Let’s get right to the point – the #1 secret to getting the best sound for your business video production is…

Place the microphone as close to your subject as possible.

No voodoo, no trickery.  Regardless of the microphone, regardless of the environment, the absolute best way to ensure that you’ll get great production audio is to get the microphone as close as possible to your subject.  Uncomfortably close.  Awkwardly close.  If your subject isn’t half-wondering whether the microphone will be in the shot?  Move it closer.  The farther away your microphone is from your subject, the louder your room tone (that ‘hiss’ sound) and other ambient sounds will be.  If there’s an echo in the room where you’ll be recording, the ONLY way to record good audio in that room is to get the mic super-close and turn your input down (if your camera/recorder allows).

Wanna see an example?  Here’s a video we recently produced for Interactions in a variety of echo-ey and noisy rooms:

In each of these shots, we had a shotgun microphone just out of frame, about 8-12 inches from the speaker’s mouth.  Sounds great, right?

Now here’s a video we produced about three years for Smashfly, when we were just starting out:

In this case, we were in a small room, a better environment for sound, but with a shotgun mic attached to the top of our camera, about 3 feet from the subject.  Hear the echo?  Room tone?  Adequate, but not great.  The quality of your sound makes a pretty huge difference in the overall impression viewers get from your video.

So get that mic close (even if it means shooting an iPhone interview with a close-up!) and start getting great sound in your corporate video productions today.