Sound is the second biggest problem you’ll see for making professional videos. You can get every element right for the visuals, but if the sound is off, the whole video just feels cheap. Here’s where we talk about that audio.
So there are basically two problems you can make for yourself with sound. You can get your levels wrong or you can get your tone wrong. Either of those will kill the sound of your video. So let’s look at a couple of these problems.
Sound for Video – Levels
The worst problem is when the sound is too soft. If a person can’t hear what your saying or the subject of the video, then it will sound off. For videos with dialogue, this is the worst. Why even make a video if people can’t understand what your saying?
The second problem is much like the first. If the sound is too loud, it annoying. People steer clear of these videos.
The third problem (yes there’s a third) is when you record a signal to loudly and is distorts the signal. This makes the sound hard to understand as well. So basically, what I’m saying, is get the levels right. But how?
Glad you asked.
The best way to get you sound levels right is to use your sound bars in your camera or recording device.
This is my audio recorder. The big black bar you can see is the meter for sound levels. It even has a light right next to that that is only for overloading the signal called “peak.” You’re camera or even smart phone probably has the same kind of metering.
All you have to do is set the recorder where ever you’re going to have it when you record and then talk at the level you will speak during your recording. When you test the levels, just make sure the highest sound is just below peaking. No sweat.
Sound for Video – Tone
Now that you know how to set your levels, let’s talk about tone. Equalization was invented with the advent of the telephone. The found that boosting certain frequencies made the people listening on a phone easier to hear.
Now, people take EQ for granted. You can fix almost any sound. So listen to your audio and then listen to something professionally recorded. Commercials are a great source. Does your voice sound like the commercial? If it does, pat yourself on the back and walk away.
If you’re sound is too thin, it won’t win you any awards for sound quality. Someone’s voice that has too much high-end EQ or not enough low-end will sound tinny or nasally. Not appealing at all to my way of thinking. So boost up those lows if you need to. I’ve found that frequencies between 200-500Hz are great for this.
If your voice sounds too muffled, it’s also hard to hear. Usually this comes from some kind of barrier or muffle in front of the mic. To fix muffled sound, regain some of the presence of your voice my boosting the highs. Frequencies between 3kHz-8kHz are great for this. Experiment and compare your sound with others to get it right.
Sound for Video – Noise
One last thing. If you want pro sound for your videos, you have to start listening like a sound engineer. That means listening for noise. Let me be specific. There’s additive noise, like barking dogs outside, or heat and air coming on and off. Then there’s extra noise in the room which we call – room noise.
Unfortunately, this has to be corrected when you record. There isn’t much your can do once your have extra noise in your sound for video. So make sure to monitor your sound before you record. Almost all cameras and sound recorders have a headphone out jack to do this.
You can correct a lot of your problems with good mic placement. Make sure it’s nice and close to your subject (usually you mouth). Try to get it as close as possible. Lapel mics and shotgun mics a re great for this.
Getting your sound right in video is just essential. If you’re still wondering about all this, watch this video. It might explain it better.