Audio for video

Producing good video content is often reliant on having good audio to go with the visuals. We have a testimonial that often comes to mind, from a client who recognised that we were focussing as much on audio as video. For the type of work that we do it often isn't rocket science. For corporate work it's about close mic-ing and our weapon of choice is the lavalier (lapel) mic. Have you ever noticed on e.g. BBC how the microphone is pointing down and not up? That's a tip we got many years ago and always mic this way - I think the BBC is not a bad role model. We also do the usual things around trying to avoid phone interference and using spaces with good acoustics and low background noise where possible. When we're shooting events we carry gear so that we can get a direct audio feed from the sound desk or in-house PA wherever possible. We also have radio mics positioned in the most effective place, as well as the on-camera mic. All that said, it's been quite unexpected to work on not one but two audio-only projects in the last 2 months. The first was for a PR firm we've been working with for a few years - media training consisting of a fake radio interview. This required a bit of head scratching over how it could be achieved. The interviewer and interviewee needed to be in separate rooms, be able to hear each other, and I needed to be able to hear and record them both. Oh, and as we didn't know the layout of the client office we couldn't rely on trailing cables. The interviewee needed to talk into a desk mic, not just a radio mic, so it felt like they were in a radio studio. Pulling all the relevant gear together - 4 mics, 3 sound recorders and 3 sets of headphones - I drew a 'circuit diagram' then tested the setup at home with the family. There was no point in arriving in Newport to find that my idea wouldn't work. Of course it worked fine, with the ability to play back the recordings to the client through their boardroom TV. The second project was my first ever true podcast. I've done vidcasts / vodcasts as far back as 2008, but this time it was audio only. Again, it was an existing client who knew they could call on a reliable professional in their hour of need. The first podcast in the series had been recorded internally on a PC and hence sounded very echoey. It had a presenter's intro recorded separately, plus a music 'sting'. All 3 elements sounded acoustically different and at different volumes. The recording was simple; 2 lapel mics and a voice recorder. The intro was then recorded, and all mixed into the music back in the edit suite the same day. The verdict? "Sounds epic, thanks millions!"