Unfortunately, most home videos do not have good sound. This to due mostly to poor on-camera microphones, and cameramen who do not pay attention to what sound they record. You cannot do anything about the first problem unless you have a good external microphone. On the other hand, having an external microphone means one more thing to carry and attach when you want to shoot your video, and even with that, you should pay attention to how you record the sound. How can you solve this problem? By applying some simple techniques, you can use your on-camera microphone to make up for an external microphone in most cases, and have clear audible sound for your video. Later, if you need to, you can add more sound over-top of the footage during the editing process.
Recording Human Voice/Dialogues
Most build-in microphones record a lot of ambient noise, especially in crowded and busy places like streets or parties, making it dificult to record specific conversations in crowded areas. Try to record your important dialogues and monologues in quiet places if it is possible. By changing your position and camcorder angle, you can improve the quality of sound. For example, if you are recording your friend talking on the street, have your back to the street in order to record less of the car noise and more of your friend’s voice. Most of the camcorders have headphone ports. Using a small headphone while shooting would be really helpful to realize what sound you are recording and make improvements.
Self-Narration While Recording Video
Avoid speaking from behind the camera, because it never turns out very well. If you edit your video on the computer later, you can add narration with much better quality, using something as simple as a small built-in computer microphone. If you are shooting in a busy street, or any place with lot of ambient noise, most of your narration will not be heard. Also, remember that if you use self narration when you shoot, you will not be able to change it later, but if you do it on the computer, you change it as many time as you want. If you absolutely need to have narration while shooting, try to do it in a quiet place, and try not to talk too much. You can also have someone else do the talking from off to the side, so the sound quality turns out better.
Ambient or Background Sound
Ambient sound is all sound you hear in the environment that you shoot your video, such as passing cars, singing birds, blowing wind, airplanes, ambulances, and passers by. As you may realize, ambient sound should be consistent across all the shots taken in one place. There are two ways to smooth the ambient sound between different shots. One way is recording some ambient sound without any picture on camcorder for several minutes. After you are done taking all the shots in that location, you simply put the cap on the lens and record for few minutes. Later, in editing, you can put this part of the sound track on your edited shots and have a consistent ambient sound. The other way involves using cross-fade or dissolves, which is not available in all editing programs like Window Movie Maker. In this case, you have to record ambient sound separately to have a consistent sound.
When you record a music performance either in a hall or outside, continue recording until the end of the piece. In other words, do not pause and record again in the middle of the piece. It is recommended that you record the whole piece so that you may use it later in editing. However, if you think that you have taken enough shots, and the piece is long, then you can stop recording. The point is to not leave any gap in your sound track. Since you cannot stop recording and change your camera angle, you should do this while you are recording. Get closer to the performers as much as you can and have some close-ups and medium shots. Never record with your back facing the performance, since the dynamic of music totally changes and it sounds differently. Shooting live music performances on the spot is always a good idea. You can add more shots and make t