Learn the Six Different Microphone Pickup Patterns via Video & Spinning 3D Courtesy of PremiumBeat & Videomaker.

by Karin Gottschalk1 Comment

Who knew? There are six, yes SIX! different essential microphone pickup patterns. And every filmmaker should know them, according to Caleb Ward, Online Content Manager at PremiumBeat, one of my go-to destinations for curated royalty-free music. That go-to URL publishes articles by one of my go-to moviemaking bloggers, Noam Kroll.  Even better.

TheBeat, a blog produced by Mr Ward and his team, has proven to be a great place to find out about items other such industry sites have missed. Microphone pickup patterns is just one of them.

I have been aware of the crucial three for moviemaking since I first picked up a mic years ago – stereo cardioid, cardioid and super cardioid. Each is illustrated in two dimensions in an article I wrote about Røde’s VideoMicro hotshot-mounted cardioid microphone. I have used lavaliers almost as long as any other microphone, but nobody of my acquaintance ever referred to them as omnidirectional. Thank you for that information, PremiumContent.

Another mic pattern new to me? Lobar or unidirectional, the most directional pickup pattern of them all, and one where you better have a really great boom operator handy. Oh and then there are bidirectional and hypercardioid to complete the list of six.

Mr Ward completes his enormously informative article with a video from the folks at Videomaker.com, and illustrates it with spinning 3D wireframe images of each pickup pattern to really reinforce the similarities and differences between each one. NOW I understand. And now I will remember. [bctt tweet=”Learn & remember six different mic pickup patterns courtesy of PremiumBeat & Videomaker.”]

6 Microphone Pickup Patterns Every Filmmaker Should Know

Via Premium Beat:

Don’t pick the wrong mic! Find out when to use certain microphones by learning these six essential microphone pickup patterns.

A film is only as good as its audio. While it can be easy to get captivated by the visual side of a film, audio should be high on the priority list of any director or producer. Bad audio can quickly turn off an already distracted audience, so it’s important to pick the right mic for the job. Let’s take a look at six essential microphone pickup patterns that every filmmaker should know.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when recording audio on a film set. You will likely want to bring a good assortment of lavs and shotgun mics to accommodate different shooting scenarios on set.

1. Omnidirectional

Perfect for: interviews, moving subjects


Omnidirectional mics are the easiest to understand. Simply put, omnidirectional mics record audio from every direction. Typically you will want to use an omnidirectional mic when recording audio that you can’t control very well (like ambience, a press conference, or a moving talking head). Omnidirectional mics are the most flexible mics, but they are also the noisiest. It’s certainly a balancing act when on set. In a filmmaking context, you will almost exclusively see omnidirectional pickup patterns in lav mics.

Omni-Mic JPG

Notable omnidirectional mics:

2. Cardioid

Perfect for: documentary recording, weddings, events


A cardioid pickup pattern is a highly flexible pickup pattern that is great for all-purpose use. Cardioid microphones come in all shapes and sizes. A cardioid mic, while slightly directional, should not be confused with a hypercardioid or supercardioid mic. Cardioid mics will still pickup background noise if they are not in a controlled environment.


Notable cardioid mics:

Read full list at Premium Beat “6 Microphone Pickup Patterns Every Filmmaker Should Know”

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(cover photo credit: snap from Premium Beat)


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