How to Get INCREDIBLE Audio For Your Videos

Gear Focus Friday
Tips & Advice

Gear Focus

Jan 31, 2020

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Having good audio for your video will make or break your video. Making sure you have the necessary audio tools is paramount for a successful video. Let's take a look at some of the ways we can improve our sound quality in our videos in this week's Gear Focus Friday. To start, I would say I am a bit of an audiophile. Not to the point where I need to have 24K gold audio cables, but enough to know and appreciate the differences in audio quality. It's also worth mentioning that I do have a Bachelors Degree in Audio Engineering. So I hope that I can pass along some useful knowledge to you all.

Basic Steps to Improve Audio for your Videos

There are a number of pretty straightforward ways to start improving your audio for your videos. However these can often be overlooked once you start focusing on the shot to make sure your video looks perfect. It's important to keep these in mind as you start to set up for your shoot.

Controlling sound

The first step in improving your audio is controlling your sound sources. To start, look at your recording levels. You don't want them to be so low you can't hear them of course. But you also don't want them to be so loud that they overload your preamp and clip the sound. You generally want your audio levels at the upper part of the green of your meter, occasionally touching the yellow. If your audio level hits the red, that means your are clipping, and you need to turn it down. Fixing this issue can go a long way in improving the audio for your videos. Tinny sound from your microphone may be caused by bounceback of the walls Now that you have your levels where they need to be, you want to get rid of any extra sounds such as reverb or echos in the room. This is known as "sound dampening". It is often referred to as "sound proofing" but that is an entirely different sound control method. Sound proofing can involve a lot of expensive materials and requires proper room structure. When you are dampening the sounds in your room, often times you want to focus on the low and the high frequencies. If you are filming in a corner, get out of there, as bass frequencies tend to build up in corners since they travel along walls. If you are having issues with your audio sounding tinny, you are probably getting a lot of high end bounceback off of your walls. This can be controlled by building a good audio absorber, getting some acoustic foam, or even hanging some moving blankets. All of these are good methods to controlling the sound in your room.

Recording the Audio for your Videos

Once you have your sound controlled, you need to pick the best way to capture it. There is no one solution that works for every situation, unfortunately.

Shotgun Microphones

Shotgun microphones can help imrove the audio for your videos in a number of ways Shotgun microphones have two main different form factors: on-camera and stand-alone. Both of these styles function essentially the same way, by rejecting sounds from the side of the microphone, and only picking up what is straight ahead. These types of microphones are great for improving audio for your videos such as vlogging or interviews. On camera shotgun microphones can be plugged directly into your cameras audio port since they oftentimes will run off of their own power source. The added benefit of this is that you don't have to line the audio up in post. It’s already part of the file. Standalone shotgun microphones typically need phantom power to operate which requires an additional recording device that can supply phantom power. This also means that the audio needs to be synchronized in post.

Lavalier Microphones

Lavalier Microphones, or lav mics as they are commonly called, are small, often wireless, microphones that are worn on or under an article of clothing. These are great for improving the audio for your videos when the camera is further away than a shotgun mic can pick up such as a wedding or in a situation where the subject will be moving a lot. Lav mics come with their own set of issues though. Because lav mics are wireless, they are prone to interference from cell phones are wireless networks. Also, because the microphones are often worn on or under clothing, they are prone to noise from abrasions against the capsule. There are methods to combat against such noise, although those types of methods are not usually used outside of a movie set.

Stereo Audio Recorders

Stereo audio recorders make it even easier to capture quality audio The last method for getting incredible audio for your videos that I want to talk about is Stereo Audio Recorders. A lot of these devices, like the Zoom H4n, have built in stereo microphones, making capturing audio very easy. Also, having built in microphone/line inputs makes adding additional microphones even easier. Without additional microphones plugged in, stereo recorders are great for capturing ambient sounds for video sound beds. With additional microphones attached, the multitrack recording capabilities make it ideal for situations where multiple sources need to be recorded.

Clean Audio for Your Videos is Important!

Regardless, of how you decide to capture your audio, it is not something that should be overlooked. Having good, clear audio for your videos is something that can make or break your video. If you have any questions about audio and how to record it, feel free to reach out to us or leave it in the comments down below! And as always, head over to Gear Focus to start buying or selling your new or used audio gear so that you can get out there and start creating. Gear Focus is here to help you FEED YOUR PASSION!

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