Not gonna lie: he said it first. Audio quality is more important than video picture quality. Audio is critical and can honestly hold together an entire video feature. If the video features a person/people speaking, the audio must be able to convey those words to the listener. If the video shows a symphony or a rock concert, the audio must be capable of conveying that music. The video portion of a symphony, or even simply of a waterfall, leaves the viewer expecting that there is more of the image to channel. That kind of expectation is a powerful tool, and should never be sacrificed with sub-par audio.
What’s the deal…with audio?
First, let’s distinguish something. Sound is not audio. However, audio is sound. Sound can travel without amplification (such as a stereo). Audio is a more technical term than sound, and requires some manner of amplification. Audio is the way sound is conveyed in a video format.
Several decades of radio broadcast prior to television broadcast have proven that audio alone is sufficient for folks. The sound of a voice coming through a radio speaker dates back to the first decade of the 1900s.
Two independent worlds
A video is a group of sounds in sync with a group of images. The music, dialog and other sounds in videos and films are independent of the parallel images. A silent film can certainly convey an entire storyline without audio. An audio file or broadcast can convey a storyline without video of the people speaking or performing, for example. However, in a video with audio, the expectation is present that whatever is seen clearly must be heard clearly. Audio quality begins to matter a lot at this point.
Audio and video are recorded separately, and rejoined for “playback.” Playback is simply allowing a captured media sequence to be seen over time. The nature of both video and audio playback is to reproduce a sequence of captured sounds and images over time.
Our attention naturally leans toward change and motion. The changes in a video setting are most often in correlation to changes in matching audio. The director/ editor/ producer creates a video to imitate whatever the world looks like to them.
Ensure great audio quality!
The credibility and reach of your video suffer immediately when audio is sub par. It just sucks to listen to something that is distorted, too quiet, unclear, broken up, or altogether missing. This is why This kind of experience expects too much of the viewer. It’s not their job to like what you’ve made. It’s your job to entertain/inform/inspire/persuade the viewer by managing the media production successfully. Success can be measured in shares, likes, and comments in social media.
People quote soundbites. Folks imitate what they’ve heard. They tell jokes and share stories. All of this relies on interpersonal connection and dialog. This is the core of what makes audio so important. Your video must be able to do all of this clearly and cleanly.
A quick audio production checklist:
- Listen to what your microphone (even your camera microphone) hears during production. You do not want to guess/hope/assume that the audio is “fine.” You will ruin the project quickly.
- Double-check your capture settings. Trying to record at 44.1 kHz to match up accurately with your video recording? Awesome. Now make sure that’s actually happening. The worst feeling is to get home and to find out your capture setting were off, and need unnecessary post-production time.
- Use appropriate equipment. Are you recording a public speaker? Is there a mic near or on the person? If not, you willing undoubtedly lose viewers that can’t clearly hear the speaker. Use microphones and placement that encourages high-quality audio.
As Helen Keller wrote, “to be deaf is a greater affliction than to be blind.” I think that’s someone who knows. Don’t waste anyone’s hearing on sub par audio quality!
Lynx | Digital Media Producers creates results-driven content and strategies to enhance your customer’s experience of your brand. Contact us today to see how we can increase the value of your brand through multimedia production.