University of Bristol
Wellcome Trust
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Society of Biology
PEEP for Physics & Ethics at GCSE

Editing sound

Photo CC arvindgrover

Sound is 50% of a video presentation. It's also probably the primary means through which the story of your video will be communicated.

So achieving good sound quality should be a high priority. 

Rules of thumb

      • It's very difficult to make poor sound into good sound
      • You can only fix certain sound problems in the computer 
      • So capture good quality sound in the first place, with proper use of microphones

      Separate the audio soundtrack from the video

      As you learn how to use your video editing tool, such as Windows Movie Maker, or iMovie on a Mac, you'll see that as you work with individual film clips, you can work on the audio separately from the video. You don't have to use the audio that was recorded with the video camera, you can add your own if you like to replace it (dubbing), or to try and improve the audio, using an audio editor such as Audacity. You will also find quite a few sound improving options right inside the video editing software. These will be useful for evening out the volume levels between video clips.

      Matching the sound backgrounds

      All sound takes place in a location with its own acoustics, be they full of echoes or very 'dull' sounding. The closer the microphone is to the speaker, the less these acoustics will be noticeable, they will become more background. But if you record sound and video at the same time, make note of the sound of the location. If later you add any kind of voice-over soundtrack to the same bit of video, try adding a bit of reverb so that it is nearer to the sound of the original location. You can do this using free audio editors such as Audacity (see below).

      Free tools for audio editing

      • Audacity
        This program can be used to crop sound clips to the right length, to remove static, hiss, hum or other constant background noises and to add reverb.

      Next: Publishing your video

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