Capturing Clean Audio in a Professional Video

Ok, so we here at Skillman Video Group are always preaching that in any corporate marketing or promotional video, it should always look and sound good.

SVG camera crew testing for clean audio levels at a recent shoot
SVG camera crew testing audio levels at a recent shoot

No matter what platform you choose to embed your videos on, such as your web site or social media sites like YouTube or Facebook, your viewers will appreciate the quality!

We’ve talked a lot about how video should look, but a very important component of professional video production is the audio. 

The Critical Role of Audio in Video Production

The best-lit video in the world is useless if the audio comes out fuzzy, muffled, too “hot,” or otherwise inconsistent.

Audio in professional corporate video production needs to be clean, crisp, and clear so your audience is never distracted from your message.

What’s the difference between “professional” and “amateur” audio, you ask?

Professional vs. Amateur Audio: Equipment Makes the Difference

First, it’s the equipment. Skillman Video Group uses only top-of-the-line audio equipment, which insures the best sound recording at any shoot.

We only use industry-standard professional XLR cables and microphones.  We may utilize three different types of microphones, depending on the type of shoot. 

Each has its own unique use and function, and the audio specialists at Skillman Video Group know what equipment to use in any given situation to capture clean, clear audio.

Types of Microphones and Their Uses

  • Shotgun Mic: A “shotgun mic” is a highly directional microphone that may be hand-held or mounted on a boom. It is best suited for capturing “natural” or “environmental” sounds like at a party, the sounds of nature (birds chirping, etc.), or the excited chattering of a group of children, and these are just a few examples.  It picks up the nuances of the shoot’s environment and gives a realistic feel for how the voices and sounds naturally echo.  Marketing videos looking to showcase the environment of a working location are an example where a shotgun mic would be used.
  • Wireless Lavaliere Mic: A “lav” mic is a portable microphone that hooks around neck or is clipped to clothing. Also known as a necklace, lapel, or pendant microphone.   It has a wireless transmitter that is placed either on a belt or in the pocket of the speaker and is transmitted to a receiver connected to the camera.  These are most popular in television and video production when it is important to get clean and crisp audio from the person or persons speaking on camera.  It is best suited when the focus is on the speaker and not on surrounding sounds.  A “talking head” video is an example where a lav mic is best suited.
  • Wireless Handheld Mic: Similar to the wireless lavaliere, the wireless handheld is perfect for the “man on the street” type of interviews commonly used on news broadcasts.  While the audio will sound the same as a wireless lavalier (when held towards the mouth), it is an entirely different visual.

Importance of Shoot Location in Audio Quality

The second component of capturing great audio is the actual shoot location.

The location of the shoot is just as important as the type of microphone being used.

If capturing clean audio is the top priority (and remember, every video is different), then the location of the shoot must be relatively soundproof and distraction-free.

Minimizing Distractions for Clean Audio

Doors opening and closing in the background and/or phones ringing  will all be distractions from the speaker’s words and can potentially ruin the “take” (trust us when we say if it is going to happen, it will be right in the middle of your best take and we will have to start over).

The video producers and audio technicians at Skillman Video Group are all highly skilled in minimizing and removing such distractions from even the busiest office spaces.  We’ve seen (or, shall we say, heard) it all!

Content Clarity and Pre-Shoot Preparation

The third component of capturing great audio is the actual content (or words being spoken). 

It is important to practice beforehand what you are going to say in order to speak fluently and clearly without the regular “ums” and “ahs.”  It is not as easy as it looks!

The producers at Skillman Video Group will offer coaching during the shoot, but practicing before will help the shoot go more smoothly, which ultimately will save you time and money in the long run.

The Uniqueness of Video as a Medium

What separates video from other mediums out there is that your audience will be able to see and hear you.

While the nature of video is what makes it the most effective format for building trust and rapport with potential customers, it can be disastrous to your brand and message if not handled correctly. 

The Importance of Pre-Production Planning

All these various options also highlight the point that pre-production planning is very important to the success of any shoot.

The video producers at Skillman Video Group work with our clients to discuss shoot locations, lighting, and audio options before the camera crews arrive.