Importance of sound in video production
Sound is an element that is often ignored in video production and it’s certainly just as important as good quality footage. Your audience might forgive a blurry, out of focus image but they won’t forgive bad sound because if you can’t clearly hear what a person is saying, then you’re not going to be to engaged with what they are talking about. During an interview 80% of the information comes from the sound, so without the audio, it is unlikely your message is going to get across to the audience.
Imagine watching the 10 o’clock news and hearing air-conditioning buzzing in the background or crew members chatting. Your attention and engagement would be affected by these ‘little’ distractions and sound is something that is often ignored in amateur video production.
Here are our top tips to recording good quality sound:
Invest in a decent microphone
Your cameras built in microphone should only be used as a last resort because they tend to pick up a lot of background noise. Try to invest in a decent microphone, whether its a directional shotgun mic or a personal mic that you clip on to your subject, this way you’ll be picking up the sound that you want to record and minimising sounds that you don’t. We use clip on radio mics on almost every project to ensure quality sound.
Get your microphone as close as possible to your subject and direct it towards where the sound is coming from. If you have a clip on mic, try to clip it on to the subjects collar. If you have a directional microphone, connect it to a boom pole and hover it above the subjects head directing it at the mouth, getting as close as possible without the microphone getting in shot!
Be aware of the various noises around you when filming and try to minimise these sounds as much as possible before filming. If you’re filming next to a busy road you cant tell the traffic to stop or be quiet, so think about moving further away from the road. A common place to film will be indoors and if we use an office as an example there is a good chance you will have computers humming, air conditioning whirring, and people chatting. So to minimise this background noise, simply, turn off computers temporarily, switch off the air conditioning, close windows and ask staff to minimise chat while you’re filming. This will result in clearer sound ,without the distractions.
Test sound levels and review your audio
We always set the microphone levels before an interview because peoples voices vary e.g. some people speak loud so the sound levels will have to be turned down and other people speak quietly so the sound levels will have to be increased. You can review your sound levels on a lot of cameras with sound meters that usually appear on the screen, represented as bars that move as you speak, but some cameras, especially lower budget cameras won’t have these features. If you can’t review the sound levels on the camera, then either use headphones while filming to listen out for their voice being too loud or not loud enough. Or, quickly record them saying a short line, or counting to 10 and review the footage on your computer before filming the real thing. You should always listen out for any distortion and background noise.
Make sure your subject is speaking clearly. We find that a lot of people mumble or stutter while in front of camera because it can be quite a daunting experience being in front of the camera. Try to make them feel a bit more relaxed and tell them to be as natural as possible.
Most people won’t notice good quality sound, but almost everyone will notice when there is bad sound! Using these tips will set you on your way to recording better quality sound when producing video content for your business.
Sound can really make the difference between an amateur and professional production, so hope these tips help improve your productions going forward.