Sound quality in videos - need help

Hi, it's me again seeking wisdom at the feet of TLS' collective expertise. One of the subjects I teach is CommTech, and one the things I'm not good at is video editing (I'm good at teaching them some real basic fundamentals such as different shots to use, cuts and transitions, workflow management, and planning/scriptwriting/storyboarding.)

Anyway, one recurring problem the students experience is poor sound reproduction. Their video quality is normally pretty good because they've had plenty of experience filming themselves (though not of editing their films). But I do not know what to do about the sound quality. The major recurring problems are

- ensuring good sound quality when filming in an echo-y interior space such as a gym or classroom
- ensuring good sound quality when filming outdoors, reducing ambient sounds and enhancing voices
- ensuring consistent quality throughout the video (What we often get is audio which is loud in one scene, then goes quiet in the next scene, then is fuzzy in the next one, and so on....

They rarely have a problem with voiceovers.

What solutions have you guys found, that you could recommend to my students? Preferably ones that don't cost a lot of money! Thanks!
Mostly on their phones or on their personal equipment if they have it, so it depends entirely on what they have (some of them have drones). The school only has one video camera and the staff in charge of it (not me) don't like to lend it, for obvious reasons. They are not going to buy anything for this class.

I've always found that the visual quality of footage shot on their iphones is surprisingly good - crisp and clear (although shooting in low light rarely produces good results). But any audio that is recorded while shooting the video is usually poor.


AI Researcher
i don't think iphone sound is that bad (at least i've found it good from what little i've recorded on it), but i guess if you're filming with it then there's a chance you're blocking the mic or not pointing it in the optimal direction. plus if it's windy then that's obviously going to lower the quality.

(even more expensive/dedicated cameras can struggle with low light so it's not a surprise an iphone would as well.)

you can get lavalier mics you can use on phones or small audio recorders for relatively cheap, but if they're not going to spend money and no one wants to spend their own money on stuff then i guess the best option would be to try to control where you're recording sound.

idk how to make it flow well so i will just do bullet points:

- if you're outside, try to stand somewhere where the wind will be blocked (e.g. position yourself so you're by a wall that's blocking the wind).

- you can get windshields for microphones to block wind noise (black spongy foam, grey fuzzy covers, blimp shaped capsules) which would cost varying degrees of money, but i've heard of people putting socks over the microphone instead. i have never tried that or heard what it's like, though.

- you can get rid of some noise with software, so it'd be a good idea to have like 10-20 seconds where you're recording without anyone talking so you can get a noise profile which you'd use later to sample and remove noise.

- on that note, just recording 1 or 2 minutes of atmospheric noise (a 'wild track') can be useful when editing later. it gives you some background noise you can add to the video to even the audio out a bit and mask jumps or differences between cuts within footage from the same location.

- in rooms where there's a lot of echo (hard surfaces and walls), you can dampen that by putting up something soft around the walls, floor, and/or ceiling. so blankets or towels or items of clothing, and even if not stuck to the walls just holding them out of frame will have some effect.

- think where the microphone is, is it well positioned to record audio. maybe even have a separate phone acting as a substitute microphone while another records video. (if you did do something like this, having someone clap on camera helps if you need to synch up the audio and video later. since it makes an easily noticeable spike on waveform so you can quickly see where it is in the audio track, and a visual marker in the video to match it up with.)

- if it's possible, maybe relocate where you're recording audio so you're doing most of it in a more ideal locations (quiet, lots of soft furniture, controlable).

you can even out audio so it matches between scenes later on, but how you do that depends on what software you're using and also not something i've really done much of so i'll stop here :sadpanda:

or do what hollywood films do and rerecord the audio afterwards so it's nice and clear and stick that in there.
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