DIY Shotgun Mic Spacer
Written by Daven Mathies
In video production, there are lots of little parts and pieces required to capture video and sound properly. On their own, they don’t seem like much; but if you don’t have them, it can wreak havoc on your shoot.
Built-in shotgun microphone mounts on camcorders are a prime example. The mount diameter is generic enough to safely encompass every stick mic, which means in all likelihood it will be way too big to fit snugly around the shotgun mic you have with you. On top of that, the camcorder companies don’t ship their cameras with a spacer, nor do most of the microphone manufacturers.
Even if you can find them online (it’s not easy!) they’re overpriced, or you have no way of knowing if they’ll fit your mic properly. Fortunately, there are two inexpensive solutions, no further away than your local hardware store.
My favorite can be found at Ace hardware. It’s called “Extreme Climate Rubber Tape.” As you can see in the picture, it’s a hollow “D”-shaped rubber with adhesive on the flat side.
I like it best because it provides a cushion of rubber on two sides, and the hollow gap allows the mic to flex without transmitting any noises back to the condenser. An added plus is that it’s rather foam-like, gripping the mic soundly in place. Here’s how to use it:
Simply eyeball the length of the tape you’ll need to fit on the top and the bottom of the mic mount, cut, peel and stick. Place the mic in the mount, tighten the knurled screw, and check for fit. If covering the bottom and the top makes the opening too thick, just eliminate the top piece of tape. If you make a mistake, or want to try different configurations, the tape will easily peel up from the mount without leaving any sticky residue behind.
I split the tape down the middle, but you could just as easily use it as-is. I picked up a roll for $7.99. Granted, you’ll have enough left over to do another 200 mics, but there are tons of other uses for it as well. It would be handy to keep the remainder in your grip kit or tool box.
The second solution is even simpler, and much less expensive: rubber “O” rings. Be sure to take your mic to the hardware store with you. Find 2-4 rings that will fit snugly around the mic, place the mic in the mount, tighten it down, and you are done! I paid $1.20 for three.
If “O” rings are cheaper and faster, why is it my second choice? Because although they fit well and I’m confident the damping is adequate, the rubber tape had more give, and I liked the way it made the mic stay solidly in place. The “O” rings can slide a little, making the mic feel a bit less secure.
Both worked well, both were easy to source, and way cheaper than anything I could find specifically made as a microphone spacer. Sometimes keeping it simple (and cheap!) is the best way to go.