Record great sound
Many creators find that good sound can transform their channel from amateurish to professional. Learn some of the best methods for capturing quality sound when recording dialogue on set.
Good sound is essential. Check out these strategies to record it right and give your fans a great experience to keep them coming back.
Sounds good to me
At the most basic level, good sound means capturing clean dialogue at an acceptable recording level. It also means that audiences can watch your video and understand what the characters are saying and doing. But good sound is actually so much more than that. It involves thoughtfully choosing shooting locations where actors and crew can enter the world of your show and give their best performances. Good sound quality can also cut costs and time in post-production: if you capture sound correctly during production, there’s no need to spend time and money recreating it later.
See it in action
Music accompanies Ingrid Nilsen's tour of NYCAnchored by verbal narration, the sound in this video is clean and weaves in and out to help illustrate her story. The central music tracks are supplemented by sounds picked up during recording, like live music in Central Park. (Video in English)
Animated series often incorporate musicIn this animated video, the music changes with the storyline to support the action. The main character does some singing too, and the recording captures the nuanced tones in his voice. (Video in English)
Enhance short films with soundSound details play a large role in this short film, whether it’s the clicking of keyboards or road noise as the main character flies down the highway. Do these sounds make you feel more connected to the action? (Video in English)
How you capture sound is often determined by what kind of video you’re shooting, and where. It’s helpful to figure out the sound limitations of your location. For example, what challenges do you foresee, and how could you minimize them with your microphone selection? Also, think about what you’re shooting in the scene. Once you understand what and where you’re shooting, the microphone selection should be easy.
There are three main types of microphones: shotgun, lavalier, and boom.
- Shotgun microphones are the most highly directional of the available mics -- these types of microphones are most readily utilized on narratives and documentaries.
- Lavalier microphones can be pinned onto the subject and are great for doing interviews or shoots where the subject may be talking for long periods of time.
- Boom microphones are often held above the frame of the scene on a long pole. They’re great for capturing dialogue when several people are having a conversation or when the shot is wide and doesn’t allow for a microphone to be on or near the speaker.
You might want to consider padding your shooting space with sound blankets and foam to cut down on excess noise in your shooting environment. You should strive for clean audio in the original shoot so that you don’t have to recreate anything in post-production. That way you can comfortably push up your audio levels during sound editing without creating noise.
Is there a “right” way to record?
Proper sound recording starts with location. Choosing a quiet location can help you capture dialogue effectively. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by picking an awesome location where no one can hear themselves talk. Also, you may want to ask your cast and crew to shut off electronic devices which could potentially ding, beep, or vibrate in the background. And, be mindful of other background noises too, like the hum of an air conditioner or a generator. You might consider shutting off these machines if they’re creating noise you can hear on film.
Remember, audiences are typically far more forgiving of camera and lighting mistakes than they are of poor sound quality and recording.
How much of an impact does good sound have on your channel?Try it now
Now that you have incredible sound, check your YouTube Analytics to see whether your subscribers or views are increasing. You may want to check your Audience retention report to see if fans are watching longer instead of clicking away. Review watch time to see if they are finishing more of your videos. If so, it may be because they can hear them better.