There’s no shortage of video content out there these days, and most of it looks great. The visual standards are very high, and there are many very capable professionals producing great work. So where do you get an edge over the competition?
With countless thousands (sometimes millions) spent on video, it’s amazing how many of them are released half-finished. The half I’m referring to is, of course, the sound. It’s the last process in the assembly line, and if often gets skipped. Sometimes it’s because of tight deadlines or tight budgets, and sometimes it’s because the producer or the client didn’t realize it was an option.
According to AudioDraft, higher quality sound evokes at 66% increase in likeability of the visuals. Having a dedicated audio engineer finish your video is crucial if you want your project to be impactful and professional.
Let’s start with something very simple: clarity. How many times did you have trouble hearing what was said despite the volume level? How many times did it make you move on to something else? An audio professional is able to balance the sound frequencies and optimize the overall output. This means that the message has the best chance of being heard loud and clear regardless of the device or environment.
It may sound finished to you, but not to an audio engineer. You’ve undoubtedly watched the presentation over and over again to the point where it all looks and sounds the same. The engineer brings a fresh perspective that is very specialized. They’re able to detect and augment nuances you never knew were there.
One of the simplest but most effective (and affective!) things an audio engineer can add to your video is sound effects. The visuals may be great, but without the sounds to support them, you can feel like you’re in a vacuum. In addition to adding and sometimes creating sounds, the engineer is also able to blend them seamlessly with the voice, music, etc. The result is a presentation that suddenly has texture, and weight, and possibly most importantly, three-dimensionality.
A video may be the first experience a prospective client/customer has with a brand. If the presentation seems amateur, the brand will be perceived likewise. Even if your video doesn’t require a lot of flash and fancy sound design, it still needs a certain level of professional quality to be taken seriously by the audience. And that brings us to…
Your Audience Knows
While most of us lack the vocabulary to articulate why a video looks or sounds bad, we always know it when we see/hear it. Your video is only as good as the audio, and your audience can tell when the product is unfinished or unprofessional. It may look great, and it may have cost a lot of money, but if it sounds cheap, it was all for not.
You’re Almost There
Budgets can be tight, but post production audio often costs a small fraction of the overall production budget. If you’re spending many thousands on a great looking video, it only makes sense to take it that extra step to bring the sound to the same standard as the visuals.
You Don’t Know What You’re Missing
Something I hear over and over again from people is that they didn’t know how much better it could sound until they heard it. Whatever it is that you do, never delude yourself with that classic, dismissive line ‘the client’s happy with it’. Making the client happy is certainly desirable, but they’re not in the business of video production. This mindset not only leads to complacency, but erodes your expertise, both from within and without. Things are pretty competitive out there, and there’s little room for complacency. It’s not enough to simply meet expectations. To make an impact, you have to exceed expectations. If you want to get an edge, you’ll find it in the sound.