Instructables

Recording audio for videos and animations: A Few Quick tips and tricks

Picture of Recording audio for videos and animations: A Few Quick tips and tricks
If you're an aspiring artist, or just a kid that likes to occasionally make animations for youtube , you might have a couple of issues with recording the audio.

No matter how visually good a video or animation might be, if the people watching it can't understand what it says, your message might not get through to them. A good video requires a balance between audio and visuals.

A lot of things can get in the way of good audio for a video, wind, bad acoustics, low quality recording tools, and your own voice. But dont worry, I'm gonna show you a few tips and tricks on recording some good audio for little to no cost.

These tips just might help improve the overall quality of your videos and teach you a thing or two about producing.

This is by no means professional advice, just some advice from a kid who likes to make videos and reads from the internet a lot.
 
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Step 1: Choosing a room

If you're gonna record audio for an animation, the first thing you'll need is a recording room. Although a specialized room would be ideal, with a few tweaks, any regular room can become a quick recording room.

First thing you wanna do is look for a quiet and tranquil room to work in. Family members can create a lot of noise so if you feel they are interfering with your work, try closing some doors and windows and ask them politely to keep it down. Its a good idea to have things set up, and record when there's no one around.

When choosing a room its best to look for:

  • Four walls
  • Medium sized. A bedroom or small garage is good. Something bigger than a simple bathroom.
  • A carpeted floor would be ideal, since it would absorb most of the sound. Concrete or tiles floors can also work, depending on the type.
  • Wood doors

Things to avoid:

  • Try to avoid hardwood floors, as they will reflect sounds too much.
  • Glass windows can also mess with acoustics. If you have glass windows with fabric curtains, closing them might help the acoustics. (Plastic curtains might also help, but they still reflect sound to an extent.
  • If you have a closet, the doors might also affect the acoustics if they occupy a large part of the room, but most of them don't have a significant effect. Some metal doors can reflect sound too much.
noingwhat2 years ago
Just wondering, is there any advantage to using XLR, or 1/4" over the more common 3.5mm? I know the better mics usually use XLR, but is that just because professional interfaces usually use it to, or is there a benefit of some sort?
noingwhat2 years ago
There are actually a lot of tutorials on here where people have made a windscreen which would be far superior to a pop filter for something like wind noise. Here is a great 'ible which I have yet to attempt, but seems that it would be very effective: http://www.instructables.com/id/Microphone-Blimp/
stevie14 years ago
for the mic part, my band just took apart a rockband mic and used the little box containing the circuit board and installed a 1/4" jack and we use a mixer and some behringer xm8500 mics for recording.
mics: http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com/product/Behringer-XM8500-Microphone?sku=270490
mixer: http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com/product/Behringer-EURORACK-UB1202-Mixer?sku=631236
rockband mic thing: http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-POD-GX-studio/ with my i'ble just plug the headphone plug from the mixer into the POD instead of a guitar.
Hi, thanks great for showing me such an inspiring tip. Beside using the above way to record audio for animations and videos, we can also plugin a microphone onto computer USB and then pick up a streaming audio recorder to record audio. All you need to prepare is a mic, a computer. That's all.

If you choose to record audio in this way, it is not dear and it should be under your budget.  
wozlaser4 years ago
You just need the correct cable to use your industry-standard microphone, with it's XLR connector, with your computer. And it's not expensive, about as much as any other cable you'd have to use :)

The problem is noise. If you want it clean, use a cheap mixer, one with only a couple channels. It could cost as much or less than your microphone. If it has phantom power, get a cheap condenser mic. Any condenser mic, even under $100, will have more clarity, detail, and sensitivity, than whatever dynamic mic you are considering.

You can avoid all the computer noise using the mixer and hooking it to your AUX input on the computer instead of the mic input, or turning the mic input way down. Send it to the computer loud and the computer isn't amplifying all the electrical interference noise you can't hear in it's box. these two things are cheap so don't be afraid! This plus a little practice (especially if you play with software that has EQ and Compression) could make a recording ready for shelves I kid you not.

cables:
http://www.google.com/products?hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=nsf&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&q=xlr%20to%201%2F8%22&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wf

mixer:
http://www.google.com/products?q=4+channel+mixer&hl=en&aq=f

wozlaser4 years ago
A good generic guideline is to absorb in all the corners and edges and diffuse your walls. Thicker foam is necessary for lower frequencies, so if you cheap out and get the thinnest rather than thickest hospital mattresses for example (great source) your room will be boomy. You can use a room like that if for vocals if all the bass is eq'd out, but don't be that lazy. Just go thick in the corners, even if you have to cram them with pillowcases full of clothes or Styrofoam peanuts, and break up all your flat surfaces. A treated room sounds kinda like a clothing store anyhow, it should if you think about it.

You know it's working if you clap in a bathroom or kitchen and then walk into your treated room. Your claps will sound smaller, closer to you, and more singular.

Poster board can make great diffusers if it's bent into arches, the shape makes it strong, like a speaker cone. see: http://www.instructables.com/id/Sound-defusingdampening-wall-with-posterboard/
rix_1014 years ago
acctually, the output of windows sound recorder is .wma, .wmv is a movie clip. Just sayin ^-^
terrypeck5 years ago
One thing I use with my commentaries is using a white board to write down my script. That way if you are worried about paper making a sound and also it saves on paper, better on the environment. Also you can erase the old script and write a new one. Always remember ,though, not to use a permanent marker as I accidently did one day. OOOPS!
Keith-Kid (author)  terrypeck4 years ago
Haha, nice! (except for the permanent marker!)
The Jamalam5 years ago
Great instructable, I am sure to find this really useful in my upcoming animations! Faved, Fived, Subscribed!
Keith-Kid (author)  The Jamalam5 years ago
Thanks! Glad you like it!
caitlinsdad5 years ago
XLR is really only the designation for the type of connector or jack for the microphone. You can try to explain the difference between an ordinary mic for computers and a microphone that is to be plugged into an amplifier or PA system. You should explain microphone pickup patterns, Hi-Z, Low-Z, impedance, shock-mounting, direct-input box/transformer and line level inputs for recording. Nothing really too technical but to understand that those are factors in choosing the mic. Other than that, it would be nice to hear some of your samples and maybe the tricks you used to clean up the noise or how you turned a lousy recording into a good one. And maybe pics of your setup instead of stock photos. Good job.
cdad is right about XLR only being a connection type, I just mean higher quality mics will use this type of connection. Also, as he says, explaining pickup patterns and going through different audio filters to clean up different types of noise is a great suggestion. One last thing I can think of re-reading this is talking about the application specific designs, which along with pickup patterns is explained quite well on wikipedia.
lemonie5 years ago
I thought you had a camera? Go on, take some photos of your stuff...

L
Keith-Kid (author)  lemonie5 years ago
It;s just that I don't have any pictures of anything here. I don't have a microphone myself, I just borrowed one. I dont have hardwood flooring or glass windows! And no outdoors either. And I'm sure as heck not putting a picture of myself here. The only thing I DO have pictures of is the Pop Shield, which I am going to post soon.
Sorry, I read that you liked making videos and got the wrong idea. What did they do with the outdoors, has it been put into storage, repair, sold or something?! L
Keith-Kid (author)  lemonie5 years ago
Making vids is a hobby, but it's just that, it's not something I invest in. I read a lot about video editing and such, but its not my calling.....

As for the outdoors, I wanted a pic showing a bit open space, that would look windy, but I dont have anything like that in my area....
Looks like the UK to me, Lakes possibly?
Yes the robot will tell you it's great, except for lacking pictures...
(should really post something you actually did)

L
Keith-Kid (author)  lemonie5 years ago
......I guess you're right, but they're still good tips!
Keith-Kid (author)  Keith-Kid5 years ago
*big, not bit.
Keith-Kid (author)  lemonie5 years ago
Also, admin told me to add pictures, I can't post it without pics.....
rimar20005 years ago
Very good work. I can add the following: packing cartons for eggs are very efficient to reduce the reverb, but it is necessary to put them plaster, concrete or other heavy material behind before acceding them to the wall. They can be filled only halfway, so that they are not so heavy and to spend less material. In doing so, you should eliminate the remaining unfilled carton surface.
NachoMahma5 years ago
. Great job! . I really like c'dad's suggestions. You really don't need to go into a lot of detail, just make ppl aware that those things can be important when choosing a mic. . Nacho's Rule #28403: In any audio system, the transducers (eg, mics, speakers, tape heads, phono cartridges) will make the most difference in sound quality.
DJ Radio5 years ago
I like it.
yokozuna5 years ago
fantastic job sir! good pictures, well-written.
Keith-Kid (author)  yokozuna5 years ago

:D!

by the way, I can't take credit for the smiling during reading bit, a guy I work with told me that once, and he's completely right. It's almost like you can hear whether the person is smiling or not, and it's more appropriate for most audio to sound happy.
bumpus yokozuna5 years ago
Indeed, I completely agree.