DIY Video: Fun with Audio

How great audio can contribute to your video

It’s been said that at least 50% of great video is great audio. And if you don’t believe that, try watching your favorite TV show while someone vacuums.  Let’s review a fun, amateur production enhanced by awesome audio and get some tips on how you can bring better sound to your next video production.

To illustrate how much the right music bed, sound effects and audio mix can add to a video, Whitney Hahn shares a scene from a summer movie her 11-year old nephew made with a few friends. Watch how the addition of dramatic music, sounds of gunfire and the right environmental effects make this low budget war film come to life. The short movie is based on real life events at the Battle of Antietam in Sharpsburg, Maryland.

What does this mean for your video production? Whether it’s for a home movie or a business video, giving some care and thought to your audio line can make a huge difference to the overall production. Here are some tips:

1. Don’t be too far away from your subject. A windy day, the noisy air conditioner unit or a chatty office mate can ruin your video by making it hard to hear the dialogue. Try to be in a quiet environment and stay relatively close so the viewer can clearly understand what is being said.

2. If you  can’t be close-up, invest in an external microphone. This can be a shotgun mic that is mounted on top of your video camera, or a lapel microphone that is clipped to the subject’s shirt. Inexpensive microphones start at around $30, and try to get a windscreen with it for times when you are recording outside.

3. Consider how music can lend a hand in setting the mood and underlying the desired tone of your video. There are several licensed, royalty free music shops we use and recommend (check the Resources page). These particular sources are for paid music collections but they start at under $9 a disc for some really great sounding music. Once you buy the music collection, it is yours to keep and use forever – you never have to pay a royalty again.

4. Don’t overlook the power of sound effects. Environmental sounds like thunder, bird chirps or playground laughter add to the richness of a scene and can “sell” an effect or gag that would otherwise be lost.

Spend a little extra time on the audio portion of your video productions and your audience will applaud your efforts.

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