Audio recording is often an afterthought to videographers, but it's just as important to your finished product as the recorded video. Good audio recording takes a little bit of 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.
1. Use a Quality Microphone
Microphones built in to camcorders are generally low quality. They don't always pick up sound well, and sometimes you'll end up hearing the sound of the camcorder operating.
If possible, use an external microphone whenever you're shooting videos. A lavaliere, or lapel mic, like the type newscasters use, is unobtrusive and especially helpful if you want to hear someone's voice clearly.
2. 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.
3. Limit Background Noises
Background noises can be distracting in a video, and can make for difficult editing. Turn off fans and refrigerators so you don't hear them humming. If there's a window open, close it and shut out the traffic noises.
If there's music playing in the background, turn it off. Leaving it on while you're recording will 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 in the recording later on.
5. Record Background Sound
Think about what sounds are distinctive to the event you're recording, and try to capture those on tape. If you're at a carnival, the music of the merry-go-round and the sound of the popcorn popper will really add to the mood of your video and help viewers feel as if they are there with you.
Try to record these sounds clearly, without worrying too much about the video footage. While editing you can move the audio clips around and have them playing underneath different parts of your video.
6. 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!
7. Add It Later
Remember, you can always add sound later. If you're recording in a loud area, wait and record narration later when you're in a quieter space. Or you can wait and add sound effects, which are available with many editing programs.