One of the unwritten rules of video content is that sound quality is actually much more important than video quality. The majority of people will watch a video if the footage is a little lacking as long as the audio is clear and easy-to-understand. However, bad sound will instantly turn off many viewers, so it's very important to dedicate your time to getting it right.
- Reduce echo. Your recording area may have hard surfaces, like concrete or wood walls and floors, which can cause a lot of echo and be very difficult, if not impossible to fix later on. You can mitigate this by adding fabric tiles on your walls, adding rugs or carpets on hard floors, or even recording in smaller areas where the acoustics are better.
- Record a good 30 seconds to 1 minute of ambient room noise. Ambient noise is the regular sound of your room without you speaking in it. Recording this ambient noise separately will help you during the editing phase later (more information on this in our Audio editing basics section).
- Ensure your audio level is correct. The audio level will determine how loud your voice is coming in. A good range for your voice is around –6.0 dB and –18 dB. It's better to record your voice quieter than louder, because a quiet voice can be increased in volume later.
- Record some test audio and listen back to it on headphones. It's very common to not have audio set up properly on the first try, and you may end up recording with your camera’s microphone instead of the standalone mic.
- Feel free to write out a script. It's natural to feel nervous on camera, especially when you're just starting out. Your script can be as detailed as you need it to be, whether it's line-by-line, or just an outline of what you’ll cover in the video. Staying loose and relaxed is the goal.
- Avoid dry mouth. Hours before you record, start drinking lots of water and continue to stay hydrated up to and throughout the recording. Make sure you have plenty of water on hand as well. Dry mouth lozenges are also very useful.
- Flubbed lines are normal. If you flubbed a line, just take a moment and start over from the beginning. It’s very hard to edit a piece of audio mid-sentence, but relatively simple to insert a new line entirely. Don't feel stressed or rushed - just go with the flow.
As you record more videos, the prep time needed will become shorter and shorter. You'll get a feeling for what your audio recording level needs to be and your equipment will also be set up from the previous session. Always make sure to double check your settings though, or you might end up having to re-record!