We have all heard it, the cars rushing by and the wind howling as the subject screams his or her lines at the camera. No, this is not an action movie, this is your business video. The one opportunity to connect with your client base and the investment you have made to represent you and your business.
As important as the content and the way your video is produced, so is the audio clarity. Many times businesses opt for a low cost video solution; which, in-turn reaps low cost audio and video results.
Avoid the ‘vrooms’ and “howls.”
First things first, don’t shoot your video by the roadside, unless you want the added distraction of noisy traffic. Don’t shoot your video in a gusty alleyway or under a gusty entrance way. Understanding how microphones work is very important. Most professional video production firms understand that the ’in-camera’ mic is for reference only and that the use of an external mic is a must. Many ‘in-camera’ audio systems are sub-par to the external audio recording systems available today. This is why you will find us using high end ‘boom mics’ on set and high end lapel mics in the field. However, even the best lapel mic on the market can’t cut out the noise of a busy street or the gust of tornado force winds down an alleyway. This is why it is so important to find the right location for your video’s audio quality. Finding the perfect marriage of aesthetic look and clean audio is a balance; but, one that must be maintained if you want your video to be professional and represent your business.
How to climb out of the cave.
The next big mistake that we see is picking a location that is too ‘roomy.’ Ever heard a video and you swear the subject was in a concert hall, not their small office? This is because the room the video was shot in was too large and did not have the proper sound dampening; or, the mic was recording the entire room and not just the subject. This is where a lapel mics and directional boom mics comes in handy – placed close to the subjects mouth, a lapel mic allows for more controlled / centralized audio without the booming room tone.
Quiet on the set.
Sometimes timing of a video is just as important as location. When wanting the best audio quality available, the “set” (location) needs to be as quiet as possible. Now you know where the old saying “quite on the set” came from (usually yelled out in a not so quiet voice by Directors). Don’t pick times like lunch, early morning or late afternoon for video production in high “people traffic” areas. This will cause just as much noise as our “vrooms” and “howls” of cars and wind. Prepare those folks that will be on or around the set for absolute quiet. If set noise can’t be controlled, find another location or time where it can be.
With a lapel mic comes the possible issue of scratchiness. This usually occurs when the lapel mic has been attached to a piece of loose fitting clothing and the clothing comes in contact with the mic’s wind screen (the foam protector around the mic head). This creates an unwanted scratchiness in the audio that cannot be corrected in post production. Knowing where to clip a lapel mic is an important step to obtaining great audio clarity in a video shoot.
Mix it right.
Part of video production / audio engineering is more than just the initial subject’s audio being recorded. It is extremely important to understand how music will be mixed with the speaking parts of the subject. To set the mood of the video, a professional videographer / audio engineer will take into consideration the final video product, including the music, when establishing the subject’s initial audio recording.
Book ’em Danno!
If your video does not require on-screen talent and requires a voiceover, it is imperative that you utilize a professional recording studio. Nothing beats the audio quality that a professional recording studio can provide. You can hang sheets over the windows, hide yourself in your thickest comforter with a mic; but, it will never sound as high quality as a professional recording studio with proper sound isolation, high end microphones, etc.
Slow it down, know your lines and speak up.
These last three points have less to do with location or audio recording gear and have more to do with the actual subject. First, and extremely important, is the subjects talking speed. Talking too fast is an issue many that are new to being on camera deal with. Unless you are an auctioneer, it is important to slow down considerably when on video. Sometimes we ask subjects to exaggerate a slower speaking pace (not volume). We understand, sometimes nerves run high; but, speaking faster does nothing more than frustrate the end video viewer. Yes, it gets you away from being in front of the camera quicker; but, it results in a poor quality video. Thus, it is important to slow down.
When speaking in studio or on set it is important not to ‘wing it.’ Whether you are an accomplished speaker or a novice to being in front of the camera, it is important to utilize a teleprompter for scripted video. Whether for reference or for straight up reading, the teleprompter is a tool that you can rely on. A good teleprompter operator will keep the pace of the subjects speaking at an even keel. We have shot numerous videos with experienced speakers and they all prefer utilizing the teleprompter versus memorizing lines.
Finally, volume is important. There have been countless times we have had to ask subjects to ’speak up.’ It is important to understand that it is easier to bring down volume in a video versus increase volume (which in-turn increases ‘room tone’). This does not mean you need to scream; but, it does mean you need to command the mic with your vocal presence. A professional videographer / audio engineer will know how to set the audio equipment to not clip your audio or make you too quiet.
Now that you have these helpful tips, you should be able to create some amazing audio in your videos. Have questions about video production? Let us know how we can help.