Bad audio can turn your best footage into your worst. Wind, poorly adjusted audio, and background noise are the most common causes for bad audio. Sometimes you can adjust in post, but they never turn out as good as if you took the time to make some easy adjustments to your camera and microphone. Here are some tips that can improve your audio.
· Before recording any video check your audio level with headphones and look at the volume meter. Adjust your volume to -12db.
· If you’re recording and have unwanted background noise, find a better place to record. If you must record in an area with background noise us a directional microphone that is pointed at the person or subject your recording.
· When recording outdoors always use a dead cat/muff over the microphone’s foam cover. This is the best option to cut out most wind noise. The soft microphone cover that comes with most microphones just doesn’t do much to reduce wind noise.
· Purchase a good quality microphone. I’m a big fan of Rode brand microphones. The Rode NTG1 is a great XLR microphone. If your camera takes a Minijack / 3.5mm TRS then the Rode Video Mic GO would be a great choice.
Just remember audio makes or breaks your video project, so have the right microphone and make sure you are checking the audio settings before you press record.
I’ve been seeing more social media posts asking about what video camera to buy and most of the replies talk about high-end cameras ($2000.00 and up). There are questions you will need to answer first: is this your first camera, are you self-filming, is this your main camera, or will this be used as a second camera for interview and b-roll? Remember to keep it simple when getting started and then move up after you have mastered your first camera.
Here are some things a beginner should think about before purchasing a camera. If this is your first camera buy an entry level camera that is HD or 4K. Then learn how to set the camera up and use it for a season or two. The camera setup is the first and most important part of taking good footage. Turn off notification sounds so your cameras not making any sounds. Turn off the Auto Power Off (if available your camera). Set the recording mode to the highest setting your camera has. Use a large SD card your camera will allow and make sure it’s class 10. Always initialize your SD card in your camera before every shoot (remember when you initialize it will erase everything off the card). Digital Zoom is not your friend so turn that off. Digital Zoom will make your footage grainy and unusable for video. Always shoot in Manual Focus Mode so your camera is not going in and out of focus. Set your White Balance in either Manual or Auto but choosing the right light conditions when in Auto is important. The White Balance needs to be set before every shoot. If your camera allows you to use a Lanc Zoom Remote Control I highly recommend it. A Lanc is used to turn on the camera when in sleep mode, zoom and focus. If your camera has Peaking turn it on. Peaking shows you the edges that are in focus and this will help you get focused footage that looks great. Use an external microphone to get the best sound and check out my Tip #1 for more information on video audio.
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