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 A good video's (or podcast's) basis is a good story. Good audio, combined with creative cinematography (link to podcast), and lighting (link to podcast) can make or break it becoming a great video.

In this section we will look at tips for good audio. Most of these audio video tips also apply to podcasts.

A. Preproduction Audio - Planning Ahead (choosing the right mic, camera settings, etc.)

B. Production Audio - Shooting techniques to improve your audio

C. Post Production Audio - importing and manipulating audio in the computer

D. Publishing Audio - implications when sending audio out

E. Misc Audio Resources - other links

Return to Project LIVE Resources


A. Preproduction - planning ahead (choosing the right mic, settings,etc.) 

Basic tips

  1. Make sure camcorder audio is set to 16bit (default is 12). Make sure the clock on the camcorder is set.
  2. Use a headphone to listen to what is actually being recorded. Try this before going out on a shoot.
  3. Use an external mic with that mic placed close to the sound - the sound will always be better. (It is possible to use the internal mic with limited success if you are very close to the speaker (~3') or just trying to capture ambient background sound.)
  4. For iMovie, make sure to use a mono to stereo adaptor (photo) if you are use mono mics, such as the sony wireless (photo of mic and photo of plug showing single and dual bands). Your camera is expecting a stereo signal - this adaptor allows your mono mic to be heard on both left and right channels.
  5. Use the right mic for the situation
  6. Practice using your equipment before going out on a "shoot"

Microphone Types (cardiod, omni, pattern, etc., mono (picture of stripes), phantom, etc.)
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EUSD Mics for Checkout 
Each Project LIVE teacher has a camcorder with mic input and a headphone jack, as well as wireless mics and a headphone. In addition, the follow equipment can be checked out

  • (2) boom mic kits (F011538 & ??) - w/ mic (Audio Technica AT897 pattern: line & gradient), boom pole, shockmount, XLR adaptor and cable, wind protector
  • (5?) Sony Shotgun mics (unidirectional)
  • (10) Logitech usb mics - great for voiceover
  • (1) Blue Snowball usb mic - switch for 2 patterns: unidirectional or omnidirectional, stand (#T11200)
  • (1) Good Quality Podcast Kit (T11132) - this kit includes a number of pieces for recording podcasts, part of which includes
    • 1 Sony ECM-MS907 1/8" stereo mic with wind screen
    • Sennheiser headphones
  • (1) High Quality Podcast Kit (#F012567) - this kit includes a number of pieces for recording podcasts, part of which includes
    • 1 Shure SM63 (omnidirectional) mic w/XLR connector and cable
    • wind screen, mic holder
    • Sennheiser HD 280 Pro headphones
  • (1) MXL Recording Kit
    • MXL mono mic (pattern: cardiod, phantom power)
    • XLR cable w/ iBooster AC power, adaptor to 1/8", tabletop stand
  • additional camcorders (w/o mic and headphone input) - but useful for B roll and ambient audio


  1. Microphones for Video - a basic explanation of mic options
  2. Advice on Basic Audio - basic preproduction, production, and postproduction advive
  3. Basic Mic and Lighting Options (PDF)
  4. Videography for Educators (ALI): Effective Audio (great summary of recommendations for effective audio)
  5. Jargon: Basic Audio Terms (from PBS - You Be The Producer)
  6. Using up the Sony WCS-999 (QT movie)
  7.— good information about microphones, interview techniques, etc. Worth a look.
  8. How to Use Microphones - nice little tutorial on choosing, positioning, stands, booms, maintenance, etc
  9. Looking for better headphones to shoot and edit with? Try here.

Choosing the right Mic 
---- in progress, we'll discuss -----

Return to Project LIVE Resources

B. Production - Shooting techniques to improve your audio
While shooting there are some basic techniques you can use to impove your audio...

  1. Look at previous section for correct mic choices. Test your equipment before shooting.
  2. In general, have mic as close to the talent as possible (except for distorting) without being in the shot.
  3. If using a wireless mic, be aware of things that might rub up against the mic. Not good for shots where talent is moving.
  4. Use a headphone to monitor your audio.
  5. Boom mic location options - 1) top, 2) side, 3) facing up (link to diagram)

Return to Project LIVE Resources

C. Post Production - importing and manipulating audio in the computer
After the footage is in the camera, you can adjust the audio levels so that the sound is more smooth (level). You can also add external sounds (sound effect or music).

  1. On the computer that you will be editing with, set a system volume level that you can aim for and keep it there (attachment w/ screen shots)


  1. Converting sound files for use in digital video (PDF) —it's more than just grabbing it from iTunes
  2. GarageBand 3 Sound Effects & Stingers - a screenshot list w/ categories and time
  3. FreePlay Music - We have a district license to use this music in most projects, including projects for entry in contests. Bring your external HD to the district library and copy these >7GB of instrumental songs onto it.

A little view of FreePlay Music - each folder contains many songs of a variety of lengths. There are 3 volumes so far, Vol. 1 (red), Vol. 2 (orange), and Vol. 3 (green).

Return to Project LIVE Resources

D. Publishing - things to consider before sharing your work 
---- in progress -----


  1. Video Release Form (English and Spanish) PDF - if you are publishing just an audio track, you still want to get permission. Use this or something like it.
  2. Answers to copyright questions, especially as it applies to audio.

Return to Project LIVE Resources

E. Misc Audio Resources

  1. QuickTime Pro Tutorials— Get the most out of QT Pro.
  2. Want ideas for video/audio equipment? Type "Maggi" in the last name box (under Public Wishlist) for some things we've done some research on. No guarantees, but it's a place to start.

F. Sounds - sound effects, music, speeches (read and follow copyright)

  1. Find Sounds — Search for whatever sound you need
  2. The Freesound Project - great database of high quality, copyright friendly sounds - description w/ screenshots
  3. Free Sound Effects—Videomaker magazine's list of links for free sound (and other) resources.
  4. History Channel Speech Archive
  5. FreePlay - downloadable sound clips - copyright friendly (can be used for iVIE; check for other contests, as we have a district license)
  6. Garage Band Resources - make your own music or find sound effects (copyright friendly)
  7. Partners in Rhyme—Free sound effects, loop's, etc.
  8. F7 Sound and Vision—Free sounds
  9. EUSD Public Domain Page—Resources we've found that are public domain or free. Let us know if you have more.