Tips for Getting Good Sound
Sound isn’t everything, but it can make or break a video. Even if you have shot excellent visual footage it will very often be useless without good sound. Pictures without usable sound will only provide you with half the story.
The key to recording good sound is to be aware of the capabilities of your particular camcorder’s own in-built audio system, and experiment with it to find out how to get the best results. Also, try to always get 15 seconds of just sound from each environment you film in – this audio can be very useful when editing. Here are some generic tips and considerations to help you get the most from your camera.
10 Tips for Great Sound
- Sound can make or break a film, so pay special attention to it
- ALWAYS try to get 15 SECONDS of just sound per each environment – this will come in handy during editing
- What you hear in your headphones (if applicable) is what you’re recording
- Plug-in mics are better than built-in mics
- Omni-directional mics favor the loudest sounds
- Point uni-directional mics directly at sound source
- Clip-on mics are best for interviews
- Protect mics against wind noise
- Consider acoustics and mitigate sounds as best you can (eg: turn-off music in background)
- Always test your sound.
The in-built microphone on most cameras and camcorders are omni-directional, which means it will pick up sound from all around and will favor the loudest sound. If your camera doesn’t take inputs for microphones, make sure you are as close to the subject or event you are trying to capture (and think about borrowing a camera that has a mic you can attach!)
Uni-directional microphones are far more specific in the sound that they choose to pick up. They are a good type of microphone to use for recording interviews as then you can be sure that the sound from your interviewee is the sound that is favored. On most camcorders you can over-ride the built-in mic and plug in one of these types of microphones for exactly this purpose.
Better still, when recording interviews, you could try to use a clip-on mic if there is one available. These are very small microphones that you can attach to your interviewees clothing near to the neck. Although it is an omni-directional microphone and does pick up sound from all around, because of its positioning, what your interviewee says will become almost all the sound that it will pick up. When you are using this type of microphone, make sure nothing is obstructing the sound, such as clothing, hair or jewelry.
If you are videotaping inside, try to silence as much sound as you can – and be aware of the acoustics of the room or how the sound bounces from the walls. Places like tiled bathrooms or corridors tend to reflect sound and will echo very badly. Rooms with sound absorbent materials in them such as carpets, curtains, or soft furnishings are far better.
If you are shooting outside, one of the common problems you will come up against is wind noise as it wooshes past your microphone. There are a few ways that you can minimize this: try standing with your back to the wind so that you can shield the microphone yourself or by screen the microphone using a natural windbreak such as a wall or use a clip-on microphone with a wind gag, which should be provided with it.
This is a very comprehensive guide by videomaker which can give you a good idea on how to get great audio at live events! (5:14)
What’s Next? Tips for Getting Good Lighting
- To get good tips on how to improve your audio when doing interviews, watch this video from videomaker (2:20)
- This is a great outdoor audio guide from videomaker (3:48)
- Filming two shots can improve your audio – tip from videomaker (0:51)
- Videomaker shows in this video how an external mic can improve your sound (0:31)
- This comprehensive text guide should give you a good overview on how to get good audio