Presentation Tips – Improving Audio Quality

In this short video clip I will be talking about audio recording.  I’m always amazed by the number of videos, especially on sharing sites such as YouTube, that have very poor audio quality.  It’s not difficult to achieve clear sound recordings, and good audio can greatly enhance the quality of your presentation.

1.  Choosing the microphone – my preference is for a headset with a boom microphone.  Using a USB connection cuts out a lot of the background noise that can accumulate going through the sound card in your computer.  I have the microphone angled so I’m not talking directly into it – this ensures that my recording isn’t spoilt by having to listen to my breathing! 

2.  Choosing the location – I have a small study at home, and when the door is shut (a rare occasion!) nobody comes in.  I unplug the phone into the house, and put my mobile phone into another room.  There’s nothing worse than being in full-flow making a recording and some unwanted background noise ruins the sound.  I use Camtasia for my recordings, and it is possible to eliminate noise, but it’s best not to have any in the first place.  I also find that using my headset and microphone means that I’m in my own world, and nothing distracts me from making a good recording.

3.  Being natural.  Having a script is essential to make sure that everything is covered, but when I do my final recording I try to be as natural as possible.  Relying heavily on a script means that the audio is very ‘stilted’, and rarely flows as your speech would do in normal conversation.  Recently I shared a couple of my videos with my good friend Chris Farrell – if you want to hear a master in action then just listen to any audio or video recording produced by Chris!  Anyway, Chris listened to my recording and then gave me some feedback that really struck home.  My recording was good, but nothing of the ‘real me’ came through.  When I talk normally there are lots of inflections in my voice, but when reading through a script I tend to be very ‘flat’.  So ever since I received the feedback I have done away with the script when recording.  At first it’s scary, but when you get into the flow the words just fit wonderfully together in a much more natural way.  If you’re recording yourself on video then doing away with the script has the added benefit of eliminating  ‘eye-flicker’ – the unnatural movement of the eyes from side-to-side as the script is being read through.

So there you have three great tips for improving the quality of your audio recordings.  The beauty of modern digital recording is that you can re-record stuff as often as you like, so don’t worry about making mistakes.

Look out for more great tips coming soon to improve your on-screen presentations.

Keep dreaming those big dreams,

Graham

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