Clear sound: best practice tips

Here is a quick guide to the key best practice tips to deliver really clear and audible sound for our audiences.


  1. Think about sound in advance, before you shoot a frame. Is your location the right choice? What sound problems might there be?
  2. Use a sound recordist if possible. If you are self-shooting, make sure you have got proper sound training.
  3. Choose the right mics for the situation. Is a boom right? Separate mics and tracks give you the greatest flexibility. Does it really matter if lapel mics are in shot?
  4. Framing. A rich mix of international, national and regional accents on our channels is important. Seeing people in vision makes it easier to understand.
  5. Be aware of background noise.
  6. Coach presenters or performers to keep dialogue clear and to recap salient points where necessary.
  7. Avoid music with lyrics under speech, and music with a heavy percussive beat.
  8. Take the music down. Our research showed that bringing music down slightly in the mix allowed people across the demographic to hear dialogue, including those with certain hearing loss. Once you're happy with your mix, try taking the music down 4dB (one point on the PPM) and see if this impacts on your creative vision. The chances are it won't!
  9. Check the final mix on a domestic TV set. It might sound very different from listening on the top quality speakers found in most dubbing theatres.


For more detailed advice, watch the videos that make up the BBC 's best practice guide.

It is practical advice, based directly on what viewers are telling us, from some of the best in our business.

Plan for clear sound: Scott Talbott on planning ahead

Record clear sound: For factual | For drama | In the studio | Self shooting

Post produce for clear sound: Making the most of post | When the audience complains