How to Get Good Quality Sound When Filming YouTube Videos
What’s great about creating video is there’s no set rules as to how to go about it; however, there is a certain set of guidelines you should follow in order to get the best quality out of your equipment.
YouTube videos range in a variety of filming setups, but in this post, we’ll focus on vlogging, and more specifically for vloggers filming in a room and talking directly to the camera. That being said, these techniques can also be applied and modified to fit any of your filming conditions.
When people think about making high quality YouTube videos, they immediately think they need an amazing camera.
“I need 4K!”
“I need autofocus!”
“I need a camera that’s amazing in low light!”
Although those things will help, they aren’t going to have as big of an impact as sound. In fact, sound should be your first priority!
Most people will watch a poorly shot video, we see it all the time on Snapchat, Insta Stories, and even mainstream news. Nobody will watch a video longer than 30 seconds that has poor, scratchy, or overblown audio. I know I wouldn’t make it past 10 seconds if I stumbled upon a video with bad audio.
Audio, like video, is such a dense art form, where you can learn an infinite amount of knowledge and still feel like you don’t know everything. I’m here to tell you that you don’t need to know everything, just some basic tips when recording audio that will go a long way:
Filming in a Quiet Location
Whether it’s your air conditioner humming or the cars honking outside in traffic, these noises can be distracting to your YouTube channel’s audience. Making sure you’re in an area that has the least amount of sound interference as possible will help you out a lot before you even press record.
Now short of you being in a professional studio environment, this may be difficult at times. I’m actually hearing the hum of my neighbour’s lawnmower outside as I type this. Minimal noise can be edited out with certain post production filters or even editing light background music into your YouTube videos.
Certain microphones can help drown out these noises as well, but the quieter the space you record in, the easier your experience will be when editing your video.
Additional Ways to Create a Quiet Filming Environment
Now if you don’t have many options when it comes to getting a quiet location, you can do a couple things to help improve the situation you’re in. The first thing you can do is unplug anything that’s making noise (i.e. your fridge, hard drives, etc).
The second thing you can do is set up “sound blankets”. Take any spare blankets you may have at home and put them up around you in places like windows where outside noise will be coming from or on the walls around you, just to get rid of any echo/reverb that may result from your recording.
Using an iPhone to Record Audio
If you’re not ready to buy a microphone yet or still deciding on which microphone to buy, you can always start with a phone. Modern cell phones actually do pretty well when it comes to recording audio. I find iPhones in particular have great audio quality. If you are going to use your phone, then your quiet location just became more important, as phones pick up everything.
If you’re using your phone to record sound, speak as close as possible. For example, one of the easiest ways to do this would be to place your phone in a shirt pocket with its microphone facing upwards towards your voice.
Using your built-in voice recording app will do the trick, but of course with the internet being as vast as it is, I’m sure there are apps out there that can do a better job. Make sure to sync your video and audio by clapping at the beginning of each time you press record. Once you’re done recording, you can email yourself the audio file(s) and sync it up with your video footage in an editing software.
Using a USB Microphone
When it comes to buying microphones, like buying a vlogging camera, there are so many options out there to choose from. If you’re on a budget, the quality of Blue’s USB Microphones are hard to beat and you can get them anywhere between $100-$200, depending on which model you choose.
I see a lot of vloggers use these, usually sitting right in front of them in the shot on a table or desk. Really, the only downside to these microphones is the sync issue. Because these mics are USB based, they’ll need to be plugged into a nearby computer and something basic like the GarageBand app on Mac can be used to record great audio, which you can later sync with your video footage.
Again, don’t forget to make things easier for syncing your video and audio together by clapping your hands to create a sound spike that can easily be tracked to easily merge the two files together in post production.
Filming with a Camera Microphone
My personal favourite microphone that I use on a daily basis is the Rode Videomic Pro. Countless vloggers, big and small, use this microphone as it captures great audio and it’s directly connected to your camera, which takes away the pain of having to sync audio and video together when editing.
There’s a good chance you’ve likely seen the infamous Casey Neistat vlog setup. It is a Rode Videomic Pro you see sitting atop his camera. The Rode Videomic Pro goes for about $300 retail, which can be pricey when just starting out, but trust me, you will not regret spending the money on this.
As you grow your YouTube channel, you may eventually look to upgrade your camera for another over time, but you’ll likely never have to replace this mic. This mic is also great for vloggers who are constantly on the go too, as it can capture great audio outside of your studio/desk setup.
Hopefully some of these tips will help you when filming your YouTube vlogs! Never underestimate the power of good sound and how much more it adds to your overall production value.
VLOG NATION CONTRIBUTOR Chris Monteiro is a Canadian videographer and drone pilot, who is passionate about creating dynamic digital content. An avid traveller, Chris loves to explore new places with his Sony A7Sii in hand and aims to tell engaging stories about what he captures through his lens.