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How to Shoot Video That Doesn't Suck

Making Your Video Sound Great

Hi Steve!

I bought your book, How to Shoot Video that Doesn’t Suck and this morning I shot my first video – a documentary of a local pancake breakfast. The finished product was 1:46 and includes 17 cuts. If I hadn’t read your book it would probably be a lot longer and much more boring!

One question I have is sound.  I was concerned that the sound from the individual clips would be discontinuous…but I overlayed some music that came with Corel Video Studio and magically it all seemed to work out really well. I don’t know if I just got lucky or if that is a normal result. I also don’t know how things would have gone without the overlaying music and what one should do in that situation.

–Valerie

When you cut from one time and place to another, the video sound is almost always different.  The serving line at the pancake breakfast has different clatter and noise than a family at one of the tables will, for example.

Adding a music track is the easiest way to  unify it’s sound- that’s why almost all movies have music.  Music buries those little discontinuities.  If your ears are following the melody, you won’t hear the subtle change from metal spatulas to plastic forks.  And yes, it works pretty much all the time.  Great music will also pick up the pace of a scene and accentuate the emotions.

If you’re editing, you should definitely play with adding music.  But you don’t have to do too much work.  I literally dropped a great song from Chris Arena on top of this video, and it works:

 

In film or television, we would also mix the audio to either smooth out the cuts or accentuate them, depending on the desired effect.  Many editing programs let you do this at home if you want to, but it’s a lot more work than you need to do for a quick home video of a pancake breakfast.  Can be fun to play with though!

Most videos work surprisingly well as a series of short cuts, with no extra audio work or music at all.  You may want to try that too, and see for yourself!

more about sound

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