One mistake people commonly make when shooting a video is to focus entirely on the image quality, without giving enough thought to the sound recording. Even a beautifully shot video on a professional-standard camera will feel unprofessional if the sound quality is poor. Here are some tips on the best ways to record audio for video shoots. 

Buy or hire a shotgun mic rather than using the camera’s internal mic

Very rarely will the camera’s internal mic be sufficient to record sound for a professional video. Even the top of the range cameras that record great visuals are not well equipped to filter out background noise or pick up dialogue from a distance. 

That is why you should get hold of a dedicated microphone such as a shotgun mic to record the audio for your shoot. Even if you don’t want to invest in one of your own – hire one!

Use a separate audio recorder

As well as a separate microphone, you should also consider using a separate audio recording device to record the sound for your video, which you can sync up with the visuals in the editing room. 

This will not only give you a better quality of sound but also allow your sound operator to move independently of the camera and get the best position for capturing the sound, regardless of the type of shot.

Record in a quiet space if possible

In some situations, such as lively on-location filming, it will be very difficult to eliminate all background noise. However, if you have the luxury, it is advised that you record your audio in a quiet space. 

For example, you will get better audio recording your interior scenes in a studio, rather than in a room within a house or an office, where there will be many ambient sounds and strange acoustics.

Get the mic as close to the subject as possible

One of the best ways to record quality audio for your video is to get the mic as close to the subject as possible (without entering the shot). 

Most of the time this will be possible simply by coordinating with the cinematographer and having the sound operator stand just outside the shot, but it might also mean you need to consider having personal clip-on microphones for your actors for some scenes, such as wide shots. 

Record ambient sound and sound effects separately

Recording ambient sounds and sound effects in real-time while shooting a scene can be tricky and your microphone will likely be positioned for picking up dialogue. 

This is why it is best to record any ambient sound and sound effects separately and then sync them up with the main audio track and the visuals in the editing room. Some sound effects can even be recreated in a studio.

Record any off-camera dialogue such as voiceovers in a soundproof/quiet room

If you have any audio that comes from off-camera, the best way is to record this off-set, in a quiet or ideally soundproof room. You will get much clearer audio this way, which is even more important when there are no lips to read on the screen to aid comprehension.

If it isn’t possible to record good quality audio on-set for on-camera dialogue, it will sometimes be necessary to re-record this dialogue in a controlled environment such as a studio and sync it up with the visuals. This is known as ADR or sometimes ‘looping’.

The best way to record audio for videos is to give it as much attention as you give the visuals. Record your sound with separate, dedicated equipment and don’t be hesitant to re-record anything you can’t get on location in a controlled environment.

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