Hit the Right Note – Audio for Video Production

Hit the Right Note – Audio for Video Production

The acoustics on the set are part of it. Just like a well written speaker’s text. And a planned approach to music selection. For the sound in the video production there is a lot to consider. Here are the most important tips.

I come originally from the radio range. You can’t imagine paying attention to sound when it’s the only means of transporting information. Anyone who has made radio features for a few years knows about the associative effect of sound, even in videos.

We absorb about 90 percent of our information with our eyes. But the other ten percent have it all. The sound has a largely unconscious effect. That’s what’s mean: As a recipient, you see a video, and somehow it doesn’t knock you off your seat. The images are all „right“. But the whole thing nevertheless seems somehow cheap. An expert sound analysis often quickly reveals a number of mistakes that would actually be easy to avoid.

Better too dry

The sound sources include the recordings on location, additional sounds from the archive, sound effects, music and speakers.The crew often cannot choose the acoustics on the set. Then it is important to choose the right microphones and get as close as possible. Better to record too dry – Atmo and reverb can be added later if necessary. Eliminating disturbing noises afterwards, on the other hand, is costly and often associated with losses.

 

Especially with fast and cheaply produced videos, the atmo is often avoided on average. Behind this can be an economic thought, because the Atmo must be mixed. Sometimes, however, it is also the fear that background noises would impair the clarity of the overall sound.  It is almost always better to work with Atmo, but discreetly. It has to be there, but more perceptible than really audible.

First Class Studio – best atmosphere: VORSATZ.MEDIA made the sound recordings for the explainer video in the studios of Mainland Media in Berlin Mitte.

 

Writing for listening

The same applies to additional noises and sound effects. An explanatory video, for example, only appears really dynamic, lively and funny. And the sounds provide important additional information to what the eye perceives. In interaction, it is the concert of the channels that results in a perfect orchestra. The plot becomes authentic.

It sounds a bit thought around the corner, but it isn’t: clear off-speech begins with writing the text. This must be written for listening. Written text language doesn’t look so elegant, rather simple. It consists of short, linear sentences without nesting. To avoid having to resolve the sentence at the end, the verb moves forward. Sentences with a maximum of seven words are best understood.

 

Expensive speakers

Boulevard newspapers write close to the spoken word. They use the accomplished present instead of the past, the present instead of the accomplished present. And they hate the genitive. This makes the texts easier to understand. When listening, such sentences are then perceived as naturally spoken words. Even experienced speakers have it easier with scripts written in this way.

Synchronization is always a challenge. The voice-over speaker must be clearly understandable. Nevertheless, the original’s original sounds, atmosphere and music should still come across well.

A good professional speaker can earn a daily fee of 3,500 euros for a short commercial recording. In addition there are further fees for the playout. That sounds dreamlike. On closer inspection, however, the bill looks somewhat different. Behind this are many years of acting training. And most mimes never get on a green branch. Even if you’re good at business, you have to keep training your speech.

 

Choosing targeted music

The concrete speaker’s job then begins with dealing with the text and creating something new with one’s own personality. With this detailed picture in mind, the professional must remain calm even if a dozen managers who do not necessarily have the expertise to do so want to talk him in. In order to make a good recording, the environment should also be right. If the speaker doesn’t feel comfortable in the studio, you can quickly hear it later in the recording.

The sound makes the music, they say. This can also be reversed: the music makes the sound. And there is always a dilemma. The music shouldn’t cost much, there’s hardly any time calculated for the music selection on a limited budget. Time can be saved if the intended effect of the music in the respective scene is precisely determined in advance and translated into selection criteria. In my experience, however, these criteria only help to a limited extent to find music in databases one-to-one. They are rather useful to orient oneself in the exuberant offer and to use these criteria softly (qualitatively).

Mixing the audio tracks, equalizer, compressor: Until the sound sounds equally good on all playback devices, it must pass through several stages.

Final Mix

Overflowing offer? Admittedly: the music on popular portals such as audiojungle, Pond5 and PremiumsBeat sounds very interchangeable in the masses. An alternative is CC portals like ccMixter, where creative titles can be purchased for free as Creative Common Licenses or for commercial projects at favourable conditions.

When the rough cut is finished with all audio pre-mixes, the speaker’s text is recorded and the fine-cut is nearing its end, the final audio mix is ready. Depending on the complexity of the project and the requirements of the final mix, either the final mix is performed directly in the editing program or in an extra audio program.

Various effects refine the sound here. Equalizers are used, compressors and whatever else is specifically desired.

 

Sound equally good everywhere

Monitors and measuring instruments are good at m Mixing. But the most important thing always remains a trained ear. And unadulterated studio acoustics. Finally, the mix must sound good everywhere: quiet, loud, over headphones and cheap loudspeakers. The video sound has to be understandable and yet convey as much additional information as possible.

About The Author

William Vorsatz
William Vorsatz ist Geschäftsführender Inhaber von VORSATZ.MEDIA, Filmproduzent, Formatentwickler, preisgekrönter Autor
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