University of Bath

Simple ways to improve your audio and video content

How to make sure your audio and video content is as competitive and consistent as possible.

How to improve your video

Use the right equipment

It is important, before you start your recording project, to make sure you have the right equipment.

You can borrow audio and video (AV) recording equipment from Computing Services or use the University’s facilities to record professional AV. Email a.v.bookings@bath.ac.uk to make an enquiry.

Computing Services also offers advice on the most appropriate recording equipment to use for your project.

Use the right techniques

When filming, try to make sure:

  • you hold your recording device as steady as possible, ideally on a tripod or secure flat surface
  • you frame the subject appropriately - see our image guidance for advice about framing techniques
  • your subject is in focus and well-lit, taking advantage of any natural light available
  • you use the right equipment to capture movement, panning or rotation

Prepare voice-over scripts

If you're using voice-over, make sure the scripts have been well-rehearsed and you record them with the correct intonation so they are easy to understand.

Select the right footage

You should choose footage that clearly illustrates what you want to convey about different aspects of the University. You should also eliminate any background distractions to make the message as clear as possible.

Edit your footage

You can edit your video footage in various applications, including Avid, Final Cut Pro and iMovie which can be downloaded online. When editing your footage, try to make sure:

  • most edits are simple 'jump' cuts - only use crossfades or transitions for a reason, for example, to show the passage of time
  • your video transitions and crossfades are uniform and consistent in length across the entire sequence
  • your video clips are of a similar colour grade to ensure continuity across the sequence
  • your video and audio remain in sync throughout the sequence
  • your video is as short as possible while delivering all the key information
  • all footage containing movement has been stabilised with the appropriate plugins

Save your video in the right format

You should save your video in the highest resolution possible and then convert it to different formats for different uses. For example, you can convert it to .mp4 for hosting online.

Read more about the correct specifications for producing audio and video content.

How to improve your audio

You can edit your audio using various software applications, including Cubase, Logic, Audacity and Pro Tools.

Simply import your audio file into the application and begin editing.

There are a number of ways to improve the quality and impact of your audio.

Choose the right microphone

You should use the right microphone (mic) for the type of recording you're doing.

Plugin external mics will be higher quality than internal mics. Use a stereo mic for ambience and wild track. Lapel mics are ideal for interviews and links in quiet rooms.

A gun or rifle mic is suitable for recording speech or sounds, avoiding ambient noise. Use wind covers when recording outside and always monitor your recording or check the quality before you start.

High pass filter

You should apply a high pass filter (HPF) to all audio above 40 hertz (hz). Audio information below this frequency consumes considerable bandwidth and cannot be heard through most consumer applications.

Compression

You should apply a compressor or limiter to smooth out audio signals and make sure transients peak at 0 decibels (db). Aim to use a gentle compressor setting of between 2:1 and 4:1 with an attack time of 3ms and a release of 10ms. Try to avoid over compressing or limiting as this can sound unnatural.

Sibilance and popping

Make sure recorded speech is easy to understand and there isn't too much sibilance (hissing sounds during speech) and popping (created when people speak too close to the mic).

De-essing

Sibilance can be distracting, so you should de-ess your audio if necessary.

Frequency sweeping

You can uncover any problem frequencies in a recording by frequency sweeping. Adding a large amount of gain to a small frequency range and sweeping slowly up and down the EQ spectrum will uncover any problem frequencies. When you have detected these you can reduce them through equalisation.

Equalisation

You can apply an EQ shelf to make sure there is enough high-frequency information. This will help people hear the audio through small speakers including laptops and phones.