Overcoming audio problems

Overcoming audio problems can be challenging and a lot will depend on what type of microphone you have. Watch this video over at Vimeo to found out a little more about types of microphones and how proximity of your actors might affect how well you capture sound when filming. You can also watch this great (but quite long) video about audio issues you might encounter when filming outdoors. You'll also find some tips below in the overcoming audio challenges link. 

Here are some common problem you might encounter, with some potentially being more of a problem depending on what microphone you have.

When shooting outdoors, wind messes with my audio

  • Find a place where the wind is blocked and isn’t blowing directly into your microphone.

  • Think about moving the scene to a controlled setting, meaning, somewhere where the wind won’t have an affect.

I can’t hear what my actors are saying

  • Move the camera or microphone closer to your actors when they are saying their lines. This might affect the type of shot you were planning on using, so you'll have to decide what is more important.

  • Make sure your microphone is pointing at your actors. If you're trying to get dialogue from more than one actor in a shot, you might find it difficult to record both clearly, particularly if one has their back to the microphone or if one is further away from the microphone than the other. You might have to rethink how you record the scene, or how you want to position your actors.

Sound and dialogue is really loud and crackly when I play back my video and audio

  • If outside, crackling might be because of the wind – try to block the wind or shoot somewhere where wind isn’t blowing into your microphone.

  • If your microphone is too close to your actors, or your actors are yelling and whilst quite close to the microphone, the sound might be too loud for your microphone. Try getting your characters to tone it down a little, or move the microphone a little further away.

My microphone picks up unwanted sounds and drowns out the sounds I do want.

  • Re position the microphone so it’s close and is pointing at the source of the sound you want to record.

  • Move to a controlled environment, somewhere you can control who is ‘on set’ or somewhere you know is quieter.

Background noise changes and other audio levels change dramatically between the clips I've filmed for a scene

  • You might want to record ambient sounds when on set, sounds that your editor can later use to help disguise dramatic changes in sound and volume from one video clip to the next. This is a bit more advanced, but basically if your sound person captures extra sounds (even if it’s using the camera, you can always get rid of the footage and keep the sounds when you edit your film) then it can go a long way to help the editor produce great sound design for your film.

Back to Sound recording for the beginner