Pick up Natural Ambient Noises from the Environment

This week Brandon discusses the audio technique "capturing Ambient Noise". He describes how to do it and why it can improve your video's overall sense of depth and appeal.

Video Transcript


Have you ever found yourself in a situation where the subject of your video, it really looks great, but it just feels like it’s missing something? A very important and often overlooked feature of a good video is its sound and, of course, sound quality.

Today we’re gonna be talking about a thing called ambient noise, picking up the natural and unnatural noises in your environment, and how that can really make your video sound a lot better and give a sense of realism and depth that you probably wouldn’t have if you were to just grab different sound effects from an online archive or simply lay a music track over the top of what your video is.

Ambient noise is crucial in determining your video’s tone that it will have, the theme, and the overall effect that it really has on your audience. For example, you wouldn’t have a shot of a river or a stream with the sounds of traffic on a street. Whatever the subject of your video is, capturing the environment’s ambient noise will really sell the effect to your audience.

One way to capture ambient noise is to turn on your camera and simply record and capture all the different sounds that surround you in the environment. If you have an external mic handy such as a shotgun mic, then this will allow you to isolate the sounds that you want to pick up and really enhance the ambience that you’re going for in your scene.

Let’s say you want to pick up the sound of the stream flowing. Just get close with your shotgun mic, and you should be able to do the job successfully. If you don’t have an external microphone handy, you can use your camera’s mic, not always recommended, but it will do the job.

What you want to do is take two clips of each scene, one for video and a second for audio. Again, get as close as you can to your subject to pick up the proper amount of sound. In post-production, you can boost the quality of your sound after it’s been recorded to really tweak it a little and enhance it to get exactly the effect that you want.

So I invite you to go ahead and experiment with this technique of capturing ambient noise and see how really, really good quality sound can improve your video drastically. I’m having a great time on the side of this cliff here, but I think I’m gonna go back to the office. For Videomaker Presents, I’m Brandon Pinard, and that’s this week’s Tips & Tricks.

For more information about ambient noise, visit videomaker.com and reference Article #8109, “Sound Advice: Sounding it Outdoors.” Also, reference Article #9295, “Sound Advice: Outdoor Audio.”

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