The Importance of Audio for Successful Videos

The Importance of Audio for Successful Videos

In our last blog, we discussed how the quality of lighting in your videos can make or break the final product. Of course, videos are powerful because of their visual nature–they capture attention quickly and are easier to process than text. Their visual nature, however, is not the only reason why videos are so effective. In fact, we argue that it is even more important to have great audio than it is to have great visuals.

Our eyes are wired to our brain in a way that works to fill in the gaps of our perception and gloss over perceived errors (that’s why optical illusions exist). Our ears, however, are more sensitive to what they perceive and not as skilled in ignoring errors and disturbances. When it comes to producing a video, audio is not only important to record correctly, but very difficult to fix if it’s done poorly. 

To help you avoid the pitfalls of inexperienced audio recording for video production, here’s a quick guide to getting started.

Budget for High-Quality Microphones

If you had to choose between a video with fuzzy visuals or a video with distracting, terrible audio, which one would you choose? For most viewers subconsciously, it is nearly intolerable to endure a high-quality video with hissing, crunchy, or inconsistent audio. Clean audio keeps viewers engaged, while unprofessional audio is distracting. If you want viewers to watch more than a few seconds of your video, you should remember that fact when it comes to shopping for microphones. 

There are so many options for great mics, but in the microphone market, price correlates closely with the functionality of the product and the quality of the finished video. In other words, if you’re comparing a $50 microphone to a $1,000 microphone, and your end goal is professional-quality audio, don’t buy the cheaper one. Investing in the more expensive microphone will save you tremendous amounts of hassle and time in the long run, and you will end up with a video that sounds much more presentable.

Choose the Right Type of Microphone for the Video

Just as a lighting setup requires different types of lights, audio setups call for different types of microphones. Most notably, there are boom microphones and lavalier microphones.

Boom mics are mainly stationary, and most people are familiar with their use in movie and TV show production sets. In this setup, the boom microphone hangs overhead to catch sound from above, out of the camera’s sight. 

Lavalier mics, also known as lapel or clip mics, are wireless and attach to the subject. The downfall of these microphones is that they sometimes rub against the subject’s clothes when the subject moves. It’s important to keep this in mind if your subjects are in motion or performing actions. 

Many video producers choose to use a combination of boom microphones and lavalier microphones to make sure all the essential audio is captured with the highest possible quality.

Take the Time to Properly Record Audio

You will record and store your audio with a digital recorder. In post-production, you’ll upload these files to your computer and add them to the video files. Keep in mind that the better the audio recording, the easier your job will be in post-production to edit a successful video.

First, location is key. Avoid echoes by using a smaller room with carpet, as hardwood floors and large areas allow for sound to bounce around. If you can’t control the location, keep the microphone as close as possible to the subject without revealing the mic in the shot.

Second, control background noise. Turn off any inconsistent noises like air conditioners that intermittently turn on. If the noise is a consistent hum, it is easier to remove in post-production, but if it’s inconsistent, it’s difficult to remove and likely distracting to viewers. In the case of any unexpected sounds, like dropped car keys or a doorbell, you should stop recording and re-record that section before you move on. 

Sync Your Audio Correctly in Post-Production

Now, it’s time to sync up your audio with your film’s audio. You can do this manually if you want, but make sure to reference the sound wave visuals so you can match up the waves to align the sound perfectly. If you have multiple audio files from different microphones, it’s more prudent to use a software tool. There are many software options on the market that will automatically sync all your audio files for you. 

Looking for more guidance in your audio recording experience? Contact Monzo Media Productions for professional support.

The Importance of Good Lighting in Videos

The Importance of Good Lighting in Videos

Lighting is an important concept to understand if you plan to produce your own videos. Lighting decisions go beyond making a set brighter or darker—it’s about utilizing depth, color, and shadows to tell a story. Before you can begin producing the videos, you must learn how to visually establish your brand.

Every brand should be perpetuated by the lighting choices in its videos. Without these intentional decisions, your video could turn out mediocre or unusable. Let’s discuss the importance of lighting decisions and how you can create professional and compelling videos for your brand.

Establishing Your Brand Story

When you’re viewing other organizations’ videos, you’re probably not thinking too deeply about all the lighting decisions that were made. These decisions, however, are a very important element of video production—you can’t film without lighting, but you’ll also end up with less than ideal footage if you film with poor lighting choices. 

Beyond enabling viewers to see the subject, excellent lighting tells a brand story. Your organization likely already has a set brand with colors, fonts, and more. When it comes to lighting your videos, you must make calculated decisions that further the brand visually.

For example, you might decide to achieve a less dramatic look if you’re trying to emphasize hope and optimism. After all, footage of heavenly places is often bright rather than full of shadows and dark colors. If you’re an edgier company, however, you might work to achieve those strong shadows for contrast. Overall, remember that lighting in videos is an intentional decision, not an accident.

Choosing the Right Lighting in Videos

The type of lights you use to set up your production can make or break the final product. Lighting is not just about quantity, but quality. You should prioritize using quality lights that can be shaped and adjusted until you perfect the lighting. 

Most of all, avoid ring lights. They’re popular for social media influencers, but their construction is usually cheap and won’t hold up to the standards you’ll need for a professional video. Ring lights can turn your video into a bland production with unnatural shadows, or lack f shadows which doesn’t help with adding contrast to your image. 

Second, make sure you have enough lights for the full setup. Most productions choose to have a three-point lighting system. The three lights include:

  • Key light – the main light for illuminating the set and highlighting the subject
  • Backlight – the light that separates the subject from the background by highlighting the outline of the subject from behind
  • Fill light – the light that gently introduces light to the shadow side of the subject, but doesn’t completely eliminate the shadows

An effective setup depends on your decisions for the strength and positions of these lights and will help you create the correct depth, contrast, and brightness in your video. Sometimes, it is possible to get away with two lights or even one light if you are starting with excellent lighting like natural light. In that case, you can manipulate the light you have by bouncing it in the right direction.

Keep Color Temperature in Mind

At Monzo Media Productions, we tend to use LED lights because they’re similar to the color temperature of the sun. In other words, they emanate a light at 6,000 Kelvin, which mimics daylight. By contrast, if you want an eerie style of lighting, you can use a Tungsten light with a color temperature of around 3,000 Kelvin. Further, warmer toned lights can mimic the look of candlelight.

Paying attention to the color temperature of the lights you choose has a huge impact on your final product. When editing, it is possible to alter the color tones of the image, but it’s much better to have footage that is correctly lit in the first place. 

Understanding Lighting and Depth

Depth is extremely important to the look and feel of a video and is often used to portray an emotion to the audience. The phrase “back against the wall” can be used here: subjects who are too close to the backdrop can make audiences feel claustrophobic and uncomfortable. Setting up your subject far enough from the background will ease up that feeling and allow you to properly create depth with your lighting.

Creating shadows is the main way to create depth in your videos, and you’ll know you have good lighting when you’re utilizing the shape of the shadows. You should use the lighting to improve the 3D look of the subject. For example, a standard interview shot can turn into something more cinematic when you deepen the shadows under the nose, chin, and on the sides of the face.

If you’re looking for more advice about lighting your videos, contact Monzo Media Productions for experienced professional help.