Recording audio with a handheld recorder can be troublesome, especially if you are using the
cheap inexpensive kind that are common in most newsrooms. There are ways to improve the quality so that you (or the person who will edit the audio) don’t spend hours listening to a hissy, jumbled audio track.
Record in a quiet space
It’s tempting to pull out the recorder and just push the red button, but take a minute to listen to the environment. Are there other people talking around you? Can you hear cars rumbling or the sound of small animals? Find a room that is relatively quiet and record there. If there is no room available (i.e. in an outdoor area) find a wall or barrier that blocks out the noise.
Most people are compelled to audibly agree with the subject, adding yeahs, rights and mm-hms that can take away from what the subject is saying. Practice non-verbal cues like nodding your head or smiling or frowning (when necessary).
Use a microphone
Most audio recorders have built-in microphones but the audio quality is noticeably inferior to audio recorded with a microphone. Mics allow for clearer audio and depending on the type of mic used, can effectively record one or more people with little background noise.
Nothing can ruin good audio like fumbling with the recording device, especially with a handheld recorder. This creates an intense crackling sound that makes that portion of the audio unusable. Instead, place the recorder or mic on a table, pointed directly toward the subject.
Use a windscreen
Wind is the biggest enemy of audio recording. To cut down on its effects, use a microphone with a windscreen (the usually black foam thing on top). If you find yourself windscreen-less, turn your body away from the direction of the wind or — if you have one — place a sock or a similar apparatus on top.
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