Although we live in a world where visuals are increasingly impressive, the fact is that audio quality can make or break your video. Every year the human brain’s attention span shrinks and, as of 2021, you have only around 7 seconds to hook in your viewers. If your audience can detect bad audio within this time, they won’t want to watch on further.
Don’t let this put you off though, having an awareness of all aspects of audio will not only boost your chances of success, but help develop your video production skills. Now, we can’t promise to turn you into a wizard overnight, but if you follow these guidelines, you’ll have all the tools you need to start producing content with top-quality audio. So let’s get into it.
With your mic sorted, let’s talk background noise. This is likely the biggest pet peeve of any video editor, and for good reason. Hissing and humming can ruin your audio track and the worst part is, you won’t even realise what’s happened until you’ve finished recording. To make sure this doesn’t happen, here are some great tips on reducing your background noise:
First of all, make sure that all noise-emitting devices (like fans) are switched off. Of course, it’s not always possible to turn off all devices causing disruption—sometimes it can even come from bright lights! In this case, just try to keep the microphone as far away from the device as you can when recording your video to increase your sound quality.
The room you’re in is also important. Try to use a small room with (ideally) low ceilings to minimise the amount of echo the audio track will pick up. If this isn’t an option for you, try recording within this padding; it’ll absorb much of the echo and stop it from bouncing off the walls and ceiling!
Next, be aware of the ‘proximity effect’. This is when you move closer to the mic and, while the sound gets richer, it starts to pick up all the other ‘mouth sounds’ you make as well as your breathing. If you’re recording using a phone, this usually isn’t so bad as the phone’s mic will be pointing away from you. But if you’re using an external mic, this is definitely something to consider.
If you ever run into this problem, try to dial the bass down a little if you hear any popping noises on the recording playback. If that doesn’t work, try some different positions out and see what works best. You don’t want it too far away though, people still need to hear you!
Believe it or not, your phone’s microphone works just fine for talking-head video. But if you want to take it to the next level, we suggest using a tripod and phone-sized shotgun microphone to enhance your video (and sound quality) even more. An advantage to this is that you don’t wear the microphone and therefore it doesn’t appear in the shot. Also, shotguns are very precise.
With a plug-in phone mic, ‘techy know how’ is minimal, once you’re clipped up—you’re good to go (and super crisp audio is a given). Alternatively, you could also use a Lavilier Lapel microphone. This can be pinned to your top while you record. The obvious advantage here is that the mic will be much closer to your mouth. However, bear in mind that Lavilier mics may show in your scene and pick up sound from all directions (that could lead to unwanted background noise).
And that’s about it on sound! I hope you learned something from this. If you did, don’t forget to learn how to set yourself up for video (and look great while you do it!).