#1 mistake made with multimedia/video

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Shure FP15/83 Combo Wireless System, H5

Our teaching team for our International Missions Photography Workshop in Lisbon, Portugal started to prioritize the subjects we are teaching and the number one technical mistake we see most often made in multimedia projects has to do with poor sound.

Your audience will tolerate poor quality images more than they will tolerate poor audio in a multimedia presentation.

Before you can teach people how to make better audio for their projects you need to address having a good microphone.

Simple Solution

You need to get the microphone as close as you can to the source for the best recording. Recording with a DSLR or video camera’s built in microphone requires you to be on top of someone to get a good recording of them during an interview.

Clipping an lavalier microphone on their clothing as close to their mouth will give you the best consistent results. Having a wireless system so you don’t have cables all over and having to pack a lot of extension cables is the best way to go.

Today you can easily sync an audio recording with your video recording in post production with today’s software. Be sure to clap when all the recording devices are rolling and then you can easily line up the spikes in the software.  I would go even so far as to say clapping 2 or 3 times will make it even easier.

Align the two tracks using the spikes

So what do your record with? My number one recommendation is based on the assumption that most of those taking our workshop will have a smartphone. The second assumption is there is no need to spend a lot of money on recording gear, but rather buy those things that will compliment what you already have in your bag.


You can buy the RØDE smartLav microphone that is designed to work with a smartphone.  If you look the link you will notice the 1/8 plug has 4 connections rather than the typical 2 or 3 connections. This design makes the microphone work with your smartphone.

You can use the microphone with any recording App you have on your phone and for those with a iPhone there is the RØDE Rec App. There are many Apps to choose from for Android and the iPhones. You want to use a recorder that you control the gain setting. Auto Gain setting is what you want to avoid.

Practice, Practice, Practice

After you buy the gear test it over and over. Practice recording with your video and the audio. You need to get used to starting and stopping them together. You need to practice always having claps.

The reason the standard for movies has been the clapboard. You show this in the video so you can match the sound spike of the clap to the visual. Just clapping your hands together in the frame of the camera will also work.

Practice putting those clips together in the software. You need to practice getting the sound file from your smartphone to your computer. You can email it or use something like Evernote or dropbox to transfer the file.

Put those files in a software like iMovie, Final Cut Pro X or Adobe Premier and practice lining up the two files. You may find out that the auto sync will not always work because the sound is so faint on the camera as compared to your smartphone recording.

Practice any type of recording scenario that you might want to use. You may want to do interviews where people are sitting still or maybe they are walking towards you. Just always practice before you do this on the job when you must have the sound for the project.