Selecting your audio source
The big question is how you will record your video and audio. When using a video camera, or smartphone, you can record the audio with the built in microphones. This audio source is quite adequate for most purposes.
The biggest problem when using the internal microphone of a video camera or smartphone is that the microphone is too far away from the subject. The resulting audio will suffer from the ‘roomy’ effect with a hollow or empty background sound.
An external microphone that is attached to the camera, either by a lead or by wireless, will record better and clearer sound. However, the best of these microphones are expensive, so do your research before buying.
As with everything, what you pay for is what you get. But in microphones there are some inexpensive options that will work very well for most purposes, while still suiting most budgets. Choices in microphones include :
- Mobile phones
- Portable digital audio recorders
- Lavalier microphones
- Shotgun microphones
Smartphones have quite a good microphone built in so you can use this. The main drawback is that the microphone in the smartphone is omnidirectional, which means that it will pick up and record sound from all around you.
To get around this borrow a friend’s phone to record the audio separately. Or you could use a portable audio recorder, which will also record good sound. Your subject can hold either of these during the recording.
Another option is the lavalier – a small microphone that can clip onto your speaker’s clothing, usually somewhere around the neckline. These microphones cut out a lot of the ambient and background noise. There are wired and wireless options and many inexpensive choices available. However, a drawback is that lavaliers will be quite obvious on your subject in your video.
The shotgun microphone is uni-directional so will only record sound from the subject. Like the lavalier microphone it will capture clear sound, but unlike the lavalier it won’t appear in the shot. The disadvantage is that it requires a stand or someone to hold it and these microphones can be more expensive than other options.
Where to place your external microphone
You need to get your external microphone as close as possible to your subject without it appearing in your shot. Check carefully in your view finder to make sure that it hasn’t slipped in around the edges somewhere.
You can place your microphone above, on either side of, or in front of your subject, but low enough not to appear in your shot. If using another mobile phone or digital audio recorder, your subject could hold these out of the shot, while you film only their head and shoulders or a mid range shot.
Be aware of all background noises that might occur during your recording. Turn off as many as possible, such as chiming clocks, air conditioning and the radio. Be aware of any other noises as they occur and record your presentation again. Even indoors you can still hear the birds calling outside or a noisy truck in the street.
When editing the presentation, take the video from your phone and line it up with the audio from the second phone. You can use the audio from the first phone so that you know where to sync the good audio from the second phone to the video file.
As a final suggestion – when using any external audio recording device not attached to the camera, start the recording with a clap or other loud noise so that you can synchronise your video and audio. This will provide a reference point, which makes the editing of your presentation much easier.
Producing video presentations for your website can be a lot of fun – so take your time and enjoy the whole process.