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How To Improve the Audio Quality of Your Videos

Discussion in 'Video Production' started by Roberto Blake, Jun 23, 2014.

  1. Roberto Blake
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    There are some basic things you can do to improve the overall audio quality of your YouTube videos. Some of them require using special equipment, others require software or techniques.

    Use a Dedicated Microphone
    Using the onboard audio of your camera is generally bad idea. Usually the microphone is too sensitive and pics up everything including background noise and wind. There are also times when the auto settings on the audio input levels make the sound inconsistent.

    To avoid this use a dedicated microphone like a lapel mic. If you're camera has an audio input jack, use a lapel mic directly into it and you will get better quality audio that is easy to work with in editing.

    An alternative if you don't have an input jack on your camera is to use a microphone and digital recorder, and clap at the beginning of your videos so they are easy to sync in post. If you can't afford a digital recorder you can use your smartphone in most cases.

    Screen Casting
    If you are screen casting, one of the best things you can do is buy a USB Dynamic Microphone. These microphones are unidirectional, so they only pick up sound from one direction. These are usually in expensive and produce great quality sound.

    I cover more tips like this in my video below, including software you can use to improve the sound quality of your videos, and links to where you can buy the hardware I discussed.

     
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  2. LearningStuff
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    Audacity has been awesome for me. I will generally amplify my voice track and remove any background hiss with it. It really cleans up the audio. Best of all it is free.
     
  3. Roberto Blake
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    Audacity definitely can do a good job of the basics. You should try out a free trial of Adobe Audition for the day that you want to upgrade to something a little more robust. The good thing about Adobe products is they work together seamlessly, I don't have to reimport my audio when editing, it saves back over to the project.
     
  4. MagetheEntertainer
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    I would also like to add that you should gate out the background noise in your audio recordings with a program such as fl studio, or pro tools. A gate is just a simple little plugin that blocks all audio that resonates below a certain audio frequency. For example when I record the audio for my videos there is background noise that my mic picks up primary from my computer fan. This audio resonates at an average volume of -44 db, so I set my gate up to -42 db just incase there are any peaks so that you don't hear the constant hum of my computer fan.
     
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  5. VanCityVideo
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    If you use external recording for audio and you have many shots in your sequence, you may want to look into software to automatically sync the audio to the video. I've recently tried PluralEyes and it's fantastic - definitely saves a large amount of time.
     
  6. Samantha Brown
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    Great info. Thanks.
    I use Sony Vegas and Audacity. Takes care of the humming in the room. Of course there are better ways that might give you a higher quality end result, but it's hard to beat free. For anyone using Vegas/Audacity, I'd like to add that when you import/export your sound to audacity, you'll save LOTS of time by rendering all your sound tracks out into a single file which you treat in audacity, instead of doing each clip individually. If you're like me, with 100s of clips per video, it makes sense to do something once instead of 100s of times.
     
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  7. Michael
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    Thats always one of the final steps for my video editing, I tend to do the audio and then the music right after that before rendering :)
     
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  8. Samantha Brown
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    These are my final steps as well. I tend to mute all my foreground audio and go through my vid setting the background audio levels to where I want them, which usually include music, then unmute foregound audio and match the audio levels to as close to 0db as I can. That way I make sure (at least I think I do) that speech etc doesn`t drown in background noise. Once that`s done I do my Audacity thing knowing I won`t have to adjust anything afterwards :). Good to know others do similar things to me :)
     
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  9. Michael
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    Thats some steps I dont actually take, are you doing this in Sony Vegas or another video editor? What I tend to do is do it by ear and check the background music against the other audio tracks, usually I will keep my background music between -17db and -23db, it normally falls within that range depending on the music. I have always just left the foreground audio set to default, should I be changing that? I do some muting and unmuting when exporting the audio for editing :D
     
  10. Samantha Brown
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    Hi Michael,
    Yes I'm in Vegas :). For my purposes, I do all my sound editing in Vegas, except noise removal in Audacity. I don't go by ear anymore because things will sound vastly different on different devices. I've had a few times when I showed my vid to others on their laptop and it was hard to hear what I was talking about, yet in my speakers it sounded great. I don't know if this is the best way but it works for me, and I find that using the levels and having a distinct space between foreground and background works best. The settings that I use are these:
    - Foreground, close to zero but not over
    - Background, either 21-24 or 30-33, depending if I have 2 background levels or one, like both music and ambiance/location sounds. It depends what I want to emphasize.
     
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