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I Can Make My Video Myself, Right?

StoryTellers | , , ,

The first reason why going it alone is a bad idea.

As your script gets closer to being complete, you should start thinking about production, which is a big word that refers to all that goes into shooting your video.

At this point, you might be tempted to go it alone. Maybe you have some photography experience. You probably have an iPhone (or a Galaxy—sorry). You’ve probably seen those Facebook Live videos that lots of people do, and a camera phone is all they use. Or even better, maybe you have a nice DSLR or mirror-less camera that shoots great video.

But if you plan on saying anything in your video, you’ll need to put some serious thought into the other half of your video: the audio. In fact, the most important reason why you shouldn’t go this alone is audio quality.

Danny Boyle famously said that audio is 70-80% of a film-going experience. Don’t believe me? Check out this video of two Foley artists recording sound for a short film.

Granted, you may not be making a short film, but the point is that you probably never noticed how much work goes into the sound. That’s actually a good thing. Good audio is one of those things that is meant to be transparent. You never think about it until it’s not right. No one notices how clean the glass is watching the sunset through the living room window. But if the window is dirty, it’s hard to enjoy anything else.

I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but the onboard microphone on that fancy camera of yours is a joke. It might be fine for your vacation footage, but it’s unusable for a professional video. The lack of quality will show through like a dirty window.

If you still want to go it alone, just let me walk you through the equipment you’ll need to provide good, clean, transparent audio. First, you need to decide what kind of microphone you want to use. Some people like lavs, but I’m partial to a good shotgun. Some people use both and then mix the two together in the edit. Either way, you’ll need to capture the signal which means you need a recording device. Some DSLR’s have external mic inputs, but you’ll need the right adapters. You’ll also need some way to adjust the gain coming into the camera. Depending on the type of microphone, you may need phantom power, which your DSLR will most likely not be able to provide. And don’t forget the stand, if you’re using a shotgun. And a windscreen if you’re shooting outdoors. And a good pair of headphones so you can monitor the sound while you’re shooting.

If you didn’t understand half of those words in the paragraph above, you should definitely NOT shoot your video by yourself.

Sound is a big deal especially for web videos. In this iPhone age of ours, people have a lot of grace for mediocre images. But if they can’t hear it, if they can’t understand it, they’ll move on very quickly. You’ve put too much time and effort into crafting your script to fumble the ball now on production.