Getting the Best Audio Without The Hype

One of the most disappointing things about working on other peoples audio is low quality.  It’s not JUST that is sounds, well, not so hot, its that poor audio can be avoided in the first place.  Some people are disturbed by it, many people just let it go. Some people want to invest in having the audio improved. Editing is one thing, but poor audio may be more trouble than it’s worth or even counter productive.

The best audio is audio recorded right in the first place

Compare it to plastic surgery. No amount of work is gonna make ME tall and willowy. Only Tequila can do that. Make audio that sounds good in the first place, instead of trying to fix something after the fact. If it’s recorded poorly, it probably wont get much better, or possibly just turn into another form of bad

You have to listen to your audio

How do you know if it’s messed up if you don’t HEAR it?  I don’t know about you but my brain came pre-loaded with massive audio filters. I am able to simultaneously ignore sound from the fish tank, an airplane flying over, a truck down the street backing up, wind-chimes, foot steps upstairs, a neighbor yelling, my fingers typing on my keyboard and the persistent tinnitus I have from wearing headphones for (many) years. All in the time it took for me to type this paragraph  But when I put on my headphones, (which are pretty good ones I must say) not only can I hear all that, I can see it. Because audio leaves visual cues while recording.

I said: “The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain” twice.  before I

 

I tried to create some of the normal situations you might encounter.  If you could hear it, You would hear me move around, breath, tap on the desk, scratch the keyboard and a slight bubbling sound from my fish tank; It needs water. The room it’s self it creating a noise. I should have increased my record level a bit; it is recorded a bit low! You probably can see what audio elements I’m talking about in the screen shot. The solid line in the middle is the noise “floor”.

The right record level

You should expect the top of the audio to hit -3db occasionally. You can make the audio file louder, but that also increases the sound of everything, including the bad stuff. If the record volume is very low the audio will sound thin and weak, if it’s recorded too loud it will distort.

If you use audacity (free!) to record your audio you will see a similar window that gives a visual idea of how your audio sounds. If you can see a loud noise floor you might have some ambient noise or electronic sound getting into your recording. Try and figure out what is causing it, move to another place to record, turn off noisy things. This isn’t incidental noise like a truck driving by, this is constant.

If your audio is muffled the problem probably is your microphone.

The right methods

If you want to record an interview use skype, and ask that the other person record thru their computer with skype as well and not thru a phone. This is not the place to use conference call services which cost money and have low quality audio.

Save, or with audacity, export your audio as a mp3 at at least 128Kbps,  microphones are mono. but either mono or stereo is fine, If you try a few simple steps you should be able to create some useful audio and great video that people will enjoy and follow.

 

Brooke Bradford is a broadcasting veteran who lives in Santa Cruz California. She is a multimedia consultant and an audio and video producer. She builds websites that are beautiful and functional and creates content for websites that brings visitors. 

How important is SEO?

SEO = Search Engine Optimization

Back in the good old days if you had a business you’d promote it with radio and TV, newspapers, flyers, post cards and by joining the local chamber of commerce. There was an old saying, people refuse to advertise their business, but are willing to advertise it for sale. In some ways, not much has changed. s-l225

If you have a business every one tells you must have a web site, and you’ll be wanting to figure out how to get more people to look at it, You’ll be tempted to think that the main thing to focus on is having people find you with random google searches.

How do people really use the internet?

Chances are, you don’t google much for business services, you ask your friends, your neighbor, your uncle Larry. You probably have used it to research things you already know you want and for information on events or places.

Ten years ago I decided I wanted a ford focus hatch back with a five speed. I had rented one and liked it. I googled it and found one locally and bought it sight unseen.

Five years ago when it was time to replace the focus I had to go out and drive some cars. I didn’t know I wanted a Toyota Matrix.  Google works OK when you know exactly what you want.  It works best for facts and figures and specific things.  Also google tries to second guess what I want to see, my google search won’t look anything like yours.

Let’s look a case study:

Joe and Mary do bathtub re-finishing in Connecticut. They’ve been in business for ten years and just got a website.

The web developer stated that the website would be search engine optimized and gave them a very attractive rate for a simple word press website.  When it launched, the website wasn’t showing up in google searches. I was asked to help and added meta tags and SEO enhancement plug-ins for word press and I got it to show up, but not first page google searches.

What can possiblygoogle_logo be wrong?

Google analytics says that the website has no visitors, but surprise! WebCrawler robots look at it regularly. These are the good guys you need to have looking at your website. Simply stated, google knows all about the website, but doesn’t take it seriously because it has no views.

Ok, so you need to promote your website in order for google to promote it.  Do that with all the social media you are comfortable with. Having links going in and out of your website help a lot and a blog or multimedia helps too. There is no fast track to this, you should do a good job on your multimedia with the least amount of expense.   You can also pay to get a higher google ranking.

BANGKOK,THAILAND - FEBRUARY 1: Bangkok is the Top one city with the most Facebook users in the world with 12.8 million Statistics from SocialBakers Website February 1, 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand.

But,

People may not  know they want what you are selling yet. I suspect Joe and Mary’s customers are not the general public anyway, it’s contractors.

Find out who your customers are, crawl inside their heads, add the key words to your website, change content when you can with some sort of social media and/or multimedia to reinforce your existence. Because, networking is still your best bet on getting customers, just make sure they can find your website and your website serves you.   ~bb