Audio Considerations

An easy mistake to make when planning for where to record the interviews for your video is to focus entirely on the visual aspects of the setting and forget about the way the space sounds. It’s important to remember that no matter how beautiful your video looks, if your audience can’t hear it well, all that beauty will go to waste.  So before you decide on a location and put in a lot of time and effort on the logistics, do these two things:

Tip 1

Listen to the Space (around the time of day you might record there)

If you have an idea about when you would like to record your interview or other content that requires audio recording, schedule a visit to the location you’re considering around that time. The timing is important because the location might be perfectly quiet during the late morning  on a weekday, but become impossibly cacophonous in the afternoon.. Same goes for weekday versus weekend. You won’t know for sure if the location’s audio quality is conducive to filming that important interview until you’ve heard it for yourself.

Tip 2

Talk to People who Know the Space

If you’re not able to visit the space, then asking people who are familiar with it about potential noise issues is a great option. Be sure to ask direct questions about the “trouble sounds” (listed below) and remember that people tend to adapt to their noisy surroundings by tuning them out, so if they say something like, “There’s a hum, but it’s not that bad” — it probably is bad enough to impact your audio recording.

Even if you are able to visit the space, talking with people who are more familiar with it might give you information that you wouldn’t get from just visiting the space yourself. For instance, they might know that construction is going to begin on the floor above the following week, or that a conference will be held next door and there might be more foot traffic than usual. This is important information to know and something beyond what you would get from just standing quietly in the space for a minute to listen to it. 

Top 10 Trouble Sounds to Avoid (in no particular order)

  1. HVAC Systems or Fans
  2. Lawnmowers/Leaf Blowers (Yard work always seems to start right when you turn on the camera!)
  3. Traffic (Planes, Trains, and Automobiles!)
  4. Refrigerators
  5. Washing Machines
  6. Vacuum Cleaners
  7. Children 
  8. Presenters
  9. Cell Phones
  10.  CELL PHONES:  Yes, we can’t stress enough, make sure all phones are turned off before you press that record button!

You can’t predict every sound that may disrupt your recording session, but if you pre-plan and pay attention to the big ten, you’re much less likely to have your best laid plans ruined by the annual Vacuum Cleaners of America convention next door!