While many may think the actual imagery shown in a video is the most important aspect of any movie or clip, the proper audio plays an equally important role. Sound is incredibly important to video producers, assisting in delivering the messages the imagery is portraying. And the bad sound quality? Now that’s certainly noticeable to even the novice ear.
With the importance of recording audio for video, our professional video production team is sharing all the tips for how to record audio and video and the best way to record audio. Here’s how it’s done.
#1. Be Aware of the Recording Environment
One of the first things to notice when navigating how to get great audio for video is the environment you’re recording in. Good audio is created in a good environment, which is one with minimal surrounding sounds. With a quiet environment, you can save yourself a ton of time in the editing process dealing with noise cancellation and editing out sounds or adding overdubs.
In many cases, we cannot control the sound in a location, but checking it out in advance can give you a better understanding of what you’re working with before recording sound for video. Additionally, when recording, take notes on any information that can help you remember and differentiate between takes, writing down time codes or performance notes and editing points to make it easier in the aftermath to edit.
#2. Make Sure Your Audio Is Synced
Do you know how to record mic audio and sync up the sound? Unlike the early days in Hollywood where synching sound and video required clapboards, we can simply scrub by frame, aligning the audio to the correct place during the sample level.
One of the best sync options when recording audio is to an external digital recorder. However, another option is to use the audio from a camera’s microphone as the guide. Either way, you want to ensure the audio and video are perfectly synched so you can avoid that irksome imbalance between audio and mouths moving.
#3. Choose the Right Microphone
One of the most important aspects of sound recording for video is using the right microphone. Believe it or not, no two microphones offer the same benefits, and finding the right one to achieve your ideal audio is pertinent. Microphones utilized in video production come in many shapes and sizes, with different amenities and strengths to capture audio in various situations. As part of your video production, we recommend investing in at least one microphone for your setup.
The microphone options you have to choose from running the gamut, but the top choices include:
- Shotgun: Likely the most versatile tool to add to a setup, but not ideal for loud environments.
- Wireless: Ideal for freedom and mobility.
- Handheld: A standard for on-the-go interview audio needs.
- Boundary/PZM: More inconspicuous mikes that can be placed in different locations, such as on a wall or table.
- Stereo Microphones: Can capture musical performances, as well as ambient sound.
- Wired Lavalier: Ideal for the most direct pickup of a person’s sound.
#4. Apply Wind Protection When Recording Outdoors
If you are recording outside, it’s important to have wind and weather protection for microphones. Even low-frequency wind and dripping rain can compromise your audio, so it’s important to invest in this protection to shoot in any environment, no matter the weather.
#5. Use a Separate Recorder When Needed
To get the best audio record video quality, using a separate recorder can sometimes be incredibly beneficial.
Especially in the case of smaller DV cameras, a separate recorder is recommended. This will help boost the audio quality, allowing you to have more control over the levels, and have better results with a dedicated, high-quality recorder. This is because some cameras are not equipped to record the best audio, leaving you with spotty or low-quality audio you won’t be pleased to include in your video.
#6. Utilize the Hardware Compression
In the case of a studio interview or voiceover, using a hardware dynamics processor can make for a big improvement to audio. These systems are often overlooked but can do a lot to smooth your signal and allow you to achieve more levels from your recorder. In fact, many portable field mixers have limiters already built in, so give them a try!
#7. Apply Audio Restoration
In the case that background noise has ruined the quality of your recording, you can turn to restoration software. This software allows you to work within your host editing program, operating as a plug-in or a standalone application. With this, you can reduce unwanted audio such as clicks, crackles, background noise, or wind. Two go-to options for restoration software are Soundsoap and Waves Restoration Bundle to assist in achieving the best recording sound for video.
#8. Don’t Forget About Audio EQ and Mixing
When navigating how to record audio for a video, always remember audio EQ and mixing concepts. With each element of your project having a different frequency range, this can be equalized to preserve a sonic space when combined with your other elements. Take dialogue, for example. This will carry a low frequency, which can be “rolled off” to better blend with other tracks to avoid low-frequency buildup.
Additionally, proper EQ can help make voices stand out and minimize unwanted background noise. This will be beneficial as you continue to elevate your audio recording skills, so become familiar with these concepts.
#9. Study the Audio Editing Plugins
When figuring out the best way to record audio for video, be sure to understand the editing plugins available. These originate from physical outboard equipment and include compressors, limiters, EQ, noise gates, delays, and reverbs. Nowadays, software companies have implemented several computer plugins that allow you to enhance various audio elements, which are great for processing video dialogue.
#10. Apply Pitch Correction
When it comes to making dialogue edits, pitch-shifting software comes in handy. This can change voices entirely by pitching an entire vocal up or down. However, in more subtle instances, it can be used to adjust the pitch at the end of a sentence, changing the impact it has, such as giving it an upturned sound for a more clear end.
#11. Add Some Effects
With the latest technology today, several different effects can be added to audio to further enhance the vibe. For instance, a discord pitch can change an echo to descend or rise, creating an ominous feel. With tools like Audio Damage, there are an array of unique computer music plugins and other sounds using the affordable plugin, Discord, which you can peruse to enhance your audio.
#12. Apply Noise Reduction
We’ve spoken a lot about the impact of background noise, but applying noise reduction can help reduce this unwanted sound for a clearer recording. Options such as Izotope’s RX 8, a standalone program and plugin, offer noise reduction. This can be great for tackling random sounds, such as computer sounds that a screen recording with voiceover may have picked up. Additionally, it can tackle digital distortion.
#13. Do Some Work in the Studio
When recording sound for video, there are some cases in which audio recorded in a studio is the best route. Especially in cases of voiceovers, which are read from a script and typically require a specialized actor, a studio is an ideal setting.
A studio is also great when it comes to Foley. Foley is a term that refers to the practice of reproducing everyday sounds to use in films to enhance a scene. Foley artists will use random objects and tools to mimic real-life sounds – something a studio will best pick up on.
When it comes to the best way to record audio, there are many different factors at play that can help you create the most premium recording audio for video. While it takes some practice and understanding of different software and plug-ins, taking the time to learn this technology and create the ideal setup will result in the best sound to accompany your video.