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The Studios

Your complete how-to guide for enjoying the Cline Library's multimedia Studios.

Recording Audio

Audio recording is a key skill for anyone wishing to create professional music, podcasts, and videos. Want to built your audio recording skills? Click the image below to view a Udemy voice-over training course (available to NAU affiliates). 

 

Voice Over course from Udemy screenshot

Tips for Better Audio

Recording audio that is crisp and clear can often be a tricky task. Follow these tips to record the best audio possible:

1) Use External Microphones

Although most video cameras come equipped with built-in microphones, these mics are often not powerful or sensitive enough to record at video-level clarity. As a result, video camera mics often emphasize background noises at the expense of your subject. If you want to achieve professional sound quality you will need to attach an external microphone to your camera. The Cline Library has number of microphones available for check out including shotgun mics (to isolated sounds and conversations) and lavalier mics (to isolate a single speaker). 

View the video below to learn more about shotgun and lavalier mics.

2) Think About Where you Record

Recording outdoors or in busy areas is difficult because the impact of any amount of ambient noise or wind on the microphone can create loud slapping or popping sounds. Consider recording in a quiet spot indoors (like the Cline Library Production Studios); you can also use a sock or piece of cardboard on your mic to help reduce distortions. 

3) Remove Ambient Noises (If Possible)

Background noises are distracting in a video and can complicate the editing process. Before recording be sure to turn off equipment like fans and refrigerators so you don't hear them humming. Most good audio-editing tools can remove background noise, but only if the noise is constant. Variable environmental noise cannot be easily removed.

4) Always Record 30 Seconds of Background Noise

For situations where you can't remove ambient noises (like humming lights) it is important to ALWAYS record at least 30 seconds of background noise before beginning your video take. This "dead time" makes it easier for audio editing programs, like Audacity or Adobe Audition, to remove those tones and distortions from the entire video clip.

5) Speak Clearly

Your diction decides how easily your audience can understand you. Some tips to remember:

  • Speak clearly and without hurrying.
  • Enunciate longer words carefully and avoid stuttering or slurring.
  • If the speaker has a non-US accent, their speech should be recorded with greater stress on clear enunciation.
  • Practice breathing slowly and calmly before a take to develop a natural, unhurried cadence to your speech.
  • Remember that standing or sitting straight while speaking gives your voice greater strength and clarity.
  • Keep yourself well-hydrated during recording sessions by sipping liquids regularly.

6) Avoid Popping and Siblance

Popping is the extra burst of air that is released from your mouth when pronouncing Ps and Bs. Sibilance is the hissing sound the mouth makes when pronouncing Ss and Fs. Both popping and sibilance are picked up extra clearly in recordings and distract from the audio. Make adjustments to your angle and distance from the mic to the point where the popping and sibilant sounds are the least noticeable.

7) Edit your Audio

Always, always, always edit your audio after recording - ideally separate from your video. The Cline Library offers a number of audio editing programs including iMovie, Audacity, and Adobe Audition. See "Audio Editing" on the "Post-Production" page for more information.