You can record a flawless video, with seamless lighting and picture. But...if your audio is not 100% clean, you can say goodbye to your perfect film.
Audio is just as, and maybe more, important than any other aspect of your film. Clear audio is key to fluid storytelling. There are a few basic tips that every beginner filmmaker should know in order to craft his or her story in the best light possible.
Here is our guide to recording audio for beginners:
Choose the Appropriate Audio Equipment
In order to produce quality audio, you’ll need to start with choosing the appropriate equipment. Most cameras come equipped with an internal microphone but since those are omni-directional, they do not record the highest quality audio possible. Omnidirectional microphones record audio from all directions whereas directional microphones are more focused.
To produce the best quality audio, you’ll need to record with an external microphone and audio interface. Here’s a complete list of all the audio equipment you’ll need:
External microphone (lavalier, shotgun mic, on-camera mic, etc.)
XLR cable (if mic is not wireless)
Audio interface/recorder (Zoom, Sound Device, Tascam, etc)
Headphones (for monitoring recording)
Boom pole (if necessary)
Your audio will be recorded into your audio interface where the sound is captured into wav files. You can sync this audio file with your video later on in the editing process.
Once you’ve chosen your audio equipment of choice, before shooting, you’ll need to allow ample time for set up. Give yourself at least 20-30 minutes to set up your audio equipment.
If using an audio recorder that requires an input, connect your mic to your audio recorder with an XLR cable. Place your mic out of the frame but close enough (and at a good angle) to pick up clear audio. Then turn your equipment on.
It’s crucial to test your audio levels before hitting the record button. Double check to make sure everything is on and then grab your headphones. Once your talent is mic’d up, you’ll need to test their audio levels.
Have your talent say a few words to make sure their audio levels are not too low or not peaking. While they’re talking, adjust their audio levels to make sure they are in between -20db and -12db. Once you’re there, you’re ready to record.
Monitor Audio Throughout the Shoot
After your first take, you’ll want to pause and play back the audio. Playback the audio and check that it is within range without too much external disturbances or chatter. Once you strike the perfect balance, you’ll need to monitor the audio levels throughout the remainder of the shoot.
Watch the audio levels on your audio interface. Be aware of peaking and extremely low audio levels. Make adjustments as you go to find the perfect level. You should also wear your headphones at all time to monitor the recording.
Audio files can get lost and confusing easily. To avoid any confusion, upload your audio files onto your computer immediately. Name them and mark the files that you will be using in post-production. This way, the editor will have a much better time to sync the audio and video files together.
Follow these steps and you’re sure to have seamless audio. For help renting affordable yet high-quality audio equipment, browse our selection of audio equipment for rent today!