even better if you could interview someone without having to jam the camera up their nose so you can understand what they are saying. A cheap external mic is better than the most expensive built-in one.



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