Shooting and editing tips to save “bad” audio…

This is a continuation of the comments and discussion from Good audio/bad audio.

I’ve shot breaking news where I have no reporter and no time to deal with a mike…so I am literally in people’s faces (think one foot to two feet away) to grab interviews. At the same time I’m getting better audio, I’m making the visuals stronger – the sense of “being there” because the face is so close you see nothing else. In some instances I just give up on visuals (cause I know I have what I want) and just put the camera mike a few inches away from the person’s mouth, with plans to cover the video in the edit. Sometimes a subject doesn’t want to be on camera…but will agree to a voice only interview, so just get the mike up for good sound.

There are ways to transition so the change between the good/bad audio is not as obvious….and this is done in editing. Narration with ambiant sound that is goosed just before the sound recorded off the shotgun or camera mike lessens the distinction…and will work if not overdone. Build in natural sound (natsound) bridges. Narration leading to natsound of firefighters turning on hose…followed by (poor quality) interview. You’ve prepared your audience to listen harder it you introduce sound from the scene. If you shot for sound only (no face), you can cover the interview with visuals that match what the subject is talking about or just general scenes of the story.

This is not for every story…but for those situations when you have no choice and the story merits it. Your audience is not dumb and if they want the information, they will tolerate bad sound and video. This is all part of being honest with your audience. Give them your best every time…and they will stick with you when your best just isn’t technically perfect.

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