Getting Ready for Audio for Video recordings or Screencasts

There's nothing worse that spending time and money buying and setting up equipment - doing some recording - and at the end of the session discovering that the audio is not great, is too low, or that fan in the background was waaay louder than you thought! Here's an overview of my preparation 

Equipment

Jot down a checklist of all the equipment you need - then add the stuff you *might* need.Imagine connecting everything up, and then during recording, picture the flow of audio from microphone to pre-amp to audio out to Laptop/PC and headphones to monitor the quality. If buying for the first time, the microphone is the quality bottleneck. Read reviews! There are a few good USB microphones out there (advantage: you can plug straight into your laptop and avoid going through your laptop soundcard which is probably low-quality) - or you can get an "XLR" microphone (advantage: quality, use with other equipment; disadvantage: you need a pre-amp or mixer to both power and adjust the XLR mic.). People will put up with OK video, but poor audio is an early turn-off.

Summary of mic. choices:

  • Headset with mic (poor to OK)
  • USB mic (good quality)
  • XLR (great quality) 

Yes, there are other things like a pop-filter and types of mic. for really professional results, but that's beyond the scope here.

Environment

Listen carefully to see if there any background noise you don't like. Some, like air-conditioning, hotel fridge!, etc. can be switched off for a time. If you are recording your own voice in your own environment, you could even use a duvet and tent this over yourself while recording to block out external noise. Also be aware of other noises like squaky chairs, bracelets the the like, and phones on silent etc. 

Testing

Never skip testing. Do a short 30 second recording and include some pauses. Monitor the general volume (you can do this nicely in Audacity to see the waveform) and avoid low volume, and also high (clipping) volume. Listen to the pauses to see if this really is silence and if not, can you remedy. Also listen to the quality/tone of the voice. if you are passing through a pre-amp / mixer, you can use the EQ to adjust low mid and high tones.

Also during testing ensure the talent has water, is comfortable and does a trial run to get a taste of recording. Brisk and clear enunciation are two things I aim for. Also I tell people that an informal, friendly, 'telling a colleague about the topic'-type approach is often best. Some people like a full script (especially for shorter, factual topics - and others like bullet-points to talk around, especially if more sit-back and informal. This will depend on your topic and talent.  Best of luck!

 

Like what you've read? Help to spread the word!

What our Customers say:

  • Very helpful when working with them. We found them easy to work with and knowledgable in sorting technical issues. Service is working perfectly

    Cathnia Ó Muircheartaigh
    Osraí.ie
  • Digilogue have developed the Goldhold client site over the past eighteen months into a professional, functional and robust piece of online software. I have found them efficient and open to work with, billing is transparent and project milestones were hit on time. I have no hesitation recommending Digilogue and hope to continue to use their services long into the future

    Greg Heaslip
    Goldhold
  • Excellent support before and after. Follow-up support is very important to us.

    Denis Desmond
    Retired Teachers' Association of Ireland
  • Comhairle, tacaíocht agus seirbhís den scoth

    Micheál Ó Foighil
    Coláiste Lurgan
  • Well done to Seaghan and his team for an efficient and professional webcast of our conference

    Gerard O'Sullivan
    Coláiste Chiarain
  • Digilogue has provided our website services since we were established in 2004. More recently we have engaged with them in the creation of our online training courses. In all aspects of our collaboration we have found Seaghan and his highly qualified team to be professional, efficient, creative and easy to deal with and would highly recommend the service they provide to any business looking to enhance their business through e-Commerce.

    Conor Holmes
    Outside The Box Learning Resources
  • Enniscrone Golf Club are very pleased with the professional upgrade and redesign of their Web Site in 2012. The level of consultation and back up support through out the whole process was second to none. It was very much a hands on approach which required a good deal of almost daily consultation and discussion and Digilogue were very generous with their time.

    Brian Casey
    Enniscrone Golf Club
  • Our experience of working with Digilogue has been overwhelmingly positive. They are extremely supportive and have a, ‘we can solve that’ approach to every difficult issue we identified. I find them helpful in explaining technical jargon, and at the same time finding a simple means of putting manageable systems in place. They have an ability to mix various digital media in order to develop an attractive and user friendly system

    Paul Fields
    Kilkenny Education Centre
  • It was important for us to work with a company that understood our needs and audience so we chose Digilogue because of their experience in education.They did an excellent job designing our website and continue to offer us ongoing technical support. They are always accommodating, a pleasure to work with and appreciate us as customers

    Miriam O'Donoghue
    CDVEC CDU & FESS