“Sound is half the picture” – Steven Spielberg
It didn’t happen over night but videos are the money-makers these days and they are taking over a huge chunk of the content found on the internet.
Influencers, YouTubers, bloggers and businesses are making videos like pancakes on a Sunday morning and they have a good reason: videos sell and it’s all about the money.
When it comes to videos, most people concentrate on the visuals, which is important but capturing high-quality audio is super important. I`ve come across some videos and courses and it is frustrating to experience the volume going up and down and not knowing if you are missing out on important info.
This is a common problem that I see very often and the thing is, there is so much information out there that sometimes instead of helping, it ends up making you feel overwhelmed.
So, I decided to put together a list of tips (and some of my favourite audio gear) to help you get the most out of your videos to help you avoid sounding like Kenny McCormick.
USING AN EXTERNAL MICROPHONE IS A MUST
The built-in microphones on cameras are great for a happy birthday home video but in general, they are just not that great. They tend to create echo and the volume is not very high. Using an external microphone will provide cleaner and better audio. There are a lot of choices, price ranges and brands but don’t panic! Here are the basic ones: Shotgun microphones are the most common, providing the best quality and the best range of sound. Lav microphones help reduce background noise for another choice and are great for interviews or speaking.
WHAT MICROPHONE SHOULD I PICK?
SHOTGUN MICS are commonly used indoors because they pick up more background noise. So, if ambiance noise is the sound you’re going for, use a shotgun mic. It guarantees a crispy sound and you can have more than one person talking, so they are good for interviews as well. Very often, people use shotgun mics for blogging, podcasts and voice over, but they can also be used for studio. Just make sure to keep them close to get a much clearer and louder sound because the quality of sound decreases as you pull away from the mic.
Use a Dead cat slip on your microphone when you are recording outdoors, it will cut out all the wind noise and popping sounds.
Hot tip: If you are ever in need of one and don’t have any, use a soft thick sock.
LAVALIERE MICS are wireless microphones used when you can’t be close to the camera and it provides you more freedom to move around. However, lav mics are more personal and harder to pass around from one person to another one.
If you don’t have a Lav mic and don’t plan to buy one, don’t worry; you may even use your smartphone earbuds, which come with a small microphone.
Lav Mics isolate the voice sound and you won’t catch much ambiance noise, which makes them the best piece of gear to use if you are in a busy place.
Take advantage of the technology and go pro using an all in one Digital Multitrack Recorder. Also, the Zoom Recorder is a must-have and my favourite tool to capture high-quality video. The Zoom recorder is a microphone and an audio recorder, what else do you need?
You can use them together or separately. The Zoom is small and very practical to take on the go since they are a pocket variety. It comes with a case and a screen that you can use to cut out wind noise or popping sounds and 4 XLR inputs to plug different channels of audio at the same time, which allows you to manipulate multiple microphones and audio separately in post production. Any of them will work super well, though I recommend the H4n,H5 or H6 depending on your budget.
There are a lot of accessories and attachments you can get, which are basically different microphones for different situations to record voice, audio, podcast and even musical instruments if you decide to pursue your filmmaking/ hobby/ YouTube career.
MONITOR YOUR AUDIO
You don’t want to finish recording, start editing your video and realize all you have is crappy audio. So, it’s important to make sure you check your levels to avoid distortion. Listen to your recording with headphones and even have a back up mic in case you need to fill gaps.
Remember: video is instantly enhanced when you add sound effects and high-quality audio. Now you have all the tools to get great audio, which puts the finishing touches on an amazing video.