Invest in Sound Quality when producing a video, here is why
If you don’t already know the importance of sound quality in videos, keep reading. Sound quality is often overlooked in video production, yet it plays a critical role in the overall viewer experience. In fact, I dare say that sound is even more important than the quality of the image.
Sound quality is often overlooked in video production, yet it plays a critical and underestimated role in the overall viewer experience. While much attention is rightly given to visuals, it is the importance of sound quality that truly elevates a video to another level. In fact, I dare say that sound is even more important than the quality of the image. Why? Because sound has the power to immerse viewers, evoke emotions, and effectively convey the intended message.
When we think of video production, we often envision stunning visuals, captivating cinematography, and seamless editing. These aspects undoubtedly contribute to the overall impact of a video, but without high-quality sound, even the most visually striking footage can fall flat. Sound serves as a guiding force, directing our attention, setting the mood, and enhancing the storytelling aspect of the video.
Imagine watching a breathtaking nature documentary where the visuals transport you to exotic locations, but the accompanying sound is muffled, distorted, or poorly mixed. The immersive experience is compromised, and the viewer’s engagement diminishes. On the other hand, when the sound quality is pristine, with clear narration, vibrant music, and crisp ambient sounds, the viewer is transported into the heart of the narrative, experiencing the sights and sounds in their full splendour.
The Power of Sound: A Case Study
Let’s take the example of the movie “The Blair Witch Project”, which terrified audiences worldwide. While the intentionally shaky and blurry footage may have caused some viewers to lose their lunch, the sound quality was exceptional. The voices were clear, capturing even the faintest rustle of a leaf falling from a tree. The deep exhalations, chilling screams, and a myriad of impactful sound effects, combined with a haunting soundtrack, all came through crystal clear. The sound in this film carried significant weight in the narrative. In fact, if you were to remove the audio, the movie would be virtually unwatchable. Go ahead, give it a try.
This serves as a clear example that audio is not a minor aspect of video production. In most cases, it carries 50% of the storytelling weight. Therefore, it is crucial to give sound the attention it deserves. It is a common mistake for beginners to focus solely on the visuals and neglect the audio. Sound is a powerful tool for storytelling, and disregarding it means squandering a valuable resource.
Tip: I have often detected fake videos by analyzing their audio. If the sound quality is good, you can be confident that it is a well-produced video. Guaranteed.
The Weight of Sound in Storytelling
No reputable audiovisual production company would disregard the importance of sound. We understand that it is a vital component. Through music, the tone is established, and half of the message is conveyed. For example, if we are promoting a sports product, we would most likely choose a song that inspires people to go outside, regardless of the weather.
The music should connect with the energy felt while exercising, exuding epicness, intensity, and emotion. What if the product is a technological gadget? The music should convey innovation and reinforce the sophistication of its consumer.
Sometimes, finding the perfect music is the most challenging part of a project. There have been instances where we have spent more time searching for the right background song than actually recording or editing. Music, being part of the message, sets the tempo and cadence of the story. Often, we seek music with rhythm changes to allow for seamless transitions in our narrative.
Just like when telling any story, rhythm, pauses, and even silence are crucial to maintaining the audience’s attention. That’s why, when selecting a soundtrack for a video, we consider these factors:
- The emotions it should evoke
- The tone of the message
- The intensity and rhythm
- The cadence and changes
The Art of Music Selection: do’s and dont’s
Another rookie mistake is choosing a popular hit as the soundtrack. If you borrow Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” for your video, you are undoubtedly selecting a fantastic song. However, it is highly likely that the song will overshadow your story. By using something recognizable, you place your story in the backseat of your audience’s mind.
To truly make an impact and create a unique experience, it is important to use great songs that no one has heard before. This way, your message will be etched into the hearts and minds of your viewers without distractions or unfavorable comparisons.
Of course, there are exceptions, as creativity often involves breaking the rules, just like the Volkswagen My Renting commercial that used a song from “The Jungle Book” to great effect. But in most cases, it is easier to carve a niche and convey your message if your music is an original soundtrack.
In video marketing, a good song should be able to convey the message without the need for further explanation, similar to how it was done in silent films. So check this extensive list of how to get good music for your videos.
The Influence of Sound on Viewer Experience
When discussing sound quality, we can consider it from two perspectives. First, it’s about choosing the most appropriate music and sounds. Second, it’s about avoiding poor audio quality, which can be detrimental to the viewer’s experience. Nobody, and I mean nobody, can tolerate a video with distorted sound. On the other hand, a video with low image quality is not a mortal sin. Here’s a video that demonstrates this:
Tip: If you’re an influencer producing your own videos, don’t overlook this. 80% of influencer campaign videos fail in this aspect.
One area where we must pay close attention, as it’s easy to overlook, is recording voiceovers correctly. Now that you know the importance of sound quality, avoid large, echoey rooms, and if possible, record near curtains or with some carpeting, as they help prevent a hollow sound. However, regardless of the environment, the key is a good microphone.
Remember: poor sound quality is unforgivable. Think about how frustrating it is to watch a concert video where everything sounds distorted.
The Power of Sound Effects
We now have the music and the voice, but there’s one final piece, equally important. Sound effects create the atmosphere and immerse viewers in the action. Another common rookie mistake is investing solely in a high-end camera and lenses, while neglecting the importance of a good microphone to capture precise sound.
A decent microphone costs just over €100 and can make all the difference between appearing amateurish or professional. Additionally, to enhance the ambiance, it’s common to use audio effect libraries, as it’s not always possible to capture specific sounds during filming. That’s okay; videos are like magic—we can make anything seem real. The key is to ensure that the trick isn’t revealed.
Here is a summary about the importance of sound quality:
- Few aspects of a video can be neglected, but audio should never be one of them.
- Sound, as a narrative resource, helps us convey and reinforce a significant part of the message.
- Selecting a song that serves the story’s purpose is not as simple as choosing something you like; it should help communicate the message by setting the appropriate rhythm and tone.
- We must be demanding when it comes to sound quality: poor audio is unforgivable and will label you as an amateur.
- If your video includes voiceovers, make sure they are recorded flawlessly.
- To emphasize the message and improve storytelling, we must rely on sound effects.
Thank you for taking the time to read it, and we hope you found it interesting,
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