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Dave Pelland has extensive experience covering the business use of technology, networking and communications tools by companies of all sizes. Dave's editorial and corporate experience includes more than 10 years editing an electronic technology and communications industry newsletter for a global professional services firm.

Improving Audio in Small Business Videos

Improving Audio in Small Business Videos

Online video can play an important part in your small business marketing mix, and improvements in smartphone and tablet cameras make it easy for small business owners to produce high-quality video quickly and easily.

But even the best-shot video can suffer if the audio isn’t the same quality as the image. Simply pointing a smartphone or tablet at your subject and pressing record will result in a video that looks beautiful but may not sound as good – diluting the viewer’s experience and the effect you were hoping to create by making the video.

Audio Is Critical

If you want to get a message across in a video, your audience has to hear it clearly. That may sound obvious, but YouTube is littered with small business videos that overlook that basic idea and, as a result, aren’t finished or shared.

In general terms, smartphone microphones pick up a wide range of background noise that our minds filter out automatically. A room that you may consider quiet is likely to have noise from air conditioners, fluorescent lights, outside traffic or other potential distractions that you’re used to but can be distracting on a video.

Keep the following tips in mind as you plan your small business videos to improve your audio and, more importantly, the results your video can help drive.

Choose Your Location Carefully

The built-in microphones in mobile devices are designed to capture sound over a wide area, which can result in unwanted sound in your business video. If you are shooting outside, for instance, your device is susceptible to distracting wind or traffic noise. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t automatically avoid shooting outside – bright light and attractive scenery can make outdoors a great place to make video – you just have to pay attention to your environment before you begin shooting.

If you’re shooting indoors, be careful about sound echoing off large windows or other hard surfaces. Closing the drapes or blinds can make an important difference in how your video sounds. You should probably turn off the air conditioning while you’re shooting to reduce the associated noise.

A good way to get a sense of how noisy a location is to record a short segment without anyone speaking. When you listen to that clip, preferably with earbuds or headphones, pay attention to the background noise before shooting your “real” content.

Get Closer

Another good way to capture better sound is to move the camera closer to the person you’re filming. Reducing the amount of distance their voice needs to travel before hitting your camera will provide two benefits: you’ll get better sound while also reducing the unwanted noise that’s also hitting your microphone.

Consider an External Microphone

An effective, and relatively inexpensive, way to improve the sound quality of your videos is to replace your camera’s built-in microphone with a plug-in external microphone.

For example, a wired lapel microphone (also known as a lavaliere mic) that costs as little as $20 can provide better audio by allowing you to place a microphone closer to your speaker’s mouth and reduce the chance for environmental noise to be recorded.

For a higher investment, a $50 directional microphone will plug into your camera’s headphone jack and allow you to capture the speaker’s voice while actively filtering out most distracting noise.

Taken together, these simple steps will help improve the quality of your video sound as well as the message you’re trying to convey.

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