Audio Is Just As Important As Video
The very first feature films that were produced were “silent” films. Think Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. When Chaplin and his “kid” discuss what meager meal they will have for dinner, their audio was a series of short title cards. These cards filled in in silent films for the, typically, minimal dialogue. When projected in a theatre, silent films were often accompanied by a live orchestra. Any synchronization of the picture and the sound was generated live and on the fly.
The first feature film to be released as a talking picture with synchronized sound to picture was The Jazz Singer. Warner Brothers released the film in 1927. It featured the music of the legendary Al Jolson. The film was a major hit and revolutionized the film industry. The Jazz Singer relied on a technology called Vitaphone, which was the leading brand of sound-on-disc audio technology. Talkies quickly became the standard for all motion pictures, leading up to today’s Dolby-enhanced, surround-sound blockbusters.
Since then most all video blends two components: picture and sound. When shooting any video, it is vital to give significant attention and resources to both the audio and visual aspects of your content. If your audience can only see your picture, they’re probably missing most of your messaging. Inexperienced video producers can make the mistake of focusing too much on picture. And when they end up in the edit suite, they realize how big a mistake they have made. With the incredible depth of the images coming out of the latest cameras, competent editors can do a lot to help picture these days, but they cannot fix audio that does not exist.
On a film set full crews include a Sound Engineer who usually has a mixing board to balance audio on the fly. A Boom Operator supports the Sound Engineer. He holds the boom which holds the microphone. The picture shows a mobile Audio Technician who is managing both of those tasks. The Sound Engineer’s job is to “mic up” the talent with lavaliere microphones that are typically hidden from camera. Often they are wireless, so the actor and the audio tech are not attached together by a wire. The boom microphone is a redundant means of recording. Often in post production, the audio engineer will pick one or the other for the best audio input. The boom microphone often includes a wind-screen, which dampens the audio effects of any wind blowing on set. Often wiring up the talent before rolling is the last step in a series of events before the Director yells “Action.”
Audio is also important for SEO purposes. If you post your video to YouTube with poor or missing audio, YouTube (and Google, which owns YouTube) will not be able to “read” your content. YouTube has a limited ability to understand picture without audio. In fact, SEO best practices recommend posting a written transcript of your video to YouTube. There a feature in your YouTube channel which guides you through this step. This will guarantee that YouTube and Google are indexing all of your written / spoken content for search.
When producing any video content, it’s often recommended that you start the creative process with a written script. What will your talent say? Either on screen or in voice over? Writing a script will force you to focus in on your messaging, story flow and keep you on track in terms of how long the final product will be. Typically a page of dialogue equals on minute of screen time. So, feature films run approximately 120 pages in length. And once you deliver the final product, the conformed script may only loosely resemble the original, but taking the step to write that first script is essential to producing a well organized, thoughtful, targeted message.
Producers neglect audio, because of the misconception that the success of any video production depends mostly upon the quality of video. In reality, even if the picture has issues (focus, eye line, exposure, etc.), but the audio is clear, recorded at the correct volume, and free of extraneous noise, then the project can still be a success and yield the desired goals.
Capitola Media will guarantee your audio messaging is recorded correctly.