The biggest surprise (not that it should be) when still photographers start to shoot in a video format is how important audio is. I can’t stress this enough. Your audience can tolerate a poor visual – but never bad audio. If they can’t hear and understand what someone is saying – they turn it off.
So some tips and thoughts on getting good audio.
- Always use a camera that has the ability to accept external mics.
- Monitor your sound with earphones – you might be able to see the meter on your camera indicating that you’re getting sound, but without earphones you’ll never know if it’s “good” sound or just noise.
- Listen to your environment – is there a radio on? Are there fans on or airconditioning? Is the refrigerator humming? Then control your environment from an audio perspective – turn off fans, radios and unplug the refrigerator. One trick I use to remember to plug the fridge back in when I leave is to put my car keys inside – I can’t leave without them so it’s a great reminder. People tend to get a bit upset when you leave their refrigerator unplugged.
- Don’t talk while the camera is running and make sure your crew isn’t chatty as well. You might think that you won’t be using the audio – but why put handcuffs on and rule out that possibility because you didn’t get good sound.