How to fix common audio problems

Creating compelling visuals is often the main focus of business videos. And that’s great. It’s important to create interesting and engaging shots. But. Don’t forget that the audio is equally important. If you spend all your time and effort on the visual, without sparing a thought for your audio, your message could get lost.

Here’s some of the most common audio problems (and what to do about them).


See how annoying hiss is...

The good news, though, is that you can cut the amount of hiss fairly easily if you:

- Use a microphone that doesn’t add hiss to the output. A shotgun mic is a great option if you have an extra hand on set. Otherwise,if you’ve got a little extra budget to spend, a lapel mic is virtually invisible and gives greater flexibility of movement.

- Position your mic correctly so that it picks up the audio loud and clear. This video clip shows the difference it can make...

- If your mic hasn’t picked up the audio loudly enough (usually caused by not having it in the optimum position as per point 2) it can be tempting to boost the audio in post production. However, if you boost too much that annoying hiss will be back with a vengeance. The best solution is to get the mic positioning right from the outset.

Imbalanced Audio

It can be tricky to make sure all of the audio is balanced. Some things you’ll need to watch out for:

- Is there more than one person in your video?

You’ll need to take care that one person isn’t much louder than the other. The best solution is to give them each a lapel mic so that they get the same level of audio recorded.

If investing in a lapel mic simply isn’t an option you can alter the channel gain a little bit. But remember not to push one of the channels too far and introduce that dreaded hiss.

- Are you using music?

Music can add to the mood and emotional appeal of your video. But only if you get it right. First, make sure you’ve got a clip that sets the right tone (click here for some tips we put together last week).

Once you’ve settled on the clip just be sure that it doesn’t take over. The main audio still needs to be heard over your killer track.

- Is your audio panned correctly?

If your subject is moving around the frame, it could be completely appropriate for the audio to move with them. Grab a pair of headphones and take a listen...

But incorrectly panned audio can be really annoying. If a mono mic is accidentally recorded onto a stereo track, or there is a problem with your mic lead, you may end up losing half your audio. Headphones at the ready? Then check out how annoying it can be for your viewers...

This is easily fixable - just switch the channel to mono and you should be good to go.

The key point is to pick up on these things as they happen. You really must...

Listen to what you are recording

There’s nothing more annoying than getting to the edit and finding the best take of a track has a problem with the audio so can’t be used. We’ve all been there. And it sucks.

It’s really important to monitor the audio as you record it. That way if there is a problem, you know to fix it, and go for another take. A good pair of headphones to isolate the sound are worth their weight in gold. Or get an extra person to lend an ear. One of you can focus on the visual, the other on the audio. It’ll make picking up any glitches much easier.

Getting the sound quality right is a must if you want to get the most from your video. And you don’t need any fancy equipment to do it. A reasonable mic, headphones and an extra person at the shoot are all relatively inexpensive and will make a big difference.

Still need help? Contact Us Contact Us