Getting the Best Sound on Location: Tips and Tricks

No matter how good your visuals are, if you’ve got horrible sound, it will ruin your movie or film. To ensure you get the best sound possible while shooting on location, here are some tips and tricks you can use.

  1. Use a Quality Microphone

Don’t skimp out on your microphone. Not only should you get the best quality you can afford, you should also get the right one. Generally, you should use:

  • Ultra Directional Mics for Outside Locations
  • Directional Mics for Inside Locations
  • Less Directional for Cramped Interior Spaces

When you use a directional phone, it has a greater capacity to selectively pick up sound from the front end. It will also bear a higher signal to noise ratio. Just be careful in using excessively directional phones in tighter areas because they can easily pick up even the tiniest echoes.

  1. Strategically Place the Microphone Close to the Actor’s Mouth

Having good clear sound means having the microphone as close to the subject or actor speaking. This ensures the voice of the actor is louder than the rest of the background sound. The ideal spots to place a microphone would be above the actor and pointing downwards into the actor’s mouth or right below the bottom frame pointing upwards into the actor’s mouth.

  1. Take Multiple Takes Even if the First Shot was Nearly Perfect

Regardless of how good an actor performed on the scene, it’s best to retake the same scene at least several times. This covers you from problematic parts of one scene. When you have multiple takes, you can easily find a clean version and use it to cover up the faulty parts of your favored shot.

  1. Always Have a Recording of Ambient Sound on Location

Take at least 30 minutes worth of ambient sound while on location. Every location will have a different sound so it will be helpful.

  1. NEVER Rely on the Onboard Microphone

Using this will make your videos amateurish and will give you more headaches. Always invest in a good microphone instead.

  1. Hire a Reliable Boom Operator

The boom operator has to know how to best operate the boom during shoots. This includes not moving their hands along the boom pole during shoots as this will conduct sound to the pole and be captured.

Prioritizing the quality of sound you get is crucial if you want to deliver a fantastic quality film. Imperfect camera work is forgivable from the audience’s perspective but no one will want to watch your film if you have awful sound quality.