Take Your Audio to the Next Level

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Take Your Audio to the Next LevelYou’ve gone through the 7 steps of video production, learned how to bring the game trailers to your audience and how to create software demos. In each of these posts we emphasized the importance of your audio. Today we’re offering tips and tricks to improve the audio quality of your videos.

Sound Source

There are a wide variety of microphones on the market, so understanding which mic to use in different situations is important. Consider these two types of inexpensive microphones that specialize in creating demos, interviews and webinars:


  • Lavalier microphone: Lav mics are primarily used to clip on a lapel or shirt for individual interviews. These are usually unidirectional mics, meaning it will only pick up sound from one direction. This makes it perfect for recording audio in loud locations because it will only pick up the sound of your interviewee’s voice.


  • Voice recorders: Voice recorders are an inexpensive and easy-to-use way to record quality audio. These can be used for interviews or as a data storage device by plugging an external microphone into the recorder.



Audio editing tools

For professional sound production you will need mixers, soundboards, several mics, sound booths and an audio engineer. If this sounds too complicated, don’t worry.

With the advance in audio software technology and smaller, more powerful PCs, all you need for high-quality sound is a mic, a laptop or an audio recorder, and audio editing software.

There are many audio-specific editing software options from Windows Audio Recorder and Garage Band to Pro Tools and Sonic X1. If you’ve invested in video software, such as Final Cut Pro X, Sony Vegas, Adobe Premiere Pro, iMovie or Windows Movie Maker, you have access to audio editing software. Although the video editing software isn’t as robust with effects and plug-ins, they have plenty of tools to create professional-sounding audio.


How to Record

Once you’ve picked the right mic for your situation, it’s time to start recording. As obvious as it seems, the number one issue to audio recording is forgetting to fully plug everything in. Make sure all of your equipment is plugged in and test the audio levels and sound.

Once you’ve checked your audio, position your subject the proper distance from the mic.

  • Lavalier microphone: Two to 12 inches from the mic.


  • Voice recorders: Four to 24 inches from the recorder, unless you are connecting another mic to the recorder.




When recording audio, record without any effects (echo, enhancements or plug-ins) to get the most pure sound. All effects can be added in editing, but they can’t be removed from the original recording.

Editing

Good editing can create professional quality audio. Here are some tips for improving your audio editing skills:


  • Play around with plug-ins. Plug-ins are preset adjustments meant to enhance or dampen specific levels of audio. There are plug-ins for every situation, you just have to play around with them to find the one that works best.


  • The equalizer, or EQ, is your best friend. If you’ve taken the necessary steps to get clean audio, the best way to take your audio to the next level is to slightly adjust the equalizer. Adjust the high, medium or low audio levels to get the rich sound you’re looking for.


  • The most important tip we could offer is to have a reference audio track available. A reference audio track is a palette cleanser for your ears. When you’re editing audio, it’s easy to lose track of what the audio should really sound like. Before you begin editing, find a sound clip that you would like your audio to resemble. If you’re recording an interview, find a previously produced interview that you’re trying to replicate. This way once you’ve lost track of what it should sound like, you can reset your audio palette.




Music Resources
Try a little bit of music to spice up your audio recording, but beware – many songs are owned by the artists who created them. There are resources for free music available. Try the Free Music Archive for many free songs. All of the music on FMA is cleared for certain types of uses. The artists determine the ways in which their music may be used, so pay careful attention to those requirements. At Royalty Free Music you can download tracks for your videos. The tracks vary in cost.

Knowing the basics to audio recording will take your production level to the next level and gets you closer to professional-level audio without the cost.

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