Smartphones these days come equipped with excellent cameras and decent microphones. As a result we’re finding that many of our clients are utilizing what’s at their disposal to create original video content for their social media channels.
If you find yourself on this same path, there are a few things to be aware of before you hit the record button. Today, we’re going to focus on common audio problems you may run into and how to deal with them.
Hand-held devices come equipped with microphones that work perfectly well for day-to-day conversations, but when trying to record audio for a video to be posted to your company’s social profiles it can get a little noisy. Specifically, microphones on things like smartphones tend to pick up a lot of background noise that can make your video hard to understand.
Just like they have a hard time cutting out background noise, smartphone microphones always have a hard time handling extremely loud or quiet noises in conversations. The sensitivity of these microphone is easily overwhelmed and extremes in sound volume will cause distortion in your recordings.
Once you’ve addressed background noise and audio distortion, you also have to account for the fact that microphones found in your average smartphone don’t capture either deep and high-pitched voices very well. You’ll notice that they’ll be difficult to understand or some words may even be dropped due to the pitch of the person delivering your message.
What To do
Each of the issues outlined above have simple and often obvious solutions that can be followed to avoid audio issues in your recordings. The reality is that background noise is going to be a problem if you’re in a loud space. The solution to this problem is simply moving your recordings into an alternate location where you can control background noise.
External Audio Recorder
If that isn’t an option for the type of recording you’re doing consider using a secondary device to record audio and mix your video and audio in post-production. Our clients and partners have found a great deal of success in using a TASCAM DR-05 Portable Digital Recorder without any microphone. Simply hit record and hand the device to the subject of your recording and you’ll find that the audio from the Tascam more than makes up for more background noise issues. The same solution can be employed for video recordings that have the potential to be subject to situational audio distortion because of volume or pitch issues. Without any microphones the Tascam recorder is much more flexible at picking up audio in both loud and quiet situations, and has a much more dynamic condenser microphone that is capable of handling extreme audio situations.
Tap The Audio Board
When you’re in a situation that pushes even the limitations of the Tascam’s built in microphones, the unit’s convenient external microphone port will allow you to plug into an audio mixing board at a presentation, conference, concert or other potentially loud event with a lot of background noise. This assumes your recording an event taking place at a venue that utilizes a audio mixing board. In the event that you you can tap in to the board, it will allow you to capture only what is said into the microphones at your event. This will be give you the clearest possible audio with the least amount of work. Many venues will provide audio recording of events at little or no cost if you ask. You can then mix in that audio to your video in post production.
Buy A Microphone
This is the most obvious option and the best solution to solve many audio related problems. Depending on your situation you could purchase an affordable lavalier, boom or shotgun microphone. You should be aware that microphones and their supporting equipment can get very expensive very quickly, but here’s a few affordable options that offer sound quality that is much better than the microphone on your phone.
- Affordable Lavalier Lapel Mic: This affordable option will hook into your smartphone or other camera and provide really decent sound quality and an affordable price. This option is great for individual subject filming when you are setup to record inside the radius of the microphone’s cable reach.
- Affordable On Camera Shotgun Mic: This microphone is designed for use on a camera or other mounting bracket system. There are ways to mount this kind of microphone to a tripod alongside your phone for a more stable recording situation. Feel free to reach out to us for recommendations. Shotgun microphones provide directional audio recording for single subjects and ignore all the background noise. Great for loud environments where you’re doing interviews of single subjects or small groups.
- Better On Camera Shotgun Mic: Same technology as the one listed above except higher quality product. If you’ve got the money to spend, RODE makes some of the best shotgun mics around.
- Affordable Boom Mic: A book mic is simply a shotgun microphone on a pole. With this type of microphone you can position the microphone out of frame and pickup high quality audio from your subject without using a lapel mic. Going this route also requires that you buy a Boom Mic Pole.
What’s Next In The Series?
Next week we’ll continue this discussion by looking at other video quality issues that occur in DIY in house production situations. In the meantime let us know what you think in the comments!