How to Make the Most of Your Audio Mistakes


Don't throw out the 'rubbish'

artsmith's picture

The article contains some very good advice. I have one thing to add. We mostly have come to accept that the audio recorded by the internal microphones of most camcorders is fit only to be scrapped. I generally use an external mic. a small 'Sennheiser', but it has the disadvantage that having a narrow field of acceptance, it frequently pulls in sounds from behind my subject material and in line with it. Sometimes that is a bigger disadvantage than learning to live with the audio recorded by my camcorder's internal mic.

Under those circumstances, I uncouple the external mic and take my chances with the Omni-directional in-built mic. What it records is a 'pilot' for what I must do later. It contains all of the original noises. They may not be usable, but they are a record of the sounds which occurred at the location at-the-time and a useful reference for what ought, ideally, be used to replace them. So, when my material goes into the video editor's timeline it is included for exactly that reason. When the time comes to dub-in (hopefully) matching audio from other sources, or times, the visible wave-forms are an excellent guide as to 'matching'. Either track may be muted while reviewing the other and that makes dubbing in substitute material a great deal easier.

My best shooting location has been chosen because it is 'local' and I am able to drive there in ten minutes to obtain substitute audio for video should it be needed. But it is also 'urban' and located in an area where recording clean and undisturbed sound is impossible, due to banging car doors, (there is a beach opposite which is a favourite spot for dog-walking), people hotting up cars, doing building repairs or yapping endlessly and pointlessly on cellular phones. It is a favourite spot for fly-overs by aero-club aircraft on fine days, and in a flight path of our local 'Rescue Helicopter'; I think you get the picture. However, it is also a notable wild-life filming hot-spot.

Apart from recording sound alone at unsociable hours, nothing much can be done. Even at 5am on a fine morning, dog-walkers are out in force, and there is much of the usual 'noise'; it is just that it is taking place earlier in the day. I often wonder what the public reaction would be if it was the public at large which was being affected that way, rather than me; especially in view of the fact that the replacement of each ruined audio-take calls for an average of half-an-hour of rectification time, and in the end, may prove impossible to patch-up, in any case.