It goes without saying that if you hire a professional team to do your videos for you, you won't have this problem, but companies recording their own content is becoming more and more popular as equipment prices drop and access to learning is virtually free with YouTube and the like. Audio is an area that many pro-video users even struggle with or forget about, so I've put together a guide on best practice, for best audio.
Studies have shown that as long as the audio in a video, is of high enough quality, audiences are more likely to excuse less-than-perfect or even bad video quality! Clearly good audio is important, but it can be difficult to get right without spending hundreds on a top quality recorder. So what can you do?
Let's just say that you have zero experience recording video and audio, other than the occasional family holiday recording, but you want to film yourself promoting a new product or service. You work from home and have little to no equipment available to you.
Set the scene? Great.
RECORD THE AUDIO SEPERATE TO THE VIDEO
What does this mean? Lets say you are using your phone to record this video as you haven't got much else available. Most phones will have a Mic (Microphone) built in and when you record video 9 times out of 10 it will record the sound too. This is fine, however the mic is an omnidirectional mic, meaning it pics up everything going on around it. I mean EVERYTHING. Even stuff our own ears can't pick up like static noise. This can be problematic if you're filming yourself from a reasonable distance, as more of the ambient noise will be muddled with your voice. This is where external Audio recording comes in.
Huh? Recording the audio from a better quality source and then syncing it with the footage later in the editing process - that's it. This way you can position your camera where you want it and record audio without the worry of picking up more ambient noise than the important stuff. So in this scenario your best bet would be to use a separate phone to capture just audio, you can also invest in a reasonably cheap mic for your phone to enhance this audio further. Capture this audio as close to you as possible for clarity. When you have begun recording on both devices make a quick sharp noise (a Clap works fine) to create a sync point in the audio for later on. Record the video as usual. Once in the editing software of your choosing (there are many free ones available) line up the audio spike with the frame of you clapping, this should sync the audio for the rest of the video. Taa-daa, your video should now have much clearer audio. Also by making the video separate to the audio you can position the camera freely knowing it will not affect your audio.
To put it simply, the area in which you record audio greatly affects its quality. For example, recording inside a church will give completely different results in comparison to a busy street corner. There are many factors you need to consider; Wind, room size, ambient noise, for example. Instead of telling you how to tackle each one of these issues, I will inform you of an ideal environment in which to record your audio:
Record indoors. It is much easier to record audio in an indoor environment. There is no wind, wildlife or lots of ambient noise like cars or people. Recording outside is difficult and should only be attempted
The room needs to be relatively small, but big enough to fit you and anything you want to do as part of the video.
Make sure the only technology around is the devices being used to record. Electronic devices such as computers or mobile phones give off an electrical frequency that can sometimes be picked up by the mic giving that horrible hiss, or white noise.
Keep away from people. Anyone who is not involved in the recording of the video should be made aware that a video is being shot and moved away from the recording area, or at least told to stay quiet while filming. The worst thing is having a perfect take being ruined by talking or shouting in the background.
TEST THE AUDIO FIRST
Always test the audio before recording the final piece to camera. Either by recording a snippet of yourself talking and then playing it back, or if you can plug headphones in and listen to it live that works too. This gives you a great indication as to the quality you are to expect of the audio and can help you identify what needs to be done to improve it. E.g a printer in the opposite room is just loud enough to be heard through the mic, or maybe you might hear something outside but the mic doesn't pic it up, like a car engine. These factors can be identified early and be dealt with before recording, which helps avoid circumstances where you would have to re-film.
So there you have it! Three simple ways to be more conscious and aware of how to get better audio when filming content yourself - so the next time you've asked someone for a video testimonial you know what to do!
'til next time,