20 Apr 2020
Have you ever turned off a video because you couldn't understand what it was saying? Well, you are not alone. You've probably heard this before, bad-quality audio is harder to ignore than low-quality footage.
If your audience is interested in what you have to say, they are more likely to tolerate low-quality footage if they can understand what you are saying. But if your voice isn't cutting through the noise, or is too low, viewers won't stick around.
Nowadays, with high-quality video content available at our fingertips, people recognize low-quality audio in seconds. So, if video is the medium of your choice for reaching your audience, it is essential to have that crisp and clear audio.
Recording quality audio on a budget or even with built-in microphones shouldn't feel like climbing Everest. And we are here to help with it. We’ve shot a short video to give you some tips on how to create a shooting environment to record high-quality audios.
In this video, we cover everything you need to know to record high-quality audio on a budget, from echo-proofing the room to dealing with the wind noise.
Let's start with the basics. This may seem like a no-brainer, but sometimes the low quality of your sound can be a distance problem. Staying far from your camera for the perfect frame can result in low-quality audio because the built-in mic isn't close enough. This is caused by the built-in omnidirectional mics of the phones - they pick up your voice, sure, but they also pick up the sound from all around the room.
To solve this problem, stay as close to your source as possible. Experiment a little with the distance before you start the actual shooting, to make sure you've eliminated as much background noise as possible.
In the first part of the video, we've used the built-in mic of an iPhone XS to record the audio. Can you notice the difference?
So, you've found your perfect shot and started recording your video; everything is going well… Suddenly, a text message or a call arrives, ruining your recording and the video. Sounds painful, doesn't it?
What you can do here is either start all over again or deal with the embarrassment of having the notification sound in your video. To avoid this, always put your phone on airplane mode when recording a video.
This will silence the wifi, cellular, and Bluetooth connections of your phone. Most modern smartphones have this option, so make sure to know where it is and how to use it.
Does your shoot take place in a warehouse or another large empty room? That's pretty awesome, up until the moment you realize that an empty room is an audio recording nightmare.
"Echoey" sound is one of the most common problems video makers encounter when shooting in acoustically untreated rooms. Sound waves bounce back from the bare walls and tile floor, causing an echo.
To avoid this, you'll need to soften the room a little, or in more professional terms, treat it. Fill the room with objects that can absorb the sound, so that it doesn't bounce back and cause an echo.
If you have a carpet, a bunch of pillows, bean bags, and cushions at hand, you could use them to "dampen" the room. They will do the job just great! But if you’re looking for an easier solution, or plan to make a small studio at home, you can go with the sound blankets.
They are designed specifically to echo-proof the rooms, are extremely affordable and do a great job in reducing the echo of the room.
One of the more affordable options you can try to improve your sound quality is Heavy Duty blankets by Stalwart․
Having a spare microphone always comes in handy when recording audio. Of course, the better your gear, the clearer your audio will be. The good news is, you don't need a bunch of fancy and expensive equipment to record quality audio.
If you have them, that's great, of course, you can go ahead and use them! But if you are on a budget, there are a bunch of inexpensive options available. One of such options you've probably heard of and seen are the lavalier mics. They sound much better than the built-in mic of your phone and are quite affordable.
The mic model we used in the video is Rode Lavalier GO. This model cost us around 80 dollars and is an excellent mid-range microphone. You can take a look at the model specifications here․ Depending on what your budget is, more affordable versions are available, starting from as low as 10 dollars, as the AUFGELD Omnidirectional Condenser Mic.
Shooting outdoors is a dream for every video maker: gorgeous backgrounds, lots of natural lighting, beautiful scenery. What else do you need for perfect footage, right? Well... Almost. You also need decent audio to get your point across. This can be a huge problem, especially if you are using a built-in mic.
During outdoor shootings, even a slight wind can cause havoc and ruin your audio. The problem of the wind noise is so severe that the only way to fix it in post-production is to edit it out and replace it with a new recording. That being said, when you have an outdoor shooting scheduled, it's crucial to eliminate the problem before it's even there.
To avoid getting windy and noisy audio, we do advise opting out of using your built-in mic. Once again, lavalier mics will do a great job here. In this case, however, you need to do a little more adjusting than during the indoor shoots.
First of all, you need to be careful with the foam windscreen - the thin foam piece coming with most lav mics. These windscreens can be okay to use when the mic is attached to the outer surface of clothing during light breezes․
However, they aren't the best option to go with if you want to attach them inside of your clothing. The foam is very delicate, and removing the sticky tapes attaching it can damage or destroy the screen. These windscreens also won't work in the conditions of shooting in heavy wind, as the foam is too thin.
If you watched the video, you’ve probably noticed the wind filter we used on the lav mic for our outdoor shoot.
Those fluffy things are known among the filmmaking community as the deadcat, for obvious reasons. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, depending on the microphone you are using, and do a great job in shielding your audio from the wind sound. The windscreen we used in the video is by Onwon. They cost around 7 dollars a pair, and are designed to fit with most lav mics perfectly.
Today, the internet is oversaturated with content. To build a loyal audience for your project or brand, ensuring the superior quality of your work is one of the steps to success. Hopefully, you'll find value in the tips above, and they will save you additional work next time you are shooting a video.
And remember! If something isn't working out, it's a great chance to get creative and experiment with the resources you have at hand, and ultimately, create even better content.
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