Sound for the Videos

While I have experimented with video a fair bit over time, one thing I haven’t done is put together a video with a presenter in it.  My mum was recently staying and she had an idea for something she wanted to do that involved her doing a presentation on video that could be shared at a later date.  My own experience and some information I had seen online made me think that the key to getting a good result was not going to be the video but was instead the sound.  The microphone on the camera is of okay quality but it picks up the sound of everything around it.  The voice is isolated and any video online that does not take a careful approach to audio is very obvious and sounds decidedly amateurish.

The ideal solution would be to have lav mikes, the small mike you see attached to the clothing of TV presenters.  These are actually pretty accessible and cheap but I didn’t have the time to sort something out.  However, a surprisingly good alternative was readily to hand.  I have an app on my phone for sound recording which I use when interviewing people for articles.  Instead of using the plugin microphone, I used the headphone/microphone cable.  By running it inside the clothing and just leaving the microphone up near my mum’s throat, we were able to make a very good sound recording.  The closeness of the mike to her mouth meant the sound was very localized and clear so the background noise was lost.  The room we used did not have bad echoes either so the audio ended up being pretty clear.

Then it was just a case of having a conspicuous clap on the audio track and the video file to allow me to synch the sound and audio together and we were off to the races.  I shot everything with two cameras – one head on and one from the side – with the idea of cutting between them.  However, when I did the first edit, the side camera didn’t seem to fit with the style of presenting to camera.  I imagine it works better for an interview style piece.  I reverted to the head on shot with some images cut in periodically to illustrate the piece.  Overall, it worked pretty well.  We did a number of takes and mum got progressively more relaxed in each one.  I had thought I might cut the best bits together but the final take was really good so I didn’t need to do so.  I hope her audience likes the result.

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