Whether you’re creating a video for YouTube or looking to record a lecture, your audio needs to be perfect. Many focus too hard on their visuals, but overlook making the audio as good as it can be. Here’s why audio needs to be top-notch:
- Audio lets people hear what you or other people are saying.
- Audio helps people immerse themselves in the music and sound effects of your content.
- Audio allows viewers to interpret what’s going on, without having to solely rely on visuals.
In this essential guide, we’ll show you how to get the best effect for your video, and how you can improve your sound quality to get the very best results.
Let’s dive right in!
Why you need good sound quality in videos
Think of the last video file you watched. It could have been an animation, a movie, or a lecture for school. Think about the look and feel of what you’ve watched online. What made it good or bad? The visuals are very important, sure. They need to be crisp and clear, in order for the viewer to see what’s going on. But what about audio?
Audio accounts for dialogue, background noises, music, sound effects, and so on. Think of this as if you were watching a movie in a theatre. You would think that there would be plenty of sound to go around, right? It’s a big deal for filmmakers, because they want their audiences to see, feel, AND hear the story that they’re telling.
This goes to show that your efforts could be for naught if you don’t have the very best audio.
Sound quality and effects have a huge impact on how the video will look and feel overall. For example, if you’re delivering a lecture, you want the viewer to be able to hear you loud and clear. Or, if you’re making a short film, you want any audio effects or music to come across clearly too, as they’re integral to the piece.
So, as you can see, with good audio quality, your content will have a great chance to shine. Consider two videos on YouTube: one with good quality audio, and one with audio glitches and muted moments. The second video will be considered more amateur, even if the creator has been making videos for a while. Therefore, it’s important to make sure that the audio is good, and that it’s not prone to technical issues.
How to improve audio quality
With that in mind, it is in your best interests to take care of the sound quality in your videos. As mentioned in the previous section, enhancing audio ensures that your audience can tell that you care about how your video comes across, and you’ll get much better results overall. While there are many ways to enhance the sound, we’ve collected several best practices to get high-quality audio in your videos:
Have a script
First, how you say something in a video will determine how well it sounds. If you have awkward wording in your script, or are having a hard time saying something right, then your project will sound a bit weird. This is a mistake that even the most prepared content creators make. As an expert in your subject, you might know it inside and out. You can easily start talking without a script and get your point across. While that could work in a live setting, you still have to consider how this would come across in a recording.
Therefore , it’s always better to have a script. With a good script, you’ll be arranging content in a different way to a live presentation. For example, many content creators limit themselves to 10 minute shots. Then, with this consistent runtime, they can create a series. Your script will need to follow the same format, of course. Therefore, each video will need to be able to work on their own.
A script will keep you on track, and make sure that your videos are concise and easy to follow. They also help you pick up your place when you have to stop and re-record. As a bonus, they allow for a transcript to be created very easily.
When making your script, remember that not everyone will be able to see visual cues in your video. As such, make sure you’re clear in your script about the content, and describe any visuals if you have them. You may want to jot down any sound effects and transitions that you might want to use as well. In this way, your audience can stay engaged when watching your content.
Reduce background noise to enhance audio on video
Next, you’ll need the right place to record your audio. This can be tricky if you’re recording at home, but with the right spot, you can record the track you need and get the best quality possible.
Look for a space that doesn’t have any background sound, such as traffic or household happenings. Shut windows and doors to block out as much as possible. There are lots of other things that create sound as well, that you don’t even realize. Record a couple of minutes of silence in your space, and listen back to it. What can you hear? You may need to do things like unplug appliances and lights to get the best room tone possible.
The microphone you use may also affect that background sound. Some microphones allow you to amplify your voice with a specific function, but doing so will increase the background sound too. Keep that in mind as you record.
Many home recorders find that having soft surfaces in the room helps with a better sound as well. You may want to have some sort of padding or covering that you can use to balance out the sound. Pick a carpeted room and throw down some thick blankets. Some content creators even like to record in either a closet or a storage room, as the hanging clothes and other large pieces of fabric help dampen sound. Or, if you’re able to, you can invest in a studio, or create a room in your home where you can record sound.
The more background sound you can eliminate, the better. When someone is watching your video, any unneeded noise will be distracting. Remember: Remove as much as you can to help get good sound quality in videos.
Use an external microphone
There are many video creators out there that are using internal microphones to record their sound, meaning the microphones that are built into their computers and phones. This is more common thanks to the pandemic, when a lot of people had to start working from home and use whatever they had in the house. However, many have now started looking into how to enhance audio in a video, so they can get better sound.
The best thing to do is use an external microphone. There’s lots of discourse online about which one will get you the best sound, but the important thing is to find one that suits you well. There are a few things you’ll need to consider when you’re shopping around. For example, how will the microphone receive power? Will it be from your computer itself, or from a separate power outlet? What settings will you be able to control? Will you need extra supports to hold it?
Use a pop filter
Something you need to consider when recording audio is that some consonant sounds can cause distortion. That’s going to be highly distracting for your viewers , so you’ll want to find a good pop filter.
The microphone you bought may have come with one, but if not, then that’s okay too. You can find pop filters online or at an electronics store near you. Or, if you’re in a pinch, a pair of nylons stretched over a wire coat hanger work very well too. Position it around 4 inches away from the microphone, and speak into the filter for best results. No matter what type of filter you decide to go with, it’ll enhance a recording by quite a significant margin.
Check your audio settings
Another good way of enhancing audio on video is to check the settings on your recording software. This is something you need to do if you’re not getting the results you want, even with the above tips.
It may be that your computer isn’t picking up sound from the external microphone when you record. Check your input settings to see what microphone it’s using. If it’s not recognizing the new microphone, restart your computer to get it to work.
Change your microphone polar pattern
Still not getting what you want from your microphone sound? Then you may have more luck if you change the polar pattern. This is something you can do on some microphones, and it makes a world of difference.
A ‘polar pattern’ is the direction in which a microphone is ‘listening’. Yours may simply be set to the wrong setting. Change yours to ‘Cardioid’, which is the best setting for one person that’s recording on their own. That should give you much better results.
Ensure you have the right recording style
There’s a particular style that you need to follow when you want to record audio. When you have the style down pat, it’ll make things much easier for yourself when you start putting everything together.
For example, make sure you leave a few seconds at the start and end of the recording, which will prevent you accidentally missing out on some crucial audio. If you make a mistake when recording, don’t worry too much about it. Take a second, and start again at the beginning of the sentence. Remember, you can edit the audio later to get it into the form you want.
When recording, try standing to provide a more energetic delivery, or sit to get a more relaxed tone. Speak as naturally as you can, at around 120 words per minute. However, be sure that you’re clear in what you’re saying, and enunciate your words. This makes it easier on the viewer, and anyone captioning the video as well.
When recording your content, try to keep the language as inclusive as possible. That means avoiding gendered language, and anything that could be misconstrued. Again, you’ll need to ensure that your script is good, so that you don’t sound awkward in your delivery.
Now you have lots of tips that will help you get the most out of your video audio, and create better videos overall. Follow the words of advice in this article to get more out of your content creation experience.
Eula Skiles is a writer at Speech writing service who mostly covers about digital marketing strategy and entrepreneurship. She is passionate about helping clients from all around the world in the different aspects of entrepreneurship.