My name is Oliver Vegas and I'm a professional travel, commercial and lifestyle photographer based in Barcelona. I studied film directing originally and in recent years I have focused more on video content. I have found the Sony system perfect for this hybrid approach for my client work. One important aspect of creating video content is to convey feelings through sound so I need equipment which can deliver high quality but also work with my style of shooting on the go, carrying everything in one backpack. I tested the new ECM-M1 microphone on a project in Brittany and was very impressed that it fitted all my requirements.
First impressions of the microphone and most appreciated features
Firstly, I am a big fan of the Sony microphones launched in recent years. The ECM-B1M and ECM-B10 are already powerful compact microphones but the new ECM-M1 suits my needs even more. It has a lot of versatility with sound, capturing with 8 different directional modes which you can choose depending on what you are shooting (ambient sound, interview etc.). Like the other Sony microphones, it’s small and portable, and it connects directly to the camera's hotshoe without the need for cables and external batteries. It is a freeing experience as I don’t really have to worry if my battery is charged or if I brought the right cable to use it.
The second important thing is sound quality and especially noise reduction. I have to say that the way the microphone directs the capture of the sound and completely cuts out the unwanted surroundings is incredible. Being in an area of French Brittany known for its strong winds (especially on a boat!), these options made the recording clearer and sharper. Its predecessors already had this, but now the 4 capsules make it especially effective and more accurate for certain situations.
Which did mode you use most and in which situations?
When on the boat, I used the super directional mode which allowed me to capture the waves ahead while narrating the story. It makes it so much easier than capturing the sound of the waves and then dub the video in studio. The process is quicker and more organic.
Similarly, I also used the super directional mode that only captures the sound from behind, It lets you capture the scenery in front of you and tell the story as it unfolds while shooting. This is the one option I desired the most in a microphone – it makes the whole process in the editing room so much easier.
Which camera and lens combination did you use for this shoot?
When I'm travelling, I use the Alpha 7R V with the 24-70mm f/2.8 GM and 70-200mm f/4 G OSS lenses. I'm looking forward to trying it with other Sony Alpha bodies, like the Alpha 7S III and Alpha 7 IV as well to test further in different situations. It fits perfectly on any Sony Alpha camera.
I think this microphone will be amazing for any type of shooter. Whether for professional work like interviews or video content creator creating travel stories – it can do everything you need and makes good audio recording so much easier for everyone.
Any last thoughts?
My goal was to achieve high quality sound with minimum concerns regarding cables, space and complicated configurations, and I certainly achieved it. In previous experience, whenever I tried to record a trip, I found that I had to carry multiple microphones for different shots.
Now I can be narrating a story behind the camera, and at the same time interview someone without the need to change microphones, simply by turning the wheel and changing the direction I want to record.
Oliver Vegas is a professional travel, commercial and lifestyle photographer based in Barcelona.