The process of capturing the sound is one of the most important parts of how to record great sound in filmmaking.
Without the ability to capture sound and record it accurately, you will find your video editing time to be much more difficult than you originally thought it would be.
RECORDING GREAT SOUND
What Is Sound Recording in Filmmaking?
Sound recordings can be either live or pre-recorded, but there is always an audio engineer who records them with microphones, mixers, and other equipment.
These recordings are then fed into an audio console which has software programs designed specifically for film editing purposes so that the filmmaker can control the levels of each individual track during post-production mixing sessions.
Sound In Video Production: 5 Steps to Better Quality Sound
Whether you have knowledge of filmmaking already, or if you’re interested in having a promotional video made by us, you probably know that sound is even more important than the picture when it comes to film or video.
If this doesn’t seem accurate to you, try out this simple experiment:
- turn off the sound and watch a movie on silent for several minutes,
- then turn the sound back on, but don’t look at the picture.
The latter is something most of us do every now and then. People watch TV while cooking, cleaning or paying their bills and during this time they are distracted from the picture, but keep listening to the audio.
So what can you do to record better sound? In this article we won’t focus on soundtracks or voiceovers, but will instead discuss something which is hard to fix at the post-production stage: sounds recorded on location (diegetic sound).
Here are five tips that will help you control what is being picked up by microphones:
1. Listen To Your Location
Wind, cars driving past, children in a playground, birdsongs ― all of these are natural sounds of the outdoors and you can’t change them, but you need to make sure they set the right mood for your video.
Even when shooting in a room, there are always some external noises ― air conditioning units, clocks, and even some lightbulbs make their own sound.
It may seem quiet to your ears, but it becomes a lot louder in the video. To make sure your location sound matches your plan, record it for several minutes and listen to it before you start shooting.
2. Ignore The Dialogue
As a videographer, you should pay attention to the sound at the time of recording and try not to get distracted by dialogue. The speech volume, background noises, and the quality of the picture are the only things that matter at this stage.
3. Record Extra Pieces Of Location Sound
When there is no extra action going on, you are able to fully concentrate on the background sounds. Record the sounds you are looking for before or after the shoot and use them later.
4. Use Soft Cushions And Carpets To Create A Quiet Atmosphere
You can mute the room’s sound by using a lot of fabric. If you need a quieter space, add pillows, blankets, and carpets. Keep in mind that you will need to adjust the volume too.
5. Place The Mic Correctly
This tip is mostly for recording dialogue and interviews. Although using an on-camera microphone for this is not recommended, if you have to use one make sure you’re as close as possible to the person who is talking.
When using a hidden lavalier mic, double-check that no hair, buttons, or fabric layers can touch it when the person moves.
Scratching noises from this kind of material can be a nightmare and send audiences reeling! Another option is to cover the mic with special fabric.
If you’re shooting with a directional or boom mic, it is possible to obtain the best speech quality, but in this case, you also need a helper who can adjust the position of the microphone while you shoot.
Your main goal is to make sure there are no loud external noises disrupting the dialogue, but in most cases, you also need to have some natural noises in the background.
A video where people are talking outdoors, but the environment is completely quiet with no street sounds seems odd.
Although you can add audio at the time of editing, the results will be more natural if you use original location sounds and then edit or enhance them if needed.
Audio Recording In Video Production
I wanted to take the time today to talk a bit about audio recording and how it affects our video production work.
In order to give a simple overview of audio recording, we’re going to go through some of the very basic considerations and different types of sound recording available.
When creating a high-quality video for yourself or your clients, it’s important to remember that the image is not the only consideration.
You can shoot the crispest and most vibrant images, but without strong audio recording to go alongside it, the image will almost certainly fall flat.
After all, video is a marriage between video audio elements.
Knowing what kind of audio works best for production can help us ensure that we deliver only the highest quality content to our clients.
Each different type of microphone provides specific pros and cons, so knowing how we will approach a particular production is important before even touching a microphone of any kind.
In general, there are three types of audio equipment that we can choose from when recording video.
1. Shotgun Microphones
For productions that are shooting wide-angle scenes with multiple people or complicated scenarios, shotgun microphones are a must. No other equipment can get crisp professional sound at a distance as a shotgun microphone can.
These high-tech microphones can catch the sound waves directly from a person’s voice box simply by having someone point the microphone in their direction.
While these are by far the best option for most video productions, certain situations call for a more specific audio solution, and I’ve listed a couple of these below.
2. Lavalier Microphones
In some cases, a shotgun microphone just isn’t the right solution. In the case of sit-down interviews and other simple, one-person shot set-ups, a lavalier microphone provides the ideal option.
These microphones allow the subject to feel comfortable during their performance and can be run easily without the requirement of having an operator on-hand (as with some shotgun microphone setups).
In general, most commercial video production on a small scale can benefit in some way from a quality lavalier microphone, so it’s something that we always carry.
In addition to corporate/commercial applications, we also use lavalier mics extensively in our wedding videography work.
3. Built-In Microphones
In situations where either a shotgun or lavaliere microphone cannot be used, for example with space or other constraints, built-in microphones can still provide a decent quality of sound.
Depending on the equipment we’re using, in these cases, we have to adjust our shots to place speaking subjects within the built-in microphone’s range of sound capture.
The more higher-end Canon DSLRs, for example, have great sound capability that is more than sufficient if other sound recording setups can’t be used in a particular situation.
Learn How To Record Great Sound In Filmmaking
There are many factors that go into recording great sound, and there are many different ways that you can go about recording them.
In this article, we will discuss a few of these different ways, as well as provide you with the tools and equipment you will need in order to record them correctly.
In order to capture sound as clearly and as loudly as possible, it is important that the audio is recorded from a clean source.
In the case of digital audio sources such as digital recordings on DVD or computer files, you have two options.
You can either record the audio from the analog source or the digital source.
However, if you want to go with the best audio recording quality, you should record from a digital source.
In order for you to correctly capture a digital sound source, there are some things that you should consider doing.
First off, never use a microphone that is not designed for audio recording. Many popular microphone brands such as Sennheiser and Sony make digital microphones that can handle audio input on their brand.
However, there are some other brands that do not, so it is always important to check with the user to make sure you are using the right type of microphone.
Digital audio recordings also require that you use the software in order to properly insert the sound effects and tracks.
Another option is the digital computer hard drive, which is very similar to a DVD burner except that it is digital.
This type of hard drive allows you to save your files onto a hard drive and then play it back in order to view the recorded media. Digital sound recording is also often referred to as “Duo Digital” or “CD Quality.”
How To Record Great Sound
If you are looking for how to record great sound in filmmaking, then there is one major thing that you need to know about. The ability to capture sound digitally is only as good as the source. In other words, you cannot use a digital source to record an analog signal.
When trying to record an analog signal, there is a much larger risk of losing the quality of your sound because there is a greater amount of resistance in moving the signal through various media.
For example, if you were to move an analog tape recorder from a direct digital source to an audio track, you stand a much greater chance of experiencing a drop in the quality of the sound.
This can be disastrous to your production because it will ruin the mood and impact of the final product.
The best way to learn how to record great sound in filmmaking is to do so on real media.
It doesn’t matter what type of digital media you use to record this information, the fact remains that you are capturing information in a completely different manner than you would with conventional media.
When learning how to record media for your final project, you should record it onto a high-resolution computer monitor.
You should not record onto an LCD screen because LCD screens are unable to display the necessary amount of detail needed to get the desired results.
Having said that, you should record onto a laptop if at all possible because laptops have much better viewing capabilities than standard desktop computers.
One of the most important steps when learning how to record great sound in filmmaking is making sure to test your source using two different methods.
Using one digital camera and trying to match the image as closely as possible using the internal camera’s LCD panel or DVD video recorder is one common method of capturing media.
When editing, you should always make sure to go slow and ensure that everything has a steady beat. If you do not have a steady beat, then it is very easy to get the tone of the audio and video to go drastically out of sync.
This can cause a distracting quality to come about in the video that will definitely take away from the final product you’re trying to produce.
In addition to this, when editing, it is always important to use effects that do not affect the signal or compression capabilities of the source material.
Recording Sound – In Conclusion
With a growing number of users consuming videos on their mobile devices, sound is becoming even more important.
Keep in mind that a lot of your customers are going to watch your video on a small screen, often using headphones.
Studies show that viewers can tolerate poor picture quality in some cases, but they are very unlikely to watch videos with bad audio.
The bottom line is that audio is vital in video production, so make sure your videos not only look good but that they sound good too.
I hope this short look into sound and audio recording, as it pertains to video, has been interesting.