If you are recording videos from your DSLR or your phone, you will notice that there are times when ambient noise is louder than the speaker’s voice. Perhaps, the background music is drowning out human voice. Have you experience playing back your recorded video and discovered that the wind or the air coming from a fan drowns out the voices?
One of the elements that delineates a good video from a bad one would be decent audio. However, if you are an amateur and you do not own any high quality audio devices, there are cheap ways to dampen undesired sounds or absorb background noises. Here are three of them.

1. Cover the mic.

Yes, you heard it right. When there is just too much background noise, experts advise to use a sound dampening foam. There are ready to use sound dampening foam for sale. However, you can make one using a sponge and some rubber bands or ties. Click on the video at 2:12 for instructions.

2. Soften the room.

“Softening” the room lessens the echoing often heard when recording videos in an empty room. Add carpets and window drapes and throw in several couch cushions to prevent echoing.
The first minute of this video compares the difference of the audio between a “dead” room and a “softened” room. Instructions on the setup starts at 1:04 until the end of the video.

3. Keep the mic closer.

As a rule, always keep your mic closer to you or the one talking on the video. The closer the mic is to the mouth, the better the sound quality. If you are using a shotgun type of microphone, try to position it above your head as close to you as possible without getting captured in the frame.
Consider using an external microphone. Compared to the built in microphone of your device, it would be best to use an external microphone for better audio.

Lavalier Microphone vs. Shotgun Microphone

lavalier microphone

Lavalier microphones, also known as lapel mic or lav

If you are a beginner, a lavalier mic, also known as lapel mic or lav, is easier to set up. They only need to be positioned properly, approximately six inches below the person’s mouth. They can be easily clipped onto clothes, with the wires hidden into clothing, lightweight and provides freedom of movement for the speaker.
Compared to a shotgun mic, lavs require a quieter environment. There is also potential for shirt noise so care must be taken to avoid contact with clothing.
Some lavaliers can be connected to a DSLR so it is extremely convenient to use if you are using one. It is also cheaper compared to a shotgun mic. Some of the recommended models include the Sennheiser EW 100 ENG G3-A wireless lav mic, RODE smartLav+, Polsen ULW-16 and the Sennheiser ew 112-p.


shotgun microphone

Shotgun microphone

A shotgun mic, on the other hand, provides unidirectional pick-up depending on where it is pointed. It can capture not only the speaker’s voice but also the ambient sounds so it is good if you need to capture sounds in the environment as well. Audio quality is better than a lavalier. However, a shotgun mic needs some form of suspension or a pole (if you are using a boom kit) so you might need another person to carry it.
Some shotgun mic under $100 include the Polsen SCL-1075, Takstar SGC-598 and Audio-Technica ATR-6550. For those who are using DSLR to shoot videos, take a look at the Rode VideoMic Pro, Azden SMX-10, Audio-Technica ATR-3350, Audio-Technica AT8004, Zoom SSH-6 and the Sennheiser MKE 400.


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