Sound is just as important as visuals in your video. High-quality sound can elevate your video to the next level, making it seem more professional. Why does this matter? Because video quality has an impact on your brand’s reputation. If you consistently put out well-made, high-quality videos, people will associate that quality with your brand. It’s a win, no matter how you look at it.
So what makes for good sound, and how do you get there?
The biggest thing you can do to improve your sound quality is to get your microphone as close as possible to the sound source. This often means separating the microphone from the video camera.
If you’re using a camera with a microphone input – some DSLRs have this – you can save yourself some time syncing the tracks in your video editor later. If not, you’ll need an external sound recorder. Look for something like a field recorder that has microphone inputs.
A lavalier, or lav mic, is a great option to get good quality audio of people talking. These are tiny microphones with a clip that you can attach to a shirt. If you don’t mind seeing the microphone, you can clip it directly to the short. If you’d prefer to hide the mic, you can use medical tape to tape the microphone to a person. Attach it with the mic facing up toward the person’s chin, typically right below the hollow in their neck. Use another bit of tape to make a little tent over the mic. This will prevent the shirt from making a rustling noise in the mic.
Run the cable of the lav mic into a wireless transmitter or directly into your recorder. Get the person to talk and check the levels using the built-in meter. With all sound, you want it to be as loud as possible without clipping or redlining. The mixing stage is where you adjust individual volumes to be quieter.
If you don’t do this, you may have to turn up the volume in mixing, which can add a hiss or white noise to the track.
A lav mic is a great option when you don’t have a sound person on your crew since you don’t need to do anything once the mic is set up.
If you have a sound person, they can be your boom operator during the shoot. This requires a shotgun mic on an overhead boom is a great solution, especially if you have more than one person talking and don’t want to mic up each person.
A boom is just a long stick that the microphone attaches to so that it can be placed above the on-screen person, out of frame. Directional microphones, like a shotgun mic, are best for this. They capture sound from only one direction, rather than omnidirectional mics, which capture sound from all around.
When using a directional microphone, you’ll need to always make sure the microphone is pointing at the sound source.
If you’re shooting the type of video where placing a microphone on a person isn’t a possibility, you can also use a microphone mounted to your camera. Several options exist for shotgun microphones with a hot shoe attachment for use on DSLRs or mirrorless cameras.
This compact solution works well if you’re moving around a lot, like when gathering event footage or doing documentary work.
When it comes time to mix the sound, you can use the camera’s audio track to help you sync the sound. It’s a good idea to keep this track for reference, then delete it or mute it before creating your final video.
When editing your audio, if you’re using music, remember to dip the music or background volume when there’s talking so that the words can be clearly heard.
If you’re filming outside, getting a wind cover is highly advised. These can be foam balls, fuzzy covers, or even a wool sock placed over the mic.
Taking the time to make sure your video has good quality sound will help improve the overall quality of your video and is worth the effort. This does take more time and effort than just pointing your phone at something and hitting record.
If it all seems a bit much, professional production studios, like Dream It Reel, can create high-quality videos for you.