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We are planning to produce a Youtube channel, in which we interview one professor and one student at the same time, and we have very little experience with sound. A typical situation would be to have three people talking (the prof, the student, the interviewer), and we are wondering what would be a good compromise between budget and quality for recording the audio.

Lav mics seem to be the best option, but since we need three of them it seems expensive. Right? What about having a single shotgun carried by one of us over the scene? Could that work? I assume the person in question would be monitoring the sound to make sure that the mic is at the right position.

We are also planning to invest into a modest on-camera mic just for safety, in case something goes wrong with the other setup during the shootings. Any further advice?

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Save the money for the on-camera mic, it is by far the worst option. Other options include:

  • lapel or lavalier mics. Wireless lav mics are as you say expensive, but wired lav mics might be the cheapest option. You'll need something that can take 3 inputs, either a multitrack recorder, or a simple mixer to mix it to stereo (I'd mix the two subjects into one channel and the interviewer into the other).

  • If you use a shotgun you can get excellent sound quality, but you'll need a boom and a boom swinger to make sure that the person talking is on-mic. For an unscripted interview with three people this is quite a tall order. If you don't have someone who can do the job of boom swinger, or if your subjects interrupt or talk over each other this is not recommended.

  • a surface mic or an omnidirectional mic in the center of the speakers. This won't be as good as three lapel mics, because it will be further away from all of them, and will pick up more room ambience and bg noise. This is probably be the cheapest option, but the second worst (the worst being an on-camera mic).

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    Thanks, we actually convinced our budget people to invest in three wireless Rode lav mics, so I think we chose the best option! And indeed we dropped the on-camera mic.
    – Pxx
    Apr 21 at 13:10

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