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Video: How to Get Better Audio for Social Media Streaming

Watch David Kirk's full presentation from Streaming Media East, Social Media Streaming for ProAV, on the Streaming Media Conference Video Portal.

Read the complete transcript of this clip:

David Kirk: The first thing I wanted to talk about was separating the camera from the microphone, and getting an external mic. And if you've looked at any of the setups that you see in a typical studio, usually the microphone is on a boom and it's very close to the talent, so you want that microphone very close, to that it's mic’ing, and it has a very special mic’ing pattern. You're not trying to pick up everything in the room; you're trying to pick up only what the actors are saying, or what the people are saying. So the idea is to try to get the mic as close to them as possible, but you want the camera positioned back from the talent in order to get a flattering perspective, and to not be right up in their face as they're actually trying to do their presentation.

So, separating out, getting away from a laptop or a phone, and being able to separate that microphone from the camera itself is a good first step. You get much better audio quality. It's especially good for noisy environments, so if you're at, let's say, a trade show like this one, and you're out on the floor trying to do something live, if you tried to do that from a phone or this, you're picking up all of the ambient noise that's ringing off the walls and off the ceiling, you need to move to a dedicated microphone and get that off. Similarly, you want to use a laptop, it’s is not the most handy thing to use as a camera in that situation. And of course the laptop is still doing the encoding in this setting, so that's not ideal.

The next step is to really get an external camera, and what that allows you to do is place the camera far back from the talent to give them space, but also then you can zoom in optically, so you're not trying to get right up in their face with a tablet, or with a laptop, or using a web cam, using a more professional camera allows you to get a proper perspective, and it also allows you a lot of manual settings, so you don't rely on your web cam or your phone to automatically focus and all those kind of thing. Once you move to a separate camera you have a lot more control over the white balance, over the exposure, over the focus, so things aren't moving and changing all the time, and distracting people as they're trying to watch your content.

Instead, what they see is the camera trying to adjust the focus as people move, or your camera adjusting to exposure as sunlight changes. It's much better once you move to a secondary camera to be able to lock that down. And it's fairly easy to do that, and it still allows you the option, either as we show here, with a mic right on the camera, or you can separate that mic again. So, really separating out the camera from the mic is a good idea, and it's very easily done with a simple video grabber or a capture card to be able to bring that camera into your laptop if that's still what you're using.

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