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.