Audio tips for Filmmakers

Great visuals with crappy sound screams -- “I am an amateur!” audio22.jpg

Wise words from Vashi Nedomansky demonstrate the importance of good audio when it comes to film making. Let us help you make sure your films are the best they can be!

Make sure you have the right equipment. 

Remember, just because you have an amazing camera, it doesn’t mean the audio is up to scratch. Your DSLR camera, as good as it is, will not have the best audio for your film. For professional quality, always use an external device to get the best results. The best options are often a shotgun mic, or a lapel mic. 

‘Conversely, lots of blurry, handheld, whip-panned footage with pristine dialog and a full soundscape can be completely acceptable. It will be perceived as the Director’s “artistic choice” even though shots are out of focus and flaying around. The audio is the glue that holds it together and sells it as a professional production. Embrace the Audio.’

Don’t miss the atmos

Always remember to record some room tone/ atmos so that the audio editor has scene-specific background noise to work with is they need to patch over any sound issues in their post-production. Especially when recording your subjects on lapel mics, record 30 seconds of atmosphere on a shotgun mic, as this can be looped simply in post. 

Be aware of your levels

Remember that any problems you have recording while on-set need to be fixed in post production, which means that if you have to raise the gain in post in order to hear the actors, you’re also going to increase the background noise. Always set your sound levels with your faders at 12 oclock, that way you can listen to the audio as it is coming it and lower or raise it on that mic line in order to catch the best sound. 


Don’t forget, some of the best audio comes from something completely different than the actual object. For example, did you know that the famous boulder chase scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark, as entertaining and realistic sounding as it is, was actually just the sound editor's Honda Civic rolling down the driveway. If your audio doesn’t sound quite right, ask a foley artist for a good alternative. Check out some of these famous Foley tips… 

audio23.jpgCheck, Check and Check again

Record the same scene a few times and test the sound each time, as it isn’t always as easy as you think to edit the sound in post-production.  Audio is a very important part of any film, and you don’t want that to be the thing to let you down because you didn’t check your audio during recording. 

Copyright and Copy wrong

Don’t be silly. Don’t think you can record a song or use a song that you don’t have permission to use. You may think you will get away with it but it will come back and bite you. If you upload your video to YouTube and you don’t have the rights to use a certain song, YouTube will take your video down without warning. 

Best of luck with your films – we love to see all of the student work so send it over and let us see!

To find out more about studying Film and TV Production here at JMC Academy, click here…

Or alternatively you may be interested in our Audio Engineering and Sound Production course…

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