Skip to main content

or browse databases: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z #

View of Georgetown campus from the Virginia side of the Potomac

View of Georgetown campus from the Virginia side of the Potomac

Documentary Video Production: Recording Audio

Recording Audio for Interviews

This course is a must-see for anyone shooting documentaries. It includes invaluable information about choosing and mounting mics in an interview setting.

Creating Artificial Sound Effects

Popular Gear

You can browse all of the equipment available at the Gelardin New Media Center here. Note that more advanced equipment requires training.


The lapel-microphone transmitter is easily clipped onto a wearer's belt or pocket, and receiver includes a hot-shoe mount for high-end video cameras. This is a great microphone to use for interviews where your subject is moving and can't be wired.



This kit includes a boom pole and microphone. This kit is great for recording sound effects or interviews. The microphone performs best when close to the source, but can still capture sound from far away.




The LS-100 Kit allows you to mix and record studio-quality audio in the field. Use the recorder's own microphones or connect an external microphone. This portable unit can record at rates up to 24-bit/96kHz to MP3 or WAV formats onto its 4GB internal memory. An SD/SDHC card slot is also available for additional data storage.




Use this premium digital voice recorder three ways: record music, notes, lectures and other audio; play back MP3, WMA or AAC audio files; or store and transport data and files with its built-in 2GB flash memory. With a swing-out USB arm that connects directly to your PC or Mac, you can drag and drop files between the recorder and your computer easily.

Editing rooms are also available at Gelardin New Media Center, after you receive a consultation. Here you can record audio and voiceovers as well as edit them with Garageband. Schedule a consultation with a multimedia specialist here.

Audio Recording Tips

Choose a quiet setting: You ideally want to be in a quiet, possibly sound-proof, closed-off area.

Wear headphones: Someone on your crew should always be wearing headphones and monitoring the audio.

Place your microphone strategically: The approriate distance between the speaker's mouth and the microphone is 8 to 12 inches. This prevents capturing "popping" noises and heavy breathing in your recording.

Check your levels: Your microphone levels should never peak into the red during your test. The optimal point for your microphone levels is just below the red.

Record ambient sound: At the end of any interview or any scene of  b-roll, record 30 seconds of ambient sound. This will come in very handy when you are editing your documentary's soundtrack in post-production.

Capture sound effects: While filming on-location, there will be many great opportunities to record sound effects. Don't miss the chance.

Speak clearly and articulate your words: Remember to speak conversationally, whether during an interview or narration, as if you were speaking to a close friend. 

Listen to the audio playback: Don't be afraid to start over if you made a mistake!

Creative Commons   This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial 4.0 International License. | Details of our policy