Top FIVE Vlogging Audio Mistakes (And How To Fix Them)

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Some things are unforgivable! Your audience will forgive a few seconds of blurry footage, a bit of overexposure, but kill their audio and they’ll switch to another channel.

Joby sent us their new line of Wavo pickups (POD, AIRand PRO) and we’ll use them to demonstrate our top five vlogging audio mistakes to avoid and how to fix them.

Using the in-camera microphone

You probably know this, but using the in-camera mic will sound the worst ever. Any microphone will give you better sound than the in-camera mic. Simply because they are closer to your mouth. OR, if they’re not – as with some shotgun microphones, they “know” how to pick up the right sound. (they know by the model, but more on that later).

Talk outside the model

Each microphone has its own model. “Pattern” is a fancy name for where to put your mouth so you have the best sound. A common mistake is speaking into the wrong part of the microphone. The pattern for a podcast microphone, for example, is not on top, nor above the mic, it’s on the front.

Use only a shotgun microphone for an interview

You know how to use a shotgun microphone to get someone’s voice, but then you have to ask them a question and no one hears it? It’s because you’re behind the microphone, so it doesn’t pick you up. Hook your shotgun to another mic that will pick up your voice. Here we are using the microphone port of the Wavo PRO to attach a second micro lav (we borrowed this one from the AIR kit) to capture talent. So the shotgun goes in the right channel and the lav goes in the left channel.

Using a shotgun in the wrong place

About shotguns, it’s not a magic bullet. If you’re using a shotgun where you have horrible rebound it won’t sound good, consider wiggling a bit or using a lav to get a better sound. Take this photo in the toilet for example. the rebound is so horrible and the mic picks up all the echo. Shooting with a different mic, or with a lav closer to the mouth, would have produced a better sound.

Clipping on the microphone

Clipping happens when you are louder than the microphone can pick up. You can see there an overexposure for the audio. It is very common to check the levels on your camera to avoid clipping. But beware, even if the camera audio levels seem fine, you may end up muting the microphone and then simply lowering the volume of the already muted audio. It would give you a low volume sound, which sounds awful.

Of course, the flip side goes too far in the other direction. Send very low audio to the camera and trust the camera preamps to boost the volume. This method will result in a lot of white noise.

The best way to make sure your levels are correct is to use headphones and listen that you are not distorted. On most microphones (and certainly the Joby PRO) you can control the output with a button and an app. the first step is therefore to verify using the application that you are not cutting. Then on the camera side see that the levels are around -6 to make sure you have some wiggle room.

If your microphone also has a safety channel, be sure to enable it. On the Joby app, you can select how to use your two channels. One option is to use the left channel as a safety channel at -2o DB to ensure it doesn’t clip even if the “normal” channel gets hot.

Conclusion

Audio is an entire aspect of creating a video and is just as important as the visuals. And yes, the pitfalls are many, I hope you can avoid at least the five ws listed above.

Here are the microphones we used in this video, check them out. You can also read more about these microphones directly on the Joby website.

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