Image credit: KAL Visuals
Audio isn’t always the first thing that videographers and vloggers pay attention to. But if your recorded audio is bad, it’s the first thing that audiences will notice.
Whether you produce commercial videos, short films or YouTube clips, distracting background noise, muffled vocals and clipped sound can seriously detract from your recording – however great the image looks.
That’s why it’s so important to maximise your audio quality by choosing the right microphone and controlling your sound during recording.
Learn how to get started with these essential audio recording tips for video.
Image credit: Tyler Casey
Use the Right Microphone
So what’s the best way to record audio for video?
To start, you need the right microphone for the job.
Inbuilt (onboard) camera mics don’t offer the best sound quality, and they’re prone to picking up noise from inside or near the camera (such as you touching the camera).
So choose an external microphone suitable for the type of recording you want to do.
Highly versatile and widely used throughout the film and video industry, shotgun microphones are often the first step up from a camera’s on-board mic.
Shotgun mics are highly directional, meaning they easily pick up sound from in front and effectively minimise ambient noise – great for, say, capturing a presenter in a crowd. This makes them an ideal microphone for vlogging and for general run-and-gun shooting.
Longer shotgun mics are ideal for using on a boom (as is standard in TV, cinema and many interviews). This lets you get as close as possible to the sound source while minimising interference and staying out of frame. However, it’s best to have an assistant hold the boom pole so you can focus on your other equipment.
Lavalier (Lav) Microphones
Lapel or lavalier (lav) microphones are designed to clip discreetly to a speaker’s lapel or collar. They’re often used for interviews, speeches, presentations, and film sets. Because lavalier mics are omnidirectional (pick up sound from all directions), it’s important that they’re placed correctly.
Wireless lav mics offer the most freedom of movement, and are ideal for speakers or talent that move around a lot. However, to minimise interference it’s worth using a wired lav mic.
Studio microphones offer excellent sound quality suitable for studio-style environments, both home and professional. There’s a wide variety of studio mics to suit different applications, from USB microphones for YouTube videos, live streams and podcasts to highly sensitive studio condenser microphones for voice-overs and music recordings.
Studio microphones work best when placed very close to the sound source, so they will likely appear in frame if you’re filming yourself or someone else using one.