Tips for Recording Audio in Learning Content on a Budget

Emily McLaughlin
Mar 7, 2017 11:00:00 AM

Providing your learners with quality learning content is—or should be—the number one priority for every learning business. Whether you are looking to produce audio classes, explainer videos, podcasts, screencasts or host regular webinars, there are several ways to set yourself up for success and stay under budget.

Recording audio in-house is the best way to save money, but to do so you need the right skills and equipment. Let’s start by reviewing preparation tips for recording audio.

Get yourself ready to record

Know your stuff: Read your script, and then read it again. If you did not author the script, tweak the wording so that you feel natural when speaking. Add punctuation like dashes and ellipses as reminders to pause when it comes time to record. If there is vocabulary you don’t understand in the script, ask questions.

Find your voice: It’s important to find your voice before you start recording. This starts with understanding the subject matter to speak confidently. Next, find a tone that suits the project and commit to being animated. This might take you out of your comfort zone, so it’s important to practice.

Practice: Rehearse your script out loud. If you are new to recording audio, record a practice run and critique yourself or request feedback from others. Ask questions like: Did I speak clearly? Does the tone match the subject matter or could I be more enthused? Are there any nervous “uhh” or “umm” sounds in there?

Recording: Consider recording audio from a standing position or from a seat where you are forced to sit up straight. In doing so, you’ll speak clearly and confidently since there is no constriction in the breathing muscles. Take breaks in recording to breathe, regroup or start a section over. If you are recording on quality equipment, you don’t need to worry about recording in one fell swoop.

Equipment checklist

When you spend time and effort assembling lessons and learning materials, the last thing you want to do is ruin it with poor audio. Before getting started, review our equipment checklist and explore these three inexpensive audio set ups from No Film School.

  • Microphone: If you are going record a significant amount of audio content, purchase a quality microphone. USB microphones are portable and produce high-quality audio from a variety of locations. Look into options from Blue Microphones ($130-$270), RØDE ($170-$230) and Audio-Technica USB microphone ($79-$200).
  • Microphone stand or shock mount: If your microphone doesn’t come with either, add one to your shopping cart.
  • Headphones: Wear headphones to eliminate sound feedback while recording. You don’t need to invest in an expensive pair, but opt for a noise cancelling headphones to test the audio quality after recording.
  • Pop filter: A pop filter is a screen used to diffuse the pop of “P” sounds and hiss of “S” sounds. It’s a worthy, inexpensive purchase.
  • The right space: Choose a room without an echo or other ambient noise. Many microphones will pick up the hum of a heater, cars driving by and other sounds you might be accustomed to. Do a test in your recording space to ensure a crisp, clear recording.  
  • Editing software: Depending on what kind of projects you are working on, you could invest in video or strictly audio editing software. Check out editing options under $100 on Tom’s Guide or PC Review.

Now that you have tips for recording audio, learn how to record video on a budget.

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