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Olympus OMD-EM5: How to Mount an On Camera Mic

In this inaugural Cine Blog article I will discuss a D-I-Y quick fix that addresses a major flaw when using the Olympus OMD EM5 for enthusiasts/professional videography – mounting a more professional microphone on the camera body. On many other camera bodies that are popular for video features (ie. GH2, GH3, 5DMkII/III) and the upcoming Olympus EM1 they were wise enough to include a 3.5mm Mic input on camera – not so with the EM5. If reading this article, your probably aware that owners of the EM5 have to buy the SEMA-1 (~$60 accessory) in order to use a professional microphone like the popular RODE VideoMic Pro.

Olympus OMD-EM5 with Altered SEMA 1 Adapter

 

Here in lies the problem, now the hot shoe port is taken up with with the SEMA-1 adapter, leaving no place to then mount the RODE microphone – which also mounts to the camera using the hot shoe port. After much research, I really found no information online addressing this problem other than buying brackets that hold the microphone off to the side, or using a second tripod which utterly defeats the purpose of being compact, portable, and discrete in certain situations.

SEMA 1 Adapter w/ Additional Cold Shoe Mounted On

MY SOLUTION? Simple really –using two very small screws no longer than 1/4 of an inch and an old cold shoe mount I had lying around (you can pick one up online or possibly at a camera store) I screwed it on to the SEMA-1 adapter and viola!! – you now have a portable compact solution for the EM5 that looks kinda cool too I think. :) Be sure to pre-drill both the cold shoe and very delicately into the Sema-1 since you only have to go through a very thin piece of plastic. As far as placement, the SEMA-1’s shape seems to have a perfect mould that leaves only one place to mount the cold shoe on to, and it fits perfectly, so no guess work there really!

Rear View of Altered Sema 1 with RODE VMP Attatched

*OTHER TIPS – My old cold shoe mount was silver, and I spray painted it matte black to match my all black EM5, but if you have the silver EM5 I would think a silver cold shoe would look cool. Another possible $ and time saver that I did was where I found the perfect screws for this project. If you have old remote control lying around that you don’t need anymore you just might find the perfect size small screws in the back of that remote. :) Again, my recommended screw length is just a little under 1/4 of an inch to make sure it’s strong enough to hold up but not too long that it hits the circuit board in the SEMA-1.

My alteration to the SEMA-1 has held up for over 11 wedding shoots and several other small projects with no problems and I LOVED using it as it really helps make the OMD-EM5 more functional! Of course, though this can be done very safely to your equipment, I cannot guarantee any results and I must say try this only at your own risk!! Feel free to comment with any questions and I will try to respond quickly. GOOD LUCK AND HAPPY SHOOTING!

~ryan

3 thoughts on “Olympus OMD-EM5: How to Mount an On Camera Mic”

  1. Thanks for this! I have an EM5 and I’m going through the painful process of trying to sort out an external mic for it (particularly painful because here in Australia it’s around $150 for the SEMA-1 — and I don’t even need the mic, just the adapter). I’m wondering how you have found the EM5 for video work — can you produce pro video on this camera?

  2. Thanks for the comment :) Yikes! That would be a lot to spend on the SEMA-1 – considering I found it overpriced at $60, but it really is your only option unless you want to record your audio separately. I’ve found the EM5 in general was often overlooked by articles I read as a viable video camera that can produce some pretty good results. Of course, it’s video quality and feature set isn’t on par with let’s say the GH3 and especially the new GH4 that was just released, however, in well lit shots, with a good lens you can really produce some surprisingly good shots from the EM5 (especially with medium to closeup shots)! Most of the video work you’ll see on my site here was shot entirely with the EM5, where you can see some of it’s limits but also some of it’s strengths. I am currently planning to upgrade to the GH4 soon because of it’s video features and video quality look to be truly stunning, but I can tell you that I will be severely missing the IBIS (in body image stabilization) that made the EM5 such a pleasure to use on my wedding shoots. Hope this helps and have fun with your EM5!

  3. Thank you for the article. I’m thinking of getting the Rode Videomic Pro for my EM5, but feel a little uneasy about drilling into the SEMA-1 to anchor a cold shoe. Did you think about epoxy glue as an alternative? How about Velcro securing the cold plate to the SEMA-1? Your thoughts would be appreciated.

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