Audio… the often forgotten and overlooked little brother to the much flashier visuals. But for a production to truly shine to its fullest potential, having good audio is a must. There are many aspects to it as well, first and foremost, the capturing of high quality audio.
The use of the built-in microphone of a standard camera may get you sound, but chances are it’s not going to be very good. For one, if you aren’t right up next to it, it’s likely to sound hollow and thin. If you are close enough to capture decent audio, the only thing in frame will probably be your subjects face.
To secure high quality audio, an external mic-based system of some sort is needed, whether that be from a lavalier, boom, or just a mic on a stand.
Not only is your capturing device crucial, but getting proper “levels” is as well. This refers to the audio amplitude or loudness of your audio. If it is to low you’ll be straining to hear your subject; too high and we get a phenomenon called clipping. Clipping is where your audio is being recorded at too high a level to be properly reproduced without distortion. This is why monitoring your audio when you are recording is crucial. If you’re unable to do that, at least test your audio levels at your normal speaking volume first to confirm you’re in an acceptable range.
If you are recording audio to just be used as a voice over, and not on camera, do so with as much sound dampening (like egg shell foam) around as possible. This helps to keep the sound from bouncing off walls and other solid surfaces around you causing unwanted echo. There are many low budget solutions to be found as well, such as using blankets and pillows, or recording in a closet with clothes hanging about.
On top of capturing clean audio from your subject in front of the camera, or in the form of a voice over, layering sound effects and the right music track into a piece can make a huge difference. I love to matte a video project with the perfectly chosen music track, matching the tempo, and mood of the video to the music.
Audio may not be the first thing people think about when creating a video project, but it should be. A video with bad audio can certainly tank a good video just as shooting the whole thing sideways would.
For your next video or audio project, call Jon at Midwest Marketing 605-716-5666.