Typically speaking we almost always use a third-party external mic (like this) when recording video or only audio, however, there are times when you might not have a mic with you - or perhaps you're using a gimbal and can't attach a mic. And then there are those that don't actually own an external mic.
So can you get good sound with only the on-board camera mic? The answer is yes.
In this video we look at how we recorded all the sound for a DIY short film we produced using only FiLMiC Pro and the camera mic, but this could apply to other types of projects, too.
Now we would caution that these techniques do work the best in the situations like we show in the video (did you watch it yet?). So that means recording interviews or dialog (in a movie) or voices in general (maybe a VO) is not its best use - unless you're very close to the mic (then it sounds good), which might be tough depending on what you're shooting.
But recording sound effects or foley or ambience or even nat sound (for b-roll), etc. is a great way to use a camera mic.
Let us be VERY CLEAR though... We do strongly recommend using an external mic in most cases. You can get a RODE VideoMicro for around $60 USD, and it's really pretty great even at that affordable price. Or use double system sound to get the best quality (record the audio to a separate recorder like a Tascam or Zoom and then sync it in post-production).
But on certain types of projects or in certain situations - and importantly, using the proper techniques - you can definitely get good audio using only a built-in camera mic.
So what do you think? Have you recorded audio with only the camera mic and had good results? Let us know in the comments below or hit us up on social media.