The Do’s and Don’ts of Recording Audio for Video on Location

There are 4.2 billion people using the internet today. For your organization, each of them represents the opportunity to make a sale or create a brand evangelist.

The only thing keeping you from achieving those ends is the amount of competition that’s out there.

Given the increased presence of consumers, more than 2 billion websites have cropped up to try and cash in. Your ability to market yourself in a way that cuts through that clutter is imperative to your success.

Therein lies the value of video.

Excellent video has proven itself to be the most effective means of marketing in the last half-decade. Given that you can’t have excellent video without superb audio, this article is going to be focusing in on the do’s and don’ts of recording audio for video.

Each of these tips has the potential to save your life in post-production so listen closely…

DO Assess The Kind of Mic You Need

Not all microphones are created equal in the world of video production. There are shotgun mics, lav mics, bidirectional mics, unidirectional mics, and more.

Picking the right kind of microphone for the scene you’re shooting is imperative for scoring awesome sound quality while on set.

Be sure to work with an audio expert so they can advise on the kind of mic you should pick up for your particular shoot.

DO Make Sure Your Boom Operator Isn’t Shifting Their Hands on Their Poll

It can get exhausting holding a boom pole over a scene for an extended period of time. This exhaustion has led many a boom operators to adjust their grip while scenes are shooting.

While seemingly harmless, those grip shifts will pick up on your mic and give your post-production team a huge headache.

If you notice grip shifting while rolling, be sure to grab an additional take.

DO Use a Windscreen

Wind noise in audio for video recordings is the scourge of most sound professional’s job. Wind can be extremely distracting, is near impossible to fully remove from audio, and can render recordings unusable.

To help prevent wind pick up, use a windscreen or plan on shooting in an area that isn’t susceptible to high winds.

The more you can get ahead of the possibility of wind during your shoot, the less stressed you’ll be when it comes time to deal with it.

DO Keep an Ear Out for Ambient Noises

Airplanes, car screeches, screaming… These are all noises that are out of your control and could ruin your audio for video.

To make sure that you’re not surprised in post-production by a jet engine that’s making your actors hard to hear, keep an ear out while you’re shooting. If you think that an ambient noise might have ruined a take’s audio, shoot another take.

You’re always better safe than sorry.

DO Focus on Dialogue

The most important “sounds” going on in your scene are what your actors are saying. Because of that, make capturing clean dialogue your number 1 priority when filming.

Don’t worry about getting actor’s footsteps loud enough or catching an epic “high-five” sound. All of that stuff can easily be laid in post-production.

DON’T Rely on Onboard Mics

The mic that’s built into your camera is almost certainly not going to give you the sound quality you need for professional video. Don’t rely on it.

Always have an external mic ready to go for your shoots.

DON’T Assume You Can Fix it In Post

When a jet flies overhead and ruins the audio for your take, don’t assume your sound engineer can fix it in post-production. Removing noises that have been baked together in an audio for video recording is very difficult and never perfect.

Always take the time to try and grab a clean audio for video take.

DON’T Ignore Your Sound Person

Your sound person is your expert when it comes to getting clean audio for video. If they’re concerned about the acoustics in a location, listen. If they’re concerned about an ambient sound, listen. If they think you need to do another take to get clean audio, do it.

Many directors have forgone the advice of their sound person to their demise. Don’t be that director.

DON’T Forget to Record a “Wild” or “Ambient Track”

When you’re cutting dialogue together in an editing room or laying in lines via ADR, the jumpiness of the scene’s ambient noises can be obvious and jarring to viewers. 

To make sure that everything seems natural, be sure to capture a wild track while you’re on set. 

To do this, simply record 30 seconds of background noise at your location. This will give your editor a lot more leeway when it comes to cutting something truly special together! 

Wrapping Up The Do’s and Don’ts of Recording Audio for Video on Location

From picking the right mic to listening to your sound guy, there is no shortage of do’s and don’ts when it comes to capturing the perfect audio for video.

While it can be a pain, if you take the time to really pay attention to best practices when capturing audio, we promise that you’ll notice the difference ten-fold when it comes to the quality of your final project! 

Are you looking for a premier video production partner to help you create a world-class piece of media? If so, let our team at Viva Media help. 

We’ve been helping businesses, not-for-profits, and government agencies create stunning marketing and internal communication videos for years. Let us provide you with the same exceptional value! 

Check out our previous work and contact us today to get your production quote!

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