A few of my friends and I recently had a discussion about how great Star Wars: The Force Awakens was. Don’t worry, there won’t be any spoilers in this post. Special effects, action sequences, and how talented the actors were dominated the conversation. How sleek the ships looked and how awesome Kylo Ren’s lightsaber was. How the fighting was more like the original trilogy and how that just felt right to us. How the actors struck the perfect balance between funny and dramatic. It was a fun conversation and we waxed rhapsodic about how it filled us with nostalgia and was just exactly what we were looking for. Then my friend brought up something I hadn’t thought about. “I just love how it sounded like the originals.”
That statement got me thinking about how intrinsic sound is to a movie or any project really. Watching a lightsaber turn on is pretty cool, but it is the hiss and familiar thrum of energy that drives the point home. Without that sound there is a vital piece missing.
Audio is often not given as much thought as the video captured. I’ve seen many professionals spend hours agonizing over which camera to use, which lens, which tripod, and then just pick any random microphone and boom operator in moments and go out and film. It’s only when you get back in the editing suite and notice how the audio is too low, crackly, and just terrible in quality that you realize audio is just as important as video. Maybe more so.
A person will turn the channel in a heartbeat if the dialogue is not crisp and clear. People will deal with lower quality video if they can hear what is going on, but poor audio will make them go away faster than almost anything.
It is very important that you take the time to prepare for your audio needs just as passionately as you do your video. Spend time on editing the dialogue and music to make it as seamless as your fantastic action sequence. A quick jump cut can be easily forgotten and missed, but a pop in the audio is instantly noticeable.
A mistake in the video can be forgiven, but one in the audio takes the audience right out of the experience. And if they aren’t paying attention your message is lost. And then what was the point anyway?
If you have any questions about how you can add better audio to your projects feel free to contact us either in the comments below or through email. We’ll be more than happy to give you some pointers.
Give audio more love. You won’t regret it.