This is the most amazing mic comparison on the internet! Listen to a variety of shotguns and compare the sound quality right on this page!
A good quality shotgun mic will pickup great sound a few feet directly in front of the mic while at the same time rejecting sound from the sides. This is great for picking out just the sounds you want and is the most desirable and common microphone for DV filmmakers.
A question most new camcorder owners have is, “Which shotgun mic should I buy?” This usually happens after they shot some awesome footage, but later found that they can’t quite make out the intriguing dialogue from what was a light breeze but somehow now whips, rumbles and howls like a tornado.
The most important thing to remember in achieving high quality audio is microphone placement.
Get the mic as close as you can to the subject without getting the mic in the frame. It’s also important to “cue” or point the mic at the subject if you can and always monitor your audio through a pair of closed-eared headphones.
So if you’ve been getting bad audio, the solution is a high-quality shotgun mic, good wind protection if outdoors, and concentrate on getting that mic in as close as you can. With these few tips, your audio should improve remarkably. Remember, as George Lucas says, “Audio is 50% of your project.”
Check out the Shotgun Shootout QuickTime Movies: