How to Record High Quality DVD Audio

By · Friday, December 3rd, 2010

How to Record High Quality DVD AudioWhat’s the difference between a professionally produced DVD video project and an amateur movie? It’s not the actors, the script, or the editing. It’s the little differences in production quality. One thing that really makes a project look professional is having high quality audio.  Being able to clearly hear the actors and the music makes all the difference in how audiences  take in a video. Here is a list of tips you can follow to ensure that your DVD project has the best possible audio quality.

First, you will need a good microphone. Built-in camera mics are rarely adequate, even when shooting in close proximity to the subject. For best results, I recommend investing in a professional grade microphone such as a shotgun, boom, or wireless mic. Choosing the correct type for your needs is beyond the scope of this article, but if you do some research and pick a price range, you should be able to find one that meets your needs.

Next, consider the environment in which you will be recording. A small, carpeted room is perhaps the most desirable place to record audio. However, movies are often filmed outdoors or in noisy environments. A soft foam windscreen will protect the microphone from undesired noises such as wind and background sounds.

Finally, there are steps you can take to preserve audio quality when editing and mastering your DVD video disc. Make sure to capture your video from the camera at the highest quality setting. Your video editing software may support capturing in a raw or uncompressed format such as DV AVI or a compressed, lossless format.

If you choose to add music during the editing process, make sure it is of sufficiently high quality. A low-quality soundtrack can ruin your project for the audience much more noticably than other factors such as lighting.

Vocals can also be fine-tuned during post production. Compressing spoken word vocals has the effect of making it louder and easier for audiences to hear. A noise reduction filter or equalizer can also help get that perfect sound.

When it comes time to export your project, make sure to use the appropriate settings. The DVD video standard specifies that audio must be in PCM, MPEG-1 Audio Layer II, or AC3. All formats support a 48kHz sample rate, while PCM also supports a 96kHz sample rate. Maximum bitrates vary between the different formats. PCM supports up to 6,144 kbit/second, while MP2 supports audio streams up to 912 kbit/second. AC3 has the most restricted maximum bitrate at just 448 kbit/second.

By following these steps during the recording, editing, and production of your duplicated DVD project, you can ensure a high quality result that your audience will appreciate. Now that sounds good to me!


Follow Up…

One of our Twitter followers says: “For semi-pro, the @zoomfx Zoom H4N price/quality ratio can’t be beat.”

Our in-house video creation dept. suggests a Sennheiser boom mic, which would offer the best quality for the price. Which model is up to the user.

Anyone out there that has some experience, please let us know what you use or have used that you like or dislike.