Picture two roommates sharing an apartment. In the ideal environment they adapt to each other, either by dividing tasks or completing individual chores, ultimately leading to a more functional and manageable life at home. Now apply the same principle to audio and video.
Take both into consideration
In my work, as a multimedia designer and video editor, I’ve noticed that sometimes audio isn’t perceived with the same importance as the visual aspects of a video, especially in the planning and production phases, even though it will definitely impact the published product. As we produce digital learning video courses, taking into consideration that high-quality audio plays a key role on making or breaking a video is especially important, because it will impact the learners’ retention and engagement.
Here’s a farfetched example. Envision one of the roommates vacuuming the living room while the other is eating a sandwich and spreading breadcrumbs on the floor. We can’t have this, can we?
They teach together
Students tend to focus on the content when both mediums perform well together. This means that offering a visually appealing video filled with recorded background noises, unsynchronised speech or any other shenanigans will compromise the necessary engagement for effective learning.
Alone, visual stimulation does not ensure that a student receives the best possible experience and most of them react negatively if both resources are not materialized as a whole. Don’t forget, audio stimulation must enhance the learning assets and provide for a much richer delivery.
Imagine the following scenario. The roommates took a break from their daily tasks and enrolled in the bugle Academy to learn how to create an effective online course. They want to expand their field of knowledge.
If our team didn’t tend to the previously referred issues, their absorption and retention would go down the drain possibly hitting an unwanted scenario where both forfeit the completion of the course. Fortunately, that did not happen because the audio-visual balance allowed them to focus and learn.
Planning for good audio
To achieve a great training outcome requires a generous amount of planning so that every step of the course creation process is executed without any hiccups. In our case, trying to anticipate how the audio must perform has proven a solid practice.
While writing the script and constructing the storyboard, we are already outlining the segments which will be specific for the presenter, possible guests, interviews or animated stories. At first glance this seems to apply mostly to the visual aspect, but it also serves as a foundation for a good workday plan either for a studio, home or office recording.
For example, the audio captured from the presenter in front of a camera is different from a voice over or voice off which is normally captured in an audio booth. That being said, applying the mentioned principle ensures a better time distribution between the spaces, more effective logistics and a better understanding of which materials are needed for each case.
Beginner tips for audio recording
Recording in a studio with better equipment and more control over the sessions is the best option. However, there are some strategies to capture audio in spaces where the conditions may not be perfect:
1. Pick a good space with the least amount of background noise. Then, invest in some foam filters, curtains or another type of material that can create a soft surface in order to reduce the echo in the room.
2. Don’t use your smartphone, tablet or computer’s internal microphone(s), instead consider buying an external one. Even a budget external desktop microphone will make a significant difference in the final audio result.
3. Remember, the microphones can still pick up the most inaudible background noises. Therefore, check your surroundings for any fans spinning, phones ringing or co-workers singing. Anything you notice that can compromise the recording.
4. Monitor your work during the recording session, this means checking if everything is being well captured and according to plan. It’s an additional “defence mechanism” that prevents problems in the editing phase.
5. Having well recorded audio means we don’t need to allocate too much time on editing issues but it’s always good to clean some edges. Programs like Audition, Audacity, Reaper and others, will help you achieve just that.
Capturing the whole picture
You might have noticed that I didn’t end the previous two sections writing about the roommates. That’s because I wanted to expand on an earlier event that spiked their interest in planning and better execution.
Like many early music enthusiasts, they wanted to create some type of song. So, they went to a studio, rented one of the rooms and started to jam. A drummer and a bass player that apart from the instruments, didn’t understand how to capture sound or even function with the recording equipment - at the time, a single multi-track handy recorder. By the end of the session, they removed the memory card from the recorder and went home, eager to listen to their newly developed material.
One of the most soul crushing experiences occurred when they finally heard that recording. A whole three hours of poorly captured drum play eating away all of the bass groves amidst the static. A complete disaster that caused silence within the household for the following three days. Now? They record in the apartment.
This example serves me as a reminder that we can’t take shortcuts when producing content and recording audio. We need to tackle and connect different mediums from the initial approach to the final product. Even if some might look secondary or easier to manage.
Learn more about how to create an effective online course in this free certification course at the bugle Academy, or this eBook, both developed by our Digital Learning Solutions team.
You may also find interesting:
What is instructional design and why you should care about it (article)
How to encourage lifelong learning among your employees (article)
How to make knowledge sharing effective and scalable in your company (article)
How to identify knowledge gaps in your team (article)
Why Thought Leadership matters (article)
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