Your Video is Going Nowhere Without Quality Audio.
It is possible to have great visuals in your product video and you are probably familiar with a good number of them. In fact, most smartphones in the market today can shoot HD video in various formats, from 720p all the way to 4K. Editing tools are also aplenty and getting high quality video files with special effects and other visual effects is something that almost anyone can do with a bit of practice. Video, for the most part is set; moving images interacting with each other is a walk in the park. What about audio though? You are sure to have encountered a whole ton of videos that look nice and is cut well, but sound bad; they are immediately noticeable. Videos, especially product videos and explainer videos have to reach the target audience and if they do not feel drawn to it, you’ve already lost them.
How audio effects the experience?
It is said that if your audio is of high quality but your video is sub-par, it is not as bad as having it the other way around. If you don’t think that’s true, go through any concert bootleg video in YouTube, the video will probably suck, but if you can hear the band clearly, it is a win. Audio is something that no one notices unless it is really good or really bad. If it is really good, kudos. If it isn’t, people will not be able to get past it. Everybody can tell if the audio is bad and they will make it a point to point it out to you.
Cameras, for the most part concentrate on good video and have less than passable audio capabilities, in fact, most brands barely even try. There are three options, really, that you are left with:
- Record audio with your camera, knowing that it is not going to turn out great.
- Use only the footage, and have a backing track with narration or just use placards like the old days.
- Record high quality audio files separately and sync them post production.
Audio makes up a little over 50% of all video content in terms of reach with the viewers and with every percentage drop in audio quality, the overall experience dives dramatically.
How to do it?
First off, you will have to move away from the very thought of using your camera’s audio recorder, much like the CD player in your car’s radio, it is there just in case, not as a real, everyday use device. So here are a few ways in which you can capture good audio with your video.
It is a step above built-in mics and the cheapest way to improve on the audio. Mounted mics are normally mounted on top of a camera via a shoe mount and is pointed in the same direction as the lens. Their biggest advantage is that they record the audio directly into the video and not separately, it replaces the built-in mic. They are also cheap, and the final output will show it. The mic will also be closer to the camera than it is to the subject, so the creaks and groans from the camera, the buttons, the hard whirring and even small sounds from the camera operator may get picked up.
Recording audio separately is the best way to get high fidelity files to go with your HD video. Unlike video formats that are readily identifiable by most, audio quality is not something that is popular, except by technicians and audiophiles. Recording devices make sure the content that it records are of high quality, are crisp and can be reproduced in a way that is without loss when going through editing and other post production stages. Recording devices, however, only record, they do not capture any sound, you will need a microphone for that.
Microphones have to be used in conjunction with recorders as they only capture sound, they do not do recording. There are a number of different options when it comes to microphones and they each have their own advantages and drawbacks.
Most TV reporters and other like ‘in the action’ shoots make use of hand held microphones. While they are useful and will give you great sound, it makes your video look like, well, a news report. Sometimes, holding the mic just away from the frame can do the trick.
Shotgun mics are the ones that have a certain pattern in the way they capture sound. They usually look like thin, long tubes with a layer of foam over them. They can be placed at a distance and will capture sounds effectively from up to two or three feet away. They are sometimes held from a lengthened stick or rod called a boom.
Also called lapel mics or lav mics, these microphones are small and clipped directly on to the subject’s clothing, they are great to capture spoken words and can be strategically placed in such a way that it is completely hidden.
Video production typically requires a crew of people, and you will need a minimum of two people to capture video effectively, with one person at the camera and one tasked with audio. The person capturing sound will have very little interaction with the camera and will sometimes be away from the camera and will concentrate on the right angle and placement of the microphone to get the best audio.
Syncing the audio files with the video files is the last step and it will make everything a lot more easier if there is some point where both begin so that they remain synced at all times, this is even more important when there are multiple cameras at play. Using clapboard solves this issue right away.
If you can get a good audio recording in your shoot, your work is almost half done, it also makes the editing process a lot easier and saves time and money as well.
Originally published at www.meltycone.com.