Audio and Sound

Good audio is critical to good film and video production. If they can't understand your audio, they'll walk out. George Lucas said, "Sound is fifty percent of the movie-going experience" Sound is important for producers for whatever the end market is DVD, projected, internet or YouTube. It can be low quality or very compressed codec, but no matter what the medium, poor sound is an instant giveaway of an unprofessional work. The microphone and recording environment, which is the best mic for the job, well it can depend on the production at hand and in large part the type of camera you are working with.

1. Forget About Your Camcorder's On-board Mic

The consumer camcorders from the local electronics store can create decent video for YouTube, particularly if you have them on a tripod and plan the camera moves, but their on-board mics don’t give the best audio. Do what you can to get the mic as close to the subject sounds as possible, but not to close, i.e. talent, door, footsteps, dog, cat, mouse whatever it is you’re trying to capture, but not in the shot. This means the mic, the boom, a cable or yourself and a shadow of any of that. Invest in a good quality microphone. Select the right mics & amp, external recorders. A good mic is going to give you good audio quality. This isn’t to say that you can’t make do with an inexpensive microphone. For the most part, they worked fine, if you follow some tips and rules of sound recording. You don’t have to spend a lot to get a decent microphone for your production. But keep it out of the frame, but one of the most important things is to keep an eye on audio levels.

2. Recording Good Audio

Depending on the camera you’re using, if it has audio imputes then you will get much better sound if you use them. If it’s a mini or professional XLR you may need an adaptor of some kind. And you might have to go into the camera menu to have the camera look at that input. Other considerations are if the mic needs a power source. The many options for audio, some experimentation may be necessary to find the approach that works best in your situation. Most mics have optional foam windscreens, mic cages or large furry like blimps to encase shotgun mics, help reduce wind noise and popped-Ps. Lavalier, can be good for news or documentaries, but sometimes you need to hide a mic from cameras view, like narratives and dramatic productions. Capturing room tone or ambient sound at a location is paramount for great sound. You should capture a minute or so of the location sound at the end of that locations shoot and plan to move to a new location. Record the sound of the location when no one is speaking or moving. This will become extremely useful in editing.


Dynamic Microphone

Shot Gun

Lavalier or lav for short:

When choosing a microphone, your best way mic is a unidirectional mic. It records sound from one direction. This is great for recording sound because it only picks up the sound coming from the sound you are pointing at, so you won’t get a lot of the ambient noise.

3. Maintain a consistent environment.

In a perfect world, you have a recording studio where you can control all of the sound. But on location you have all kinds of situation that are less than ideal for recording sound. In that case, you’re going to have to get creative when you record.

The more you have control over the recording surroundings the better quality audio you can record. One key is to develop a consistent routine for recording. It never fails that you’ll have to do many takes and you should take more than one take, you should take a safety even if you and the director like a take. Pay attention to the ambient or background sound, plains, cars, trucks, dogs, birds, kids and just about any sound that can seams out of place or distractive to the end user.

4. Control as much of the ambient noise as you can:

Very rarely is there complete silence. You want to get rid of as much noise you can that you have control over. Unplug office machines, fans, air conditioners and refrigerators (but don’t to turn it back on). Tell everyone around you to be quiet. Put signs on the door. Do whatever you have to do to get rid of the noise.

5. Dampen the sound

In a recording studio, the walls are designed to absorb the sound waves. You can do something similar. Cubicle walls are designed to absorb sound. Many audio people bring moving blankets and then hung them on c-stands.

6. Audio editing

Audio editing allows you to adjust the volume of individual frames; you can insert fades if necessary at the end of takes.

7. Looping or ADR

ADR stand for "Automated" or "Automatic" Dialog Replacement.

Looping involved an actor or talent speaking lines in sync to image of them which are played over and over along with matching lengths of recording tape. ADR is faster than looping.

If the talent's line readings are similar in timing, it's could be possible to cut the best takes together under the best visual take, to produce the best overall complete take. For narration, where it's easier to edit multiple takes together, since you don't have to worry about synchronizing to lip movements. Video-editing soft wear can be use full for sound editing; it will be better and useful to export audio to a digital audio workstation (DAW) program. Using a DAW program such as Adobe's Audition, can allow your audio editing to go beyond what most video editing programs will allow. You can also change dialogue with pitch-changing software, like Roland's V-Vocal plug-in, they can create high pitch and low pitch effects by pitching an entire vocal up or down.

8. No Mic Jacks? No Problem!

If you have a camera, but it's missing a jack for an external microphone, the most obvious is to record MOS, as they said in the early days of filmmaking, German for Mit Out Sound, It stands for "motor only sync" or "motor only shot" a.k.a. without sound, and then add music, sound effects and narration in the editing bay.

HD camcorder with on XLR inputs, you can used a Zoom H4n digital Handy Recorder to record dialogue, while recording video with a consumer-grade camera. You can plug a professional mic into one of its two XLR inputs; do for get to slate it. In Hollywood for a long time, they recorded audio with a tape recorder, and then synced to the picture in the editing room. To make it simplify Hollywood would use a clapperboard or slate to simultaneously generate a loud audio clack! and the filmed image of its two boards coming together as a visual cue to syncing up the sound and picture.

If you don’t have a slate you can hand-clap on-camera has worked since the earliest days of the first talkies in the late 1920s, and it is one option to consider if you're recording audio into a digital recorder. You can use the audio from the camera’s built in mic as a guide. Most editing programs generate a visual image of the waveforms of the audio. On a movie or TV series, the sound department often consists of numerous people, from boom operators to sound effects people to mixers. Working carefully, with a solid knowledge of what hardware and software are capable of, getting the best possible audio for any production.