How to Get Better Audio for Your Videos
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Today we’ll discuss some videography tips that will make it possible for you to capture better audio for your videos…
Our audio tips for videos involve some low-priced videography gear, some simple techniques, and a couple of free tips for videographers about situational awareness.
Use the Proper Mic
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First and foremost tip for capturing better audio for your videos is to choose the right microphone for the video. While the built-in mics on digital cameras have improved greatly, they still have limitations.
Think of it in the same way we deal with the built-in flash. Good enough for some very simple uses, but an external unit adds more versatility and better quality. There are several different types of external mics that can be used to gather better audio for your videos.
A shotgun mic is what most starting to work in advanced videography will think of first, which is a good thing, since these will act in a way most similar to the built-in mics, mounting directly to the camera via the hot shoe.
Off-Camera Mic Placement
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A shotgun mic can also be used off-camera by mounting it to an extension pole or by placing it on a small tripod or tripod alternative like the OctoPad so you can put it closer to the subject. Videographers will often do this because it helps reduce background noise and eliminates camera noise such as focus motors and us jostling the camera.
A handheld mic can be put in a bracket and placed near the subject, too. This option is a nice way to capture better audio for your videos while staying under a limited videography gear budget.
Since we’re discussing videography gear for a variety of budgets, the mount used to place a mic closer to the subject can be very easy on the debit card. The OctoPad mentioned above is a fantastic low cost solution for placing mics near the subject regardless of the spot you're recording in.
OctoPad is a semi rigid weighted disk with a non-slip pad on the bottom side and a ball head or an extension arm on top. It’s ¼-20 threaded so a lot of mic holding accessories will fit readily. The non-slip pad allows for placing the OctoPad on virtually any type of surface from a student desk, living room couch, motorcycle gas tank, or a tree stump.
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Lavalier mics, wired or wireless, are small mics that attach to a person’s clothing or wearable accessories that keep the mics close to a person’s mouth. A full kit of wireless lavalier mics can be a little pricey, but wired versions are very budget friendly for high quality versions.
Free Audio Tips for Videos
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Eliminate reflections! As a photographer or as a videographer placing lights, you already know that some surfaces are more reflective than others. It works the same way for sound.
A relatively empty room with large, blank walls will cause more sound reflection than a room filled with furniture, carpet, and stuff on the walls. Even the type of paint can make a difference, flat paint reflecting less than semi gloss, for instance. An office with suspended ceilings is better for audio than a low drywall ceiling.
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Outdoors, pay attention to ambient noise such as traffic, crowds, wind, or dogs and birds. A tree full of birds can overpower an outdoor interview, but trees and bushes in general are great for diminishing traffic noise. A grassy field or yard provides better audio than a parking lot or sidewalk.
Wind is often a huge factor for outdoor filming, so in addition to making sure hair and clothing stays put, using a windsock on our mics is a good idea. Even the tiny lavalier mics have windsocks or windscreens included.
A person’s own breath can become a problem when mics are placed close to their mouths. Using the windsocks even when indoors helps control the pop of the letter P or the whistle of an SH sound. Professional vocal artists use a pop screen right in front of the mic for these reasons.
Better Audio is More Viewable
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A major reason for wanting to capture better audio for your videos is to make them more viewable. Few things take a person out of enjoying a video other than poor sound. People are much more forgiving of focus and exposure issues than sound problems.
Using better mics, inexpensive accessories, and good mic placement will help you make videos that others enjoy watching. Good editing technique will also help you achieve this, which we’ve discussed in some of our other articles. Better audio for your videos is within your reach.