Capture Professional-Sounding Audio

Get the sound right before recording

While software programs have audio filters and effects, buzzing, hissing or a missing audio channel cannot be remedied in the software.

Before you start, first set up and practice using the equipment


  • Always wear headphones when recording – use them to make sure audio is coming in, to check sound levels and/or to adjust the mic position so the sound is as clear as possible
  • Are the recording levels too high? With digital recording, if your peaks exceed 0dB, your audio is basically unusable and cannot be repaired.
  • When shooting with only a single microphone, if possible use a "Y" cable splitter or a mixer to route the single microphone's output to both audio input channels on the camcorder setting each channel to different  recording levels. That way, if one channel overloads, you may still have a clean audio from the second channel that was set to a lower level.

  • Set the mic close – about a hand's length from your subject's mouth and slightly off to the side. hold the mic in your hand, moving it between you and your subject, just like a TV news reporter. if the volume is too loud in your headphones, lower the headphone volume instead of moving the mic farther away
  • Be careful of mic noise – use a light touch and don't shift around too much. If you must move the mic, wait until your subject has fully finished speaking - you can then edit out the noisy portion of the video.
  • Avoid popping "p" and sharp "s" sounds – move the mic farther to the side of the subject's mouth

Create a quiet filming location

We are often unaware of the many ambient noises in our environment – until  video playback reveals the noise is annoying or, worse, interferes with being able to understand a speaker.  To minimize ambient noises, follow the checklist below:

  • carpeted rooms absorb echo
  • avoid large, empty rooms
  • stay away from kitchens and the many noises therein
  • close doors and windows to minimize outside sound
  • shut off phones to avoid unexpected rings
  • check and adjust anything that could make noise: creaking chairs, ticking clocks, buzzing fluorescent lights, air conditioners, fans, etc