I just got done recording a new course, and have been continuing to struggle to get the audio just right. Today I thought I would summarize my best tips for recording audio for your courses, in the hopes that it would help someone.
– One of the keys to good audio is having a quiet place to record. If your house is in a quiet part of town, that’s a good start. We all sometimes have to deal with construction or one time events. But if you live in an extremely noisy part of the city, you will find yourself being only able to record late at night.
– Another key is the type of room you are recording in. In order to avoid echo, it needs to have lots of soft surfaces like furniture and carpeting. Some people record sitting inside a clothes closet because the clothes absorbs all the sound. Others record with blankets hanging around them. Think about how sound bounces around, and you want more things that absorb sound and less things that reflect sound around you as you record.
– If you have both of the above, it almost doesn’t matter what microphone you have – expensive, cheap, condenser, dynamic. Microphones pick up sound, and so if there are no other sounds other than your voice, that’s the ideal state.
– If you make a mistake during recording – say something incorrect, or find yourself making an error – stop recording and start the lesson again. I have seen programming courses on Udemy where the instructors code wouldn’t compile and then spent 5 minutes searching around to find the error. As an instructor, I often re-record every lesson 2 or 3 times, and my delivery of the material gets better each time. It’s worth it to re-record when you catch yourself making a big mistake.
– You can’t take echo out in editing. If your sound comes back with too much echo, you can play with the levels, add some soft music to the background to disguise it, but ultimately it’s not easy to remove.
– Clean your audio using a tool like Audacity. Do noise removal, boost the volume, and clean up the ums, ahs, long pauses, stutters and mistakes if you can. Students will appreciate a mistake-free lesson and not an instructor that says “uhhh, uhhh, uhhh” a lot. My recent course had 120+ lessons. Every one was cleaned manually in Audacity, and yes it’s a lot of work.
– In general, don’t have music playing constantly behind your talking. I use this for my promo video and my introduction lesson only to inject some energy, but 99% of the course does not have music playing throughout.
Does anyone have any other tips for audio? Post them below.