Just some of the broadcast quality sound equipment that we use – but there are some more cost effective ways for you to record better sound for low budget projects.

This post builds on the earlier DIY Video Production Part 1 in which we looked at ways of improving your self-shot company videos, when time and budgets are tight.


Professional Video Production on a DIY Budget

As a professional video production company, MGL Media uses the best audio equipment, including a range of different microphones, recording equipment and on location sound mixers to reduce noise, enrich bass tones and get broadcast-quality results – but we appreciate that there may be times when you want to just put out a quick self-shot video and don’t feel it warrants employing professionals.

If you followed our advice on getting better looking interviews, then you are at least part of the way to creating more effective company videos. However, it doesn’t matter how great your interview subjects look if your audience can’t hear what’s being said – a problem that is all too common with amateur footage. So here are some quick and inexpensive tips for getting better sound for your interviews.

Never use the camera mic!

There are some great little consumer camcorders out there, that can produce high definition images, but very few (if any) will have anything approaching a decent quality microphone built in to the camera. Even if the microphone is relatively good, the fact that it is built in to the body of the camera means that you often pick up sounds from the actual camera itself – as well as general handling noise.

A ‘Tie-Clip’ or Lavalier style microphone can make a big difference to your sound.

For simple seated interviews, using an inexpensive lavalier, or ‘clip-on’ microphone can really improve your sound quality and ensure that the most important aspect of your video – the content – reaches your audience. When you clip the microphone to the clothes of your interviewee, try to make sure it is close enough to clearly hear what is being said, without being so close that the mic picks up lots of breathing and other noises. If you are unsure, watch a studio news interview to see how the professionals do it.

Let’s film right next to this air conditioning unit – doh!

It never ceases to amaze me how many people choose to record their interviews in the same vicinity as a noisy photocopier or the world’s loudest fridge – just because the background looks nice! It doesn’t matter if your interview is shot in front of the Taj Mahal – if you can’t hear the message, you haven’t got a video.

Try to use enclosed headphones – your iPod ear buds just won’t cut it!

Get some headphones

It may seem obvious, but the only way to be sure that you’re recording great sound is to invest in some headphones and to listen carefully while you’re filming your interview.

Use your ears

The most useful equipment you have (and the cheapest!) is your ear. When you’re considering where to shoot your interview, the easiest way to decide if it’s too noisy is to close your eyes and just listen for a few moments. Is there a loud hum from the nearby vending machine or the whirring of a computer hard drive? Maybe you can turn them off, or perhaps you will need to find a more peaceful area to complete your filming.

Sound advice

So there you have it – some sound advice to help you produce better in-house interviews. And when you’re looking to produce something more professional, just give MGL Media a call.


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