Recording location audio and dialogue

Sound is just as integral to the success of a film as the use of visuals.

You should pay special attention to how you record, edit and use all of your audio elements.

Here are some tips when recording sound on location:

Illustration of productions skills for sound on location

Use an external microphone

If you are recording dialogue, try and get the microphone as close to the actors as possible.

Most cameras come with built-in mics but you are better off using an external microphone to record clearer audio.

If your camera has a microphone socket, this will look like the standard headphone port on a smartphone.

You may also need to use a boom - a long pole which you can attach the microphone to.

Once it is on a boom the microphone can be placed close to your actors, but remain out of shot, when they are speaking.

Minimise background noise

To record clean audio you should always minimise the amount of unnecessary noise on set.

If, for example, you are trying to record dialogue, it's best not to record next to a busy main road or near an airport or train station - unless those locations are crucial to the scene.

If you are shooting indoors you may need to turn off other electrical equipment like fans, air-conditioning units or even fluorescent lights which all produce more noise than you'd think.

Always wear headphones

If you are recording audio you should always use a decent set of headphones.

Cheaper ear-bud style headphones are generally not good enough for monitoring recordings. Try to use a closed-cup set instead.

You must also take care to keep the listening volume at safe levels.