Now that I’ve had the RØDE NTG-3 shotgun microphone out a couple of times and listened to the results in the studio, I’ve gotta say it’s a pretty nice microphone! As a medium priced mic $799.00 it does everything you’d want a medium length shotgun to do, plus it’s a beautifully built mic, it comes in a very cool case, and (they claim) is unaffected by humidity and temperature. One of the shows I used the NTG-3 on was in Kenya (37-degree Celsius) that’s hot and dry!
With all that said, I have to admit I wasn’t expecting much since I’m not all that impressed with RØDE’s NTG-2 and NTG-1. As a professional location sound operator what makes a shotgun mic work for me is first and foremost sound quality, and then usability and versatility. When off on a documentary shoot I can’t and won’t carry a whole bunch of mics, I need one that can perform in a wide variety of location sound situations.
The shooting I did with the NTG-3 was always outside (it’s definitely an outdoor mic) and was used as a boom mic. This is not a camera-mounted mic and I would never use it as one. Many of the shots I used the NTG-3 on had more than one talker (unscripted), and in a variety of locations with ambient volumes ranging from not very much to a considerable amount from one direction.
The NTG-3 has a warm even sound and I found it very consistent at the outer edges of the pattern. When booming a group, I was able to boom approx 3-feet off the top, and the pattern was wide enough that with very small booming adjustments I could nicely capture each talker in the group with even volume and consistent tone. Nothing screws up a recording more than having to swing the boom right over the talents head in a group setting with unscripted conversation – the NTG-3 was quite forgiving.
I shot a lot in high wind while in Kenya, and since the mic isn’t physically large I could put it in a smaller zeppelin making it easy to control when the wind really kicked up. If you’ve worked in the wind you know what I’m talking about! There was virtually no handling noise on the long pole shots with a lot of movement – I was surprised because the mic has a very warm sound and that’s usually problematic when booming motion shots. I did have my HP filter around 80Hz.
For static interviews, the rejection of the NTG-3 was very good. This surprised the hell out of me because of the success I had booming a group. I wasn’t expecting much rejection even though the mic appears to be a medium shotgun. I like my Neuman KM150 for interviews, it sounds fantastic, but it doesn’t have much rejection. So when I’m in a location with unwanted ambience there’s not much I can do to fix it. The NTG-3 was exceptional for rejecting unwanted ambience. By changing the pitch and angle of the shotgun when booming I could knock down unwanted ambience greatly!
The reach of the mic (in my opinion) is perfect for this type of shotgun, and the pattern even though it seemed wide had excellent rejection – I know it doesn’t make sense! But my ears don’t lie to me and neither did the studio monitors when I listened back to the tracks.
The RØDE NTG-3 is a beautiful sounding mic, very versatile, and appears to be well made to handle the abuse of being a location audio shotgun.