Today I’m going to talk a bit about sound in film and video. Recording sound for videos and films is now easier than it has been at any point in time—most cameras come with fairly decent built-in mics, and some great external mics are available for not that much money. Also, other devices can be utilized as an improvised mic when nothing else is available and a built-in mic isn’t cutting it—such as simply recording sound on an iPhone.
Despite this, many amateur videos and films have problems with sound. Whether it’s distracting background noises, scratchy or inaudible dialogue or a host of other problems, sound is really important to making a video or film sound professional. In professional movies, almost every sound other than dialogue is usually created and edited by a foley artist. Foley is the art of reproducing and creating sounds for film. Foley artists are able to reproduce an amazing amount of sounds—from hooves beating to a sword being drawn—to make a film sound more realistic. Also, multiple tracks can now be layered on top of each other to create a complex sound experience.
When shooting your own film or video, one of the simplest ways to ensure good sound quality is to stop before you start shooting, and just listen. If you’re doing an interview, is the air conditioner too loud? If you’re outside, is the sound of the wind blowing appropriate for your film? Learning to roll with and integrate certain sound effects from the environment can be a great touch to a film/video, but it’s also nice to have a quiet, nicely edited short.
For more video tips, check back every Tuesday for Timothy’s advice.