Top 7 Tips for Better Audio Recording

Audio recording is often an afterthought for videographers, but it’s just as important to your finished product as the recorded video. Good audio recording takes some effort, but it’s well worth it. Keep these tips in mind for audio recording that is easy to hear and a pleasure to listen to.

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Use a High-Quality Microphone
The microphones that are built into camcorders are usually low quality. They don’t always pick up sound well, and sometimes you end up hearing the sound of the camcorder operating.

If possible, use an external microphone whenever you shoot videos. A lavalier, or lapel mic, like the type newscasters use, is unobtrusive and especially helpful when you want to hear someone’s voice clearly.

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Monitor the Sound
If you can plug headphones into your camera, do it. They’ll allow you to hear exactly what the camera hears, so you’ll know if your subject is speaking loudly enough or if the background noises are too distracting. Use the best-quality headphones you have for the truest results.

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Limit Background Noises
Background noises are distracting in a video and can complicate the editing process. Turn off fans and refrigerators, so you don’t hear them humming. If there’s a window open, close it to shut out the traffic noises or the bird tweets.

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Turn Off the Music
If there’s music playing in the background, turn it off. Leaving it on while you’re recording make editing difficult because you can’t cut and rearrange clips without hearing the jumps in the music. If you like the music and want it in the video, it’s better to add it to the recording later on.

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Record Background Sound
Think about sounds that are specific to the event you’re recording and capture those on tape. If you’re at a carnival, the music of the merry-go-round and the sound of the popcorn popper adds to the mood of your video and help viewers feel as if they are there with you.

Record these sounds clearly without worrying about the video footage. While editing, you can move the audio clips around and have them play underneath different parts of your video.

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Watch Out for Wind
Recording outdoors on a windy day is difficult because the impact of the wind on the microphone can create loud slapping or popping sounds. You can buy a wind protector for your microphone to cut down on this effect or—in a pinch—slip a fuzzy sock over the mic.

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Add It Later
You can always add sound later. If you’re recording in a loud area, wait and record the narration later when you’re in a quieter space. You can also add sound effects, which are available with many editing programs.