Skip to main content

Creating a Video From Start to Finish

Lesson 12 of 37

Capturing Audio


Creating a Video From Start to Finish

Lesson 12 of 37

Capturing Audio


Lesson Info

Capturing Audio

We can prepare all we can, and I mentioned it in the video, how I'm gonna throw caution to the wind, and we should learn from that mistake. Don't throw caution to the wind. But yeah, I think as we kinda get ourselves in position from talking about an interview to actually capturing great sound. We've gotta start thinking about how that's gonna piece together, and how it's gonna lead us in. So this component of this class is really, really important for us to kind of get on the same page about what's gonna get us some great sound. And then from there, getting that sound into a place where it's gonna really be of use to us in the edit. And I think I had a question over here. So some of the audio recorders have built in compression, so if you're using a little bit of compression, which will virtually limit any spikes, you wouldn't necessarily have to record on two different tracks, correct? That's correct. So in terms of the compression, I'm trying to record as broad of an audio file ...

as possible, in terms of the signal. And I think in my experience with compression, what ends up happening is if it's pushing down too much on the high end, I lose some of that treble. And I'm losing some of that richness to the sound. So in the instance of getting that second track at six dB lower, it's just a safety valve in case something loud happens, that I can really jump to, or something unexpected like they change their volume and they talk the rest of the interview completely in a different volume. Or, if you're in the studio right now, a gigantic thudding on the floor, as we're trying to teach a class and be quiet in. You know, so there's these things that invariably affect our use of the audio, and so having that second track is really helpful. Did I use it on this shoot? No. But it's good to have. Is it necessary? I wouldn't say it is necessary. I'd say it's a good nicety, not a have to. Okay? Now, how to capture great sound. We go slow. So you're going slow, so what does that mean? Make sure your cameras are capturing reference sound, okay? Please do that. You're gonna have a heck of a time syncing if you don't. It's possible. It's very, very possible to do it. But it's gonna be very time consuming. Victor, just before we keep going, Michael in the U.K. had asked, what do you mean by reference audio? Kay. So we have two types of sound that we record, okay? We have the sweet audio which is actually being captured to a recording device that's designed to capture it. We were miking the subject properly, we're getting what we would call good tone. Great, great sound. Great, great audio. Reference sound is what we call scratch track. Now that's the sound that's being captured to a camera. Typically when we do what's called dual system sound. Dual system sound is the methodology by which we record someone at their source, a subject. And then we would capture reference sound on the camera, and then sync the two together, either by hand or with a piece of software. So in dual system sound when we have a reference track that's being recorded by the camera, it provides us the ability to easily sync the audio that we have from the recorder with the footage that we've captured from the camera. Okay, make sense? So the scratch track, or the reference audio, is something we throw away at the end of they day. It's something that we don't use once we get into the edit. But it's essential to have in order for us to move forward at a rate where we are being productive in the edit. Okay? So I will show you, because I made the mistake. I didn't capture reference sound on the second camera. And, to be honest, had I not been recording to a card in the first camera, I would not have been capturing reference sound on the first camera either. So there is a fundamental thing that I messed up on, is I just didn't plug in a cable. I was in a rush. I was checking it, I saw a reference sound on both cameras because I recorded to a card, and I almost paid for it. Literally almost paid for it. So, another thing is, if you're using a wireless lav, just make sure you test it. Make sure you have new batteries into it, make sure you're testing the signal. Just make sure you actually go through the rigamarole of recording something, listening to it for a longer period of time, understanding if there's any static at the high end, all of that stuff. You're gonna need to do that. There's no way around it. You can't cut corners there. That's one thing you have to do, okay? Alright. Another one is this test recording thing. So record it, test it, take that time. Take that time, okay? So once you do that, get your levels right. And the leveling is really, really easy. It's really simple. When you're recording, you're just gonna level to negative 12 dB. And almost every recorder on the face of the planet tells you where that is. Even on your cameras, everywhere. It's right here. It's just the standard. Typically if you level someone to negative 12 dB, even if they raise their voice, they won't do what's called clipping. And clipping is when you hear that buzz, that bzzz sound. And on an audio meter, typically right here it'll go red. It'll go green, yellow, red. And here's what it looks like on a simple recorder. Oops, I don't have the simple recorder. But most of the meters look this way. They start at somewhere around negative 40 dB, and then move all the way up to 12. Don't make the mistake of leveling out at zero. Cause that's your ceiling. If you level out at zero, any time they speak above zero, it's just gonna be static, it's just gonna be muffled, it's just gonna sound awful. Okay? That one good? That's the single most important thing that you can do to capture great sound. Next to miking your source correctly. That's the single most important thing. Because if you can capture properly leveled audio or sound and play it back nicely, what's gonna happen is, even if it's a lesser quality, even if it doesn't sound as rich or as full as what we're used to hearing, it will still be better than if you've miked someone and leveled it at the wrong levels. That's what's the important thing. Now when you're talking about microphones, I know there's a lot of questions about phantom and powered and battery powered, and lavalier versus omnidirectional and unidirectional and cardiod and heart-shaped, and all that kinda stuff. To be honest, none of us are sound technicians, none of us are audio technicians, I guarantee you someone's gonna listen to my audio track and go, oh my god, that was awful. The purpose of this is to capture sound and deliver a usable soundtrack into an edit. So don't get lost in the weeds. Don't get lost about cardiod versus hypercardiod or supercardiod or any of that stuff. Trust someone, get a recommendation, and go with it. So if that means getting a lav that's for $15 and plugging it into a recorder because that's what you can afford and what you can get, that's what gonna get you great audio, do it. Don't spend hundred of dollars on a mic and then put it a thousand feet away from your subject and expect that that thousand dollar mic's gonna get good quality. It's not. So the two most important things you can do, get the right level, get your mic as close to the subject as possible. If you try to capture something from across the room, it's just not gonna sound good. So recorder settings. When you get into your recording, recording sound, there's a couple things I wanna make sure you guys pay attention to. I tend to like to record in WAV 16-bit, most of the editors these days can take it, so it's not gonna be an issue. There is a 32-bit at this point, too. I haven't really used it. I still stay with 16-bit, it's a nice, robust file, gives me great quality. Change your recorder to 48 kilohertz if you're capturing 24. So what that does is if I'm capturing 24 frames a second, if my recorder isn't at 48, I'm gonna have a mistime. My lips won't match up with the video. And I'll have to do an extra step in post to get it to work. So you gotta make sure that your recorder is set up properly. If you guys want a pneumonic, it's always double the frame rate. So if you want 24, it's 48. Now in this case here, sometimes inside a recorder, in order for you to get a mic to be able to receive sound, you gotta turn mic power on. Or you've gotta switch the input from line to mic, because they offer different sensitivities, they offer different ways of capturing that sound. So if you slide it to line, you're not gonna get a very loud signal, you're not gonna get a good enough signal. Switch to mic, you can get the proper signal. Just a couple pointers here. Last thing is just don't stop recording. I did one thing right, okay? In a handful of things. I stepped into the interview, I got my levels with Ivan, I hit record on my recorder, and I never touched it until the end of the shoot. What that does for you, just think about it. Is there any way for you to be able to place, at any moment in time, what Ivan said? Is there any way for you to be able to place which footage is placed at what moment in time that Ivan said it? And then, being a one man band, do you have the bandwidth to deal with multiple audio files coming off a recorder? So for the sake of these, record the whole interview. Don't ever stop the track unless you're stopping the interview. Unless you're stopping the interview. So like we broke the interview in two halves. The first half happened, I recorded sound all the way through, then I stopped. And then I got a second level, recorded sound all the way through, and then I stopped. That way I only had two audio files to deal with in post. And then when you start syncing footage to it, my god, it is so easy. It's so easy to keep track of stuff at that point. Okay? Now when you don't stop recording, the only thing here is just bring batteries. For the mics, for the recorder. You don't know how much it's gonna pull. Like for example, some recorders offer phantom power. Phantom power, what that does is it powers the microphone that you're using that's connected to it. So some microphones are connected by a cable. If you run that cable from the microphone all the way to the recorder and then use the recorder to power that microphone, it's gonna kill that recorder much faster. Cause it's providing power for itself as well as the microphone that it's being plugged into. So double A batteries are kinda what these things run on most of the time, or if you have an AC adapter, get an AC adapter for it. The shoot's static, so if you can't get the batteries and you just wanna plug in, prepare for that. If you're gonna recorder all day, just prepare for it, Then bring the batteries to support. Get good headphones. So I stole some headphones from my girlfriend. For this shoot. They're kinda over yonder. But just get headphones that cover your head. Cover your ears. Remove the bass out of them. Make sure they're just neutral tone headphones. I'll get a question. Yeah, sorry. Before we go further into the headphones, this question had come in from Steven Brenton who asked, in this particular scenario, shoots with an A7S2, with a Sony XLR adapter, and even before the mic is attached, he's hearing background hiss, hum. And says most likely the preamps. The questions is, is this normal with most DSLRs that hiss and hum? I think any hiss and hum is not normal. So you should hear a level of ambient noise. Have you guys ever watched a movie on an airplane? You put your headphones on, and you hear that just drone of a hchhh, right? That's normal. That sound is just normal, it's just the audio track playing. But if you hear a ssst, that's not normal. Make believe you're sitting in a wind tunnel. And you just can hear a breeze. Typically, that's just room noise. And you can eliminate that really well. The minute it starts to get static-y, like popping and crackling and hissing, that's when it's bad. That's when you really, really have to take a look at it. That means either the levels are too high. That means the connection in the cable is probably broken. That means there's a disconnect somewhere in the connection between the mic and the preamp. There's very, very certain things that happen in that chain that are creating those noises. Someone's hitting the mic, there's definite solutions there. You have a question? Yeah. Before I got into photography I was an audio guy. So to his question, usually nine times out of ten, his level is somewhere, the gain is just too high, and that's why you get that hiss. So you gotta have your levels as low as possible, but the beauty of digital audio is that once you get into post, there's a ton of stuff you can fix. Absolutely. If the levels are too low and too quiet, you can compress them and push them up and do lots of stuff. Absolutely, yeah. That fixes all that. You know, the thing with audio is, once it's baked in, it's baked in, right? So back in the day, gosh I think I'm dating myself, you guys know Napster? (audience laughing) Okay. You remember when you used to download stuff in college on Napster, right? And get these files. Remember we'd get these weird MP3 files that sounded like they were recorded in a tin can? Remember that? They sounded like they were just traveling through the Matrix into my MP3 player. That's what happens when you mess around with the file too much. You're compressing it, and compressing it, and compressing it, and compressing it. You're putting filters onto it, and you're trying to get more out of it. Basically you're just taking the JPEG, you're taking the curves, and you're bumping the curve up with levels. And we all know what happens to a JPEG when you deal with that, right? You get artifacting, ghosting, you get all these weird things, noise, all this weird stuff. So it's almost exactly the same thing with an audio file. You gotta capture as sweet of an audio as possible at the time, so that when you make your adjustments, you avoid that tinny sound. Cause that tinny sound's really what drives people away from watching a movie. Or what drives people away from listening to anything, right? I listen to a lot of podcasts cause I drive a lot, you know, to and from work. And it's like, the minute I have a delay on the radio, or I hear something that doesn't sound right to me, I just shut it off, and I change the channel. Cause I can't stand it, right? So you wanna really, really grab it as much as possible, as richly as possible, so that when you do stuff later it's always an enhancement to, not a detraction from. Alright? Cool? Great. So with headphones, this is kinda what I lean on. Is any set of headphones is better than no headphones, but if you have your choice, get ones that cover. And get ones that aren't bass-y. Because I think a lot of the headphones nowadays have bass added in to allow us to enjoy music, but if you find a set of neutral tone, and I don't like noise-canceling a lot of the time. I think noise-canceling gives us a false perception of what we're really listening to. I think what I like to do is edit on a set of headphones that cover my ears, that are not noise-canceling, and then I'll go through and unplug and listen to it in the room. So that I can kinda get a feeling for how it's gonna sound in the real world. Okay? Alright. As you kinda move on to capturing great sounds, okay. This thing. Room tone. I'm not gonna say that a 1000% or 100% of your audio woes will be solved by room tone, but I will say that a very good percentage of your audio troubles will be solved by getting a good room tone. And a room tone is the easiest thing to do. It's the easiest thing to do. You just wait 'til everything's over, you get everyone out of the room, you turn on the recorder, and then walk out for like a minute. Okay? What it's gonna do is it's gonna capture the ambient noise of the room. And because you've recorded your audio tracks in that room, you can then overlay a noise reduction that you've applied from your room tone over your recording of the interview. And it immediately eliminates that room ambient noise if it's low enough. So you were talking earlier about that low drone, appliance noise that kind of proliferates throughout the recording. If it's constant, and you get a good room tone, that goes away. It's really, really cool. And then it makes the gaps between someone's statements much more pleasing, because you're not hearing that hmmm.

Class Description


  • Confidently make a movie from start to finish
  • Expand your photography skills to motion pictures
  • Tackle pre-production and post-production essentials
  • Capture video and audio expertly
  • Edit in Adobe Premiere Pro and Audition


Photography and videography have several things in common -- but what about factors like audio and telling a story using video editing? In this filmmaking class designed for photographers, learn how to use the DSLR or mirrorless camera that you already have to capture high-end videos. In this start-to-finish course, you'll master everything from planning to post-production. The goal of the class is to teach anyone how to create a video from start to finish.

Dive into video production from the planning and pre-production phase, where you'll learn how to choose an idea, scope out locations, research the client, and more. Jump into video gear -- and what's really necessary on a low-budget -- and learn the essential filmmaking tips for recording. Discover how to capture excellent audio and tackle those B-Roll shots.

But this filmmaking course doesn't just teach you how to use editing software -- you'll learn the editing process, start to finish, from storyboarding to exporting. Work in Adobe Premiere Pro to perfect your footage and Adobe Audition to fine-tune that audio. Tweak color in DaVinci Resolve. Add soundtracks, titles, and keyframes. Then, finalize and export your project.


  • Photographers eager to add motion pictures to their repertoire
  • Beginner filmmakers
  • Self-taught filmmakers ready for additional insight

SOFTWARE USED: Adobe Audition, Adobe Premiere Pro, DaVinci Resolve


Previously a photographer, Victor Ha is now a filmmaker. His experience working with both stills and motion pictures helps him guide other photographers through the same process, from photo to video. He's known for his straightforward, practical teaching style that's easy to follow along with.


  1. Class Introduction

    In the first lesson, meet your instructor and learn what to expect during the class. Know what's up ahead by pinpointing the goals for this class at each production stage.

  2. Putting Ideas Into Motion

    Start the filmmaking process with an idea. Learn how to flesh out ideas and turn them into successful projects.

  3. Client Profiles

    Video projects come in many different forms, from cinemagraphs and short films to commercials and features. A client profile is a type of video telling a story about a person or business. Learn what's involved in this simple video type as an easy format to get started with.

  4. Choosing Your Subject

    Video projects start with a subject -- but just how do you choose? In this lesson, Victor discusses how to narrow down your ideas to choose the best one.

  5. Scouting Locations

    Part of the planning process is scouting out different locations, an essential part of pre-production. Learn what to look for when scouting out different locations and how to spot good camera angles. Then, work with that information as you prep for shooting.

  6. Researching the Client

    Understanding the client -- and what they are looking for in a video -- sets the stage for a successful video project. Learn how to research your client and the essential pre-production questions to ask.

  7. Choosing Equipment

    You don't need an elaborate amount of gear to shoot video -- Victor goes through the essentials for video, and how that list may change for different products.

  8. Waveforms and Scopes

    Waveform monitors show a visual of the video's exposure. Using waveforms along with vectorscopes can help you get the best results in camera as you shoot. While confusing at first, these tools offer big advantages on set.

  9. Shooting Strategy

    Build a strategy to organize those thoughts from pre-production and create a shooting schedule for the project. Incorporate these factors into a shooting strategy for success.

  10. Interview: Setting Up for Success

    The interview is an essential style for filmmaking. In this lesson, learn how to set up an interview for the best results, including audio suggestions and pitfalls to avoid.

  11. Prepping for the Interview

    Before you head into the interview, have a list of questions -- and practice asking them. Master the essentials for interview prep, including research.

  12. Capturing Audio

    Video and audio go hand-in-hand. Gain tips for capturing the best audio for your video, from dual system sound and setting levels to working with audio gear.

  13. Capturing Room Tone

    By recording the ambient noise in the room, unwanted background noise is easier to edit out. Learn how to capture the room tone and tricks to create better audio by adjusting the room.

  14. Audio Q&A

    Audio is scary stuff -- learn from the most frequently asked questions from students like you.

  15. B-Roll: 3 to 1 ratio

    B-Roll is supporting footage for your video, helping to add interest and fill gaps. In this lesson, learn why B-Roll is important -- and how much you need to shoot.

  16. Planning for B-Roll

    B-Roll should help tell your story -- so what should you capture, especially when the scene doesn't seem so interesting? Find out how to plan for B-Roll and ideas for the most interesting shots.

  17. 5 Rules to Capturing B-roll

    Use these guidelines to capture better B-Roll for your project, from gear tips to determining what's important.

  18. Using B-Roll to Shape an Edit

    B-Roll is secondary footage -- learn how to tackle video editing with B-Roll in mind. Then, jump into editing with Adobe Premiere Pro editing software.

  19. Introduction to Footage Review

    After recording, you may have hours of footage -- how do you decide what goes in and what stays out? Make footage review less daunting by tackling your fears first.

  20. Asset Management

    Organizing footage saves time and helps you get a jump start on that edit -- but the organization doesn't have to be elaborate. Learn how to manage the assets for your film project.

  21. Edit Setup

    Before you edit, preparing helps get the film project off on the right foot. Learn how to prep for editing, from working on audio first to identifying mistakes.

  22. Edit Audio in Adobe Audition

    Victor suggests photographers edit audio first to get the aspect that we're least familiar with out of the way. Build an understanding of audio editing and skills for using Adobe Audition, including eliminating that room noise.

  23. Syncing Your Footage

    Set up for a successful edit by creating "goal posts" and allowing enough time to reach each one. Start working on the edit by laying out the timeline and syncing footage.

  24. Conceptual Storyboarding

    Building a storyboard guides the edit and helps you tell a story, without meandering away from what's important. Create a successful story -- and learn why Victor creates his later in the process -- by working with a storyboard.

  25. Editing Choices

    Video editing is full of choices -- but you can always change your mind. Learn how to get over hurdles and make the best choices for your filmmaking project.

  26. Selecting a Soundtrack

    Soundtracks give your edits a tempo -- but what song should you choose? Victor talks about choosing neutral soundtracks, avoiding songs you already know, understanding copyright, and everything you need to know about soundtracks.

  27. Building the Rough Cut

    Start turning that storyboard into an actual edit by building the rough cut. Learn how to shrink down long footage, decide what to cut and what to trim, and start organizing footage.

  28. Refining the Story

    Take that rough cut and turn it into something less rough. Start moving footage around to match that storyboard. Victor explains the "meat and potatoes of editing" -- going through footage, listening, cutting, and repeating that same process again.

  29. Adding B-Roll

    With the shape of the video in place, work in footage from the second camera and B-Roll footage to fix continuity issues or simply add more interest. Develop not just an understanding of the editing software, but a workflow for editing your film project.

  30. Rough Cut to Final Cut

    Move from that rough cut to the final cut with an overview of the last stretch of the editing process, including mastering transitions, color edits, and polishing that timeline.

  31. Color Grading in DaVinci Resolve

    Create color-graded videos inside DaVinci Resolve. Learn how to use the software, import and export, and color grade your project.

  32. Three-Way Color Corrector in DaVinci Resolve

    A three-way color corrector allows you to fine-tune RGB values. Walk through the basic color correcting process to correct issues like color cast.

  33. Export from DaVinci Resolve to Adobe Premiere Pro

    With the color correction finished, be sure to export your file properly for a seamless transition back into Premiere Pro.

  34. Add a Title in Adobe Premiere Pro

    Adding text and titles in Premiere Pro is simple. Learn how to add text frames to your video project without leaving Premiere Pro.

  35. Export Project from Adobe Premiere Pro

    Once your edit is finished, it's time to deliver. Learn how to export your project from Premiere Pro.

  36. Adding a Keyframe

    Keyframes are simply markers in the video that signify the start and the end of a change. In this lesson, Victor uses keyframes to adjust the audio of only a small portion of the video.

  37. Creating Multiple Projects from Your Edit

    With the main project done, what else can you build from your material? In this lesson, Victor discusses additional options to add to smaller supplemental projects to your main work.


Cheryl Winkles

You're awesome, I learnt a lot from you, this is like a must-have first course for anyone who wants to step into video or filmmaking world. Highly recommended and thank you a million Victor Ha.

a Creativelive Student

Fantastic course, Victor is one of the finest instructors I have encountered. Great stuff, I would highly recommend this for anyone who wants to work in video