If you watch enough web video it becomes pretty obvious that poor video quality seems to be everywhere. Thanks in part to the gazillion videos on YouTube, we’ve been saturated with so many shaky, poorly shot and produced videos that low quality seems to be the norm. It seems those lower standards for the general population has opened the door for businesses to post lower quality video content on their web pages too.
But what happens when you stumble across a video with bad audio? Like when the voice sounds are too low or crackling, or there’s extraneous noise and you’re strain to hear what the person is saying. If you’re like me you click away … and that is a lost opportunity! I’m always surprised when I see business and professional organizations who compromise their reputation by posting poor quality videos on their website or Facebook page. But I’m even more surprised when I witness BAD audio that can usually be avoided.
Capturing quality audio seems to be a lost art and it shouldn’t be. Recording audio with a camera mic is just not acceptable unless the camera has something to say!
Here are 5 simple things to consider when setting up to record audio for video:
1. Use a lavalier mic or boom mic with a stand. When using a boom mic position the mic stand arm in front of and over the interview subjects head and point the mic at their chin. This one step will go a long way towards getting the audio you desire.
2. Limit extraneous noise by staying away from high traffic areas, open windows, rooms next to elevators and closing doors. It seems obvious but it should be one of the first considerations when selecting a shoot location. When in an area where there are some unavoidable sounds, put the interviewees’ back to the sound and be sure to have the microphone placed as close to their mouth as possible.
3. Avoid large rooms with an echo. If you hear a slight echo when setting up you will certainly hear it when your editing, then its too late.
4. Careful placement of a lavalier microphone. Lightweight fabric, necklaces and jewelry will move and rustle, creating too much noise if the interview subject adjusts even slightly, which creates unusable audio. It may seem awkward to ask people to run a microphone under a tie, blouse or collar but the benefits will outweigh the potential embarrassment.
5. Using headphones is required! A set of headphones that cover your ears will block out most other sounds and allow you to focus on the audio you are capturing. Ear buds will work in a pinch but investing $25-$75 in a quality set of headphones will go a long way to hearing the problems so you can work to eliminate them.
Hopefully these tips will help. If you’d prefer to call a professional … look no further, LMP is always happy to help!
– Jim Johnston