Windscreens & Shockmounts
Editor's Note: This is a draft of an article that I am working on for a major trade publication (to be announced).
In the world of microphone wind protection, it is accurate to say that Rycote is considered the big daddy and the unofficial standard of the industry. For as long as I can remember — and that goes back more than a few decades — if you needed to use a shotgun microphone outdoors on a windy day, you mounted it in a Rycote (blimp) windscreen.
Two of the worst problems that plague location sound recording are rumble and wind noise.
Rumble can be defined as unwanted bass vibrations transmitted through objects into the mic capsule itself. Examples of rumble include ground or floor vibrations caused by nearby traffic, heavy footsteps, and building/structural vibrations. In addition to rumble, a closely related malady is that of handling noise -- created by the friction or light tapping of human fingers, either directly against the microphone itself or conducted through whatever means by the microphone is supported (e.g. fishpole).
Before we get into a discussion of windscreens, a preliminary word about wind noise. There are two types of wind noise that will affect your soundtrack: acoustic wind noise and contact wind noise. Acoustic wind noise is sound of the wind blowing in the environment. It may be the howling that the wind makes blowing through trees and between buildings. It is a form of ambiance, just like traffic noise. Because it is a generated background noise in our environment, it cannot be controlled by a windscreen.