For good video, record good audio
Never underestimate the power of clear audio in your videos...
Video as a visual medium has exploded on to all types of gadgets and devices in recent years. The rise of video has seen a huge increase in video content being created for all different purposes, such as personal memories, events, instruction and promotion to name a few. Videos can be exciting, factual or fun, however one important factor in making a video easy to watch is quality audio.
Veiwers can forgive shaky, badly framed or boring video footage if the sound is clear, crisp and helps to push the video forward, essential if your prime directive is a marketing message.
Here are a few things to consider when recording video with interview or narrated audio...
Always consider how a location sounds as well as how it looks. Find a place with no unwanted noises (traffic, background chatter, buzzing air-conditioning units, etc.). Try listening to a location for a few minutes to pick out any distracting sounds that might come across in your recording. Never rule out the possibility of having to find another location.
Another important considration is good acoustics. Recording audio in a highly reverberant space will cause echoes. These echoes can mix with the intended recording creating a dull, indistinct and difficult to understand soundtrack. Rooms with carpet and soft furnishings usually have better acoustic qualities.
Use an external mic as the mic that's attached to your camcorder is a compromise designed to pick up as much as possible. That means foreground noise, background noise and everything inbetween. External shotgun mics are designed to be positioned very close to your interviewee or narrator and have a very directional pick up pattern so won't pick up so much of the surrounding ambient noise.
Another option for interviews is a quality lavalier mic (clip on mic/tiepin mic). These types of mic are attached to your interviewee in close proximity to their mouth, all but ensuring crisp audio.
Always watch audio levels closely. This is a critical part of the process and should always be done with headphones. Many videographers set the levels based on what they see in the levels indicator on the camcorder screen. Only by using headphones will you be certain that the sound being indicated is the sound you want to record and not a background noise.
Turn off your camcorder's Auto Gain Control (AGC) and set audio levels manually... The AGC will compensate for level changes by trying to match a constant volume of the recording to the sound being recorded. This sounds great, however AGC will introduce increased background noise in quiet portions of the recording.
By remembering these basic points when recording sound you will have an increased chance of consistently capturing better quality audio time after time...