Hot Take! Bad Audio Makes Good Video Look Awful

As a lover of fine picture quality in video production, we’re going to get controversial… Audio is more important than picture in your video.

Hear us out!

Bad audio ruins good video every time.

Poorly recorded voiceovers, inappropriate music choice, unintentional and too much wind noise… all of these are examples of bad audio that can ruin your beautifully shot video. Viewers tend to jump ship on a video if they notice the audio is unsettling. However, viewers are more likely to stick around to watch a poorly shot video if the audio is clear and precise.

Audio, music, voiceovers, dialogue, and overall sound design are the puppet masters of your video. Sounds pull the strings on your viewers, causing them to pay attention to certain elements in your video without them even noticing. If your viewer notices something isn’t quite right with your audio—it’s too loud, too quiet, too something or not enough of something else—then your video is lacking the impact you set out to have in production.

Social media already knows how audio in video makes you feel.

Think about TikTok or Instagram Reels videos. Many of those videos are silly and simply produced. Some are entertaining with clever transitions, but others are hard to watch with hazy filters. But no matter the quality of video, why do those particular reels videos appear on your feed? Because audio drives TikTok and Instagram Reels. Trendy, popular sounds give a video the opportunity to be seen by many viewers. What’s more, well-timed edits in line with the music make the transitions pop out from the crowd. The audio sets the tone of the video, encouraging you to laugh, feel nostalgic, or be impressed no matter what the content of the visuals is.

See it in action.

This YouTube user does a good job showing the difference between good/bad audio and good/bad video by simply sitting at a desk with a microphone:

Prioritize your audio.

Upgrade your video production by step up your audio game by:

  1. Prioritizing your audio. Don’t leave it for last. Use headphones on set when you’re recording. When capturing b-roll or creating a shot list, think about how your video sounds and how the sounds affect your story or video’s purpose.
  2. Investing in quality microphones. No matter your industry, good, dependable audio equipment goes a long way to get the best product. Also, it’s not about having a microphone simply present or nearby; it’s about being intentional with your microphone placement. Get it as close as possible to the subject, pointing at the subject.
  3. Taking control of your audio. Don’t let wind, unintentional background noise, echoes, etc. ruin your hard work. Pay attention to the sounds on set. Is the AC running and ruining the dialogue? Did someone just slam a door in the background? You can fix some things in post-production, but not everything. Playback every recording of audio on set to make sure you captured what you want and how you want.
  4. Adding sound effects. Make your own sound effects by recording audio in your environment. Are you making a cooking tutorial for tomato soup? Your audience wants to hear those sounds, so aim the microphone at the cutting board while you are chopping up the tomatoes. Recording your own sound effects is free, but if your environment is limited, consider downloading royalty-free sound effects from subscription sites such as Envato Elements or Storyblocks.
  5. Trying the blanket trick. If you don’t have an audio booth handy to record voiceovers, make your own booth. Try to record audio in a room with lots of cushioned furniture, rugs, and curtains to help absorb any reverb. When it’s time to hit record, put a blanket on top of the speaker’s head and around the microphone. This helps absorb reverb even more. It might look something like this…

You don’t have to be an amateur filmmaker to take advantage of these audio tips. You can consider these ideas across all levels to create better videos for social media, televised commercials, presentations, home videos, and even Zoom meetings. If you want impactful and memorable video for your brand, you can’t forget the audio.

Want to learn more about how you can use video to build brand awareness and drive conversions? Start a conversation with us!

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