Despite being referred to as on-camera microphones, the array of such microphones from companies like Rode, Deity, Sennheiser and others are just as capable when used as an off-camera microphone, too. However, the one problem with using them off-camera is that the cables supplied with them are extremely short. After all, they’re only designed to go from your hotshoe to your microphone socket.
Even if you do pick up a long third-party cable, these microphones aren’t designed for long cable runs. The best option is to use them wirelessly. That, too, can be tricky on the end of a boom pole. However, Caleb Pike at DSLR Video Shooter has created a great-looking solution, called the MicBack, to solve this problem with several small on-camera shotgun microphones.
What is it for?
The MicBack is essentially intended for anybody who wants to add either wireless transmission to their on-camera shotgun mics to get them off-camera or to be able to provide some redundancy recording in between the microphone and camera or entirely off-camera. There are three designs so far of the MicBack, compatible with four different microphones.
When it comes to which wireless transmitters and recorders you can attach to the MicBack, there are four of those, too. However, as one of them is the Rode Wireless GO II, I expect it’ll also fit the original Rode Wireless GO as well as the recently released Rode Wireless ME (buy here).
You can use your microphone with a wireless transmitter on the end of a boom pole above your subject and the receiver plugged into your camera. This provides a similar advantage to that you’d get with a regular XLR shotgun microphone boomed overhead of your subject. Of course, you’ll generally get much better sound with microphones built for this purpose (and usually more expensive).
The other main way to use it is with something like the tiny Zoom F2 or Tascam DR-10L field recorder to create a backup recording before the signal goes into your camera. With the DR-10L, there’s no output signal to go into your camera, so you’re relying on syncing up on post based on the in-camera mic, but the Zoom F2 has a passthrough socket letting you feed the signal that’s going into it straight back into your camera. The Zoom F2 is also a 32-bit recorder, so you don’t have to worry about the audio levels.
How to install it
Caleb has provided instructions on mounting the different MicBack versions to the Rode VideoMic NTG, Rode VideoMic GO, Deity V-Mic D3 Pro and Deity V-Mic D4 Mini. It’s possible that it may fit onto other microphones, although Caleb hasn’t tested or released any backs for microphones other than these. He suggested in the video that this may change in the future. So, if you’re using the new Rode VideoMicro II (buy here), you might see one come for that at some point.
The MicBack has also only been tested by Caleb with the four wireless transmitters and recorders mentioned above. However, I expect it should fit with just about any wireless system with a cold-shoe width clip similar to those found on the Wireless GO II and DJI Mic, like the Comica BoomX-D Pro (buy here).
How to print your own
There are three mounts for the four microphones. One is compatible with both the Rode VideoMic NTG and Rode VideoMic GO II, one is compatible with the Deity V-Mic D3 Pro, and one is compatible with the Deity V-Mic D4 Mini. All three of them are available to purchase, already printed and supplied with the extended mounting screw.
If you own a 3D printer of your own, though, you’re able to purchase the STL files and make your own. You’ll need to source your own M3 screws of the appropriate length and head type, but Caleb has provided printing instructions along with a suggested print orientation.
Price and Availability
Each of the three different MicBack models is available to buy now for $14.95 each from Camera Foundry. For those who want to print their own, the digital files are available to buy now for $5. This purchase includes the STLs for all three different designs.