Videography Basics: Capturing Great Sound
When it comes to making great videos, capturing great audio is often forgotten. Since video is a visual medium, people often focus exclusively on capturing stunning images. The reality is that audio is usually just as important as the video, and it can be just as frustrating to record. A poorly placed lapel mic can rub against the speaker’s clothing and fill the audio track with noise. Or, a mic which is too far away from the subject will lack clarity and volume while being plagued by background noise.
Here are two tips for capturing great sound:
Consider the Environment
Each environment where you record audio has its own strengths and weaknesses. Being in a small room may help with audio volume, but it will likely increase reverb. While being outside will allow louder volume, it will increase background noise.
Here are a few elements to consider:
- Background Noise: When attempting to record someone talking, it’s vital that background noise doesn’t cover up the discussion. Outdoor recordings can be particularly difficult to control unplanned sound. On the flip side, when recording a scripted scene, a lack of background noise makes an environment seem stale and fake.
- Reverb: Reverb is the sound you hear when you clap in a gym and the sound echoes on for a second or two longer than it would otherwise. You’re hearing the original sound bounce back and forth off of the walls. Since we’re used to hearing reverb, a small amount of reverb sounds natural to the human ear. However, a large amount of reverb reduces the amount of clarity and makes it difficult to understand.
Possibly the single most important factor in capturing great audio for video is mic placement. Even the best mic’s potential is limited by its’ placement, but a modest quality microphone can capture highly usable audio when placed close to the subject.
Here are some general guidelines:
- Place the Mic as Close to the Subject as Possible: Typically when recording video you want the mic as close to the subject as possible. There are a few exceptions to this such as loud noises or when capturing multiple people.
- Make Sure the Mic is Pointed at the Subject: For the clearest and strongest signal, you want the mic pointed directly at the subject you want to record. A mic being pointed even slightly off angle or being obscured can drastically reduce audio quality.
The closer a mic is to the source, the less reverb and background noise will get picked up. Likewise, the more direct the signal from the source to the mic, the stronger the desired sound.
To learn more about video production or sound, contact us at Advanced Media Integration.
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