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How to Record Great Audio In Any Environment

A great video needs great audio.

record great audio hero

An important part of creating good video is good audio.

Not everyone will be fortunate enough to have a sound booth or an environment that is ideal for recording audio in, but you don’t have to let it ruin your videos.

Let’s take a look at what you can do to make sure you can record good audio for your videos. 

Identify any problems

I actually like to start looking around the office to see what problems we can identify first. So how much echo is there in your room? Sometimes I like to clap and listen to see where the echo comes from. 

See, rooms are dynamic and some parts of your room might be better for recording audio than others. But just because there’s some echo in a room doesn’t mean you should find a different room. It might still work. 

Get rid of your echo

If you’re dealing with echo there are some things you can do to improve the quality.

First, you want to try to eliminate all the hard surfaces. The sound that you make will actually bounce off those surfaces and go into your microphone. 

Books are a great option to help dampen the echo in your office. Not only do they cover hard surfaces but they also absorb some of the extra sounds. 

If you want, you can always do something more like add curtains or blankets to the walls. If you want something a little bit more professional you can add acoustic materials like a sound dampening panel or acoustic foam. 

If you want a really cheap, yet effective tip, you can always put it over your head. 

I know the blanket-over-the-head sounds kind of ridiculous, but if you’re in a pinch it creates a nice barrier of a soft surface that doesn’t allow sound to bounce around the room as much. 

Sound hits the blanket and just gets absorbed. It will certainly look weird, but It works great if you’re in a hotel room trying to get good audio for a project that’s due.

Choose the right microphone

The truth is that the quality of your audio files is greatly determined by the type of microphone you use. One of the best tips for recording high-quality audio is to choose the proper microphone. 

Most people can make the mistake of simply relying on the built-in microphone on their computer. Even if you use a headphone microphone, it will be much better quality, but I suggest you invest a little money in a good external microphone. 

Here are a few microphone options:

  • Desktop microphone 
  • Lapel microphone
  • Shotgun microphone

We also made a list on Amazon.com* so you can check out the specs on each microphone and see what other users have to say about them. 

*We do not benefit in any way from you purchasing any of these items.
🎙 If you want more information on which microphone to get, we tested 18 different microphones from brands like Blue, Rode, Shure, Sennheiser, and Audio Technica to see which are the best microphones for recording video.

Look for random noises

The next thing we need to consider in any room is the source of noises. For instance, look around your office space and try to identify anything that’s making noise. 

There are plenty of things in a room that generate noise. 

Here are some common office noise-makers to be aware of:

  • Fluorescent lights 
  • Computer fans
  • Projectors
  • Heating and air conditioning units

There’s not a lot you can do for lights and fans other than to turn them off, and really most people can’t control the thermostat. However, If you could you can control your thermostat, either set it so the HVAC won’t run or set it so it’s continuously running. 

Noises are easier to remove when there’s consistent sound. 

The other source of noise is exterior noises. 

This could be things like:

  • Street traffic
  • Weather
  • A noisy kitchen/office space
  • Coworkers 

You’ll either need to block them out or just find a way to get them to stop.

Before you record in any environment, it’s a good idea to go and listen to what it sounds like during the time you want to record. There’s a good chance the room will sound different at first thing in the morning, then it will when everyone has left for the day. 

audio file example

Take a sample recording

Here’s one last tip.

If you can hear it, there’s a good chance your microphone will pick it up, too. 

I recommend taking a sample recording with your microphone you’re going to use and then go ahead and listen to that recording. 

Did it hear anything that you couldn’t hear? 

Once you’ve done what you can to eliminate the noises and before you start recording, I recommend you capture about 30 seconds of what the room is going to sound like when it’s quiet. 

You can use this audio when you’re editing and apply a noise removal effect to it. It won’t get rid of all the big problems or sudden noises, like sneezes, but it can help make your audio sound a bit better.

How to remove background noise from your recording

If for some reason you can’t limit all the outside noise while recording your video, you can still remove the noise while editing your video. You can export your audio tracks to clean them up in a tool like Audacity, but you may end up needing to and re-sync your audio and video again.

The most efficient way to remove noise, especially if you’ve already cut up your clips in the timeline, is to edit your audio and video all in one tool.

Camtasia has a built-in noise removal feature that makes it very easy to reduce the background noise from your recording. 

All you need to do is:

  1. Click Properties in Camtasia.
  2. Then, choose Analyze to automate the noise removal process (Windows only).

You can also manually adjust the Sensitivity to get your desired effect.

By removing noise on the timeline you save the trouble of importing and exporting back and forth from an external program, and it’s much easier to make quick changes.

Want to learn more about recording audio for video?

Visit the TechSmith Academy for free access to several courses about audio, along with other learning materials and downloadable resources that will help you improve your video creation skills!

Justin Simon

Web Content Strategist at TechSmith (Content + SEO). I play a lot of golf and watch a lot of football.

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