VIDEO PRODUCTION MISTAKE 7. USE THE CAMERA MICROPHONE TO RECORD THE AUDIO
You can see in video production that the rapid improvement and compactness of video is also manifested in the audio that accompanies it. Camcorders today record excellent sound. But there is a problem.
The problem is that the sound source closest to the camcorder microphone will be recorded best. And this may not be what you want recorded.
Have you ever set up a camcorder in the back of the room to record a live seminar for your corporate video production and listened to the result? Isn’t it amazing how the comments, coughs and collisions in the back of the room sound so clear – and the speaker is unintelligible at those points?
I simply can’t count the number of times people have come to us to ask if we can enhance the audio from just such presentations, and other live events as well. In short, the answer is unfortunately “No.” We can not bring out audio that essentially is not there.
What is the solution? First, you must have a camcorder that will take an external microphone input. If yours doesn’t, get another one.
After that, it’s all just a matter of microphone placement. If you have just one speaker in your video production, you should invest in a lavaliere microphone for the presenter to wear. The mic is then in place less than a foot from the presenter’s mouth and will record clear audio.
Here I am placing a lavaliere mic on blues guitarist B.B. King prior to shooting a TV commercial. In this case, the microphone will be hidden from view. I’m tucking it under his collar, out of sight.
Another option would have been to use a mic on a boom pole just out of frame as we did for football Hall of Famer Steve Young. Here a boom operator holds the mic on a boom pole becuase Steve is walking and talking, so the mic has to move with him.
Here’s another example of a boom operator holding the mic above the talent in this corporate training video production with actors.
If the speaker in your video production is stationary, the boom mic can be anchored just above and out of camera view. In addition to giving a consistent level of audio, it eliminates the need for another person to operate the boom.
If possible when buying or renting a lavaliere, get a good wireless microphone. Don’t defeat the purpose by getting a cheap microphone that feeds buzzes and hisses to your recording system. A pair of decent, yet inexpensive headphones will let you listen to the audio that you are getting. If you don’t get a clean signal, take the microphone back to the store and get one that works for you.
Prices for good quality mics have come down dramatically over the years, so if you are going to do much of this type of “talking head” recording, it’s worth the small investment.
Microphones are obviously not just for amplification. You need a good mic close to the subject to get good clear audio.