Now hear this! Top tips for creating visual content

We’ve created a guide to help you keep your cool while navigating the minefield of technical jargon and potential pitfalls that go along with creating top-quality visual content. We’ve already looked at lighting and camera issues, now we’re talking sound.


High quality audio is a must! Humans can cope with blurry vision, shadows and grainy film stock, but we cannot abide bad audio – it hurts our brains.

Never, ever…

…be tempted to use the camera’s in-built microphone – even for renegade filming on the run – it will rarely be clear enough for your finished product. Plug-in microphones are relatively cheap, so shop around a little and invest in great-sounding audio.

Safe and sound

Microphones seem like such a faff, but we’ve all switched off TV shows and films when the dialogue is muddy or too low. If yours is a high-end video, the kit you’re using should include industry-standard microphones or heavy duty field recorders like a Tascam or Zoom. If you’re not confident or can’t afford the outlay to purchase a top-spec piece of gear, you can always hire one.

Smarty pants

At the very least bring your own RODE smartLav microphone, or similar, for smartphone – it will allow you to mic-up a subject on the move, recording a higher-quality track to a phone in their jeans pocket or bike shorts. At less than £40, affordable enough to buy and try yourself.

Quiet please

Find somewhere quiet to film. If you will be filming on the high street or at the head office, make sure you do a reconn before filming day. Check out the noise situation. If there are building works, jackhammers, an airstrip nearby, or other noisy activity, it is likely to be picked up in your filming – you might want to reconsider the location. If you are filming the CEO in her office and it happens to be next to the tea room, consider treating the team to a free cuppa out of office at the time of filming. Put up ‘Filming in progress’ signs and don’t be afraid to ask people to keep noise to a minimum.

Next time: Action
Previously: Lights, Camera

Author: bethkeehn

Writer, editor, photographer and drummer. Loves working with talented teams, like the nice people at Speak Media.

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