Make Your Video’s Sound Quality Even Better with These Quick Audio Tips

When it comes to making video projects, attention to detail is definitely important. And audio quality is no exception. In this article, we are going to tackle a few important tips to make your video project’s audio quality sound great.

  • Microphones
  • When we talk about achieving good quality audio, investing in a good microphone is a must. It’s important to choose the right type of microphone that can capture every sound depending on the environment you’re filming in. Here are four pickup patterns every filmmaker should know.
  1. Cardioid – Cardioid mics are one of the most popular all-purpose microphones most filmmakers use these days. This pickup pattern is versatile and can pick up any kinds of sound whether you’re filming a documentary, wedding, or any kinds of event. Keep in mind that they can also pick up plenty of background noises when you’re not in a controlled environment.
  2. Omnidirectional – This type of pickup pattern can record audio in every direction. They are mostly used in interviews and are put inside the interviewee’s shirt. However, it can pick up some additional background noises. The most popular omnidirectional mics are lavalier mics.
  3. Hypercardioid – This type of mic records in a specific directional pattern. It records every noise it can hear in front of it. This mic is often used in documentaries, news interviews, and even recording instruments. If you’re worried about it capturing background noises at the back, then one thing you should know that this mic can only capture little sound behind it. Meaning, it won’t capture the videographer’s breathing or the sound of the camera while adjusting manual controls.
  4. Supercardioid – This type of mic act much like hypercardioids. The only difference is that it focuses on capturing audio in the front, and not on the back. This is frequently used on boom poles during filming to capture the actor/actresses dialogue.

 

  • Audio Recorders
  • Most indie filmmakers and video producers should have a separate audio recorder. This is because many DSLR and mirrorless cameras don’t have an XLR port built-in. XLR port is used to capture high-quality audio from a professional microphone. If you have a camera with an XLR port, then you’re good to go. However, if you have a camera with only a 3.5mm headphone jack only, then this is a time where an external audio recorder is needed.
  • It won’t be easy investing in a good quality audio recording device as they come at insanely expensive prices. Most of these recorders can range up to $200 to $1000. If you’re tight on budget, there are some that costs between $100 and $300. If you really don’t have the budget to buy one, then use your smartphone instead as a recorder.
  • Audio Editing
  • Now that you’re done with the filming process, it’s time to sit down and edit your masterpiece. However, the challenging part of this is editing the audio. Not that the audio is hard to adjust, but you have to make sure that it sounds good on a range of different devices.
  • Editing for television requires a few tweaks here and there as there are much stricter guidelines to follow. But if you’re editing for the web or an independent film only, you can have your own freedom on the process. Listed below is a guide on how to organize your audio tracks in a proper manner.
  • Audio Tracks 1 and 2 – Sync Sound (SOT) – This is the audio of your main speaker, it’s called Sound-On-Tape (SOT).
  • Audio Tracks 3 and 4 – Sync Sound (NAT/SOT) – This is the audio coming from the b-roll footage, or the ambient sound of the environment. NAT/SOT stands for Natural Sound-On-Tape.
  • Audio Track 5 – Narration (VO) – This is a track for audio coming from the voice-overs.
  • Audio Tracks 6, 7, and 8 – Sound Effects (SFX) – This track is solely reserved for sound effects.
  • Audio Tracks 9 and 10 – Music Cue 1 – This track is where you put the music score of your film or any kinds of royalty-free music.
  • Audio Tracks 11 and 12 – Music Cue 2 – Having separate tracks for music allows you to easily fade between songs.
  • Every audio track should have different audio levels. But keep in mind that audio levels should never ever go above zero dB. If it exceeds over zero, the audio will sound distorted, making it unpleasant to hear. Here are some dB guidelines below to help you level your audio better.
  • Audio Mix Levels: -3db to -6dB
  • Speaker (SOT) Audio Levels: -6 dB to -12 dB
  • SFX Levels: -12 dB to -18 dB
  • Underscore Music Level: -18 dB

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