Do you have a dedicated space for audio and video recording? If so, your advice, please...

My organization has the opportunity to create a dedicated space for recording the audio and video we need for our e-learning offerings.  I'm interested in speaking with others who have such a space to get your advice on all design elements - soundproofing, cabling, equipment, etc.  Please reply if you have any advice or tips to share.  Thanks in advance for your help with this project!

Sondra Reis
Director of e-Learning, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits

7 Replies
Bob S

Hi Sondra,

I've set up a couple of corporate studios before. Couple of tips that might get you started...

Be Quiet...  Just quietly spend time in the prospective space at different times of the day; don't talk - just listen.  You may be surprised at the sounds you hear that you've learned to "tune out" and take for granted.  That whistling HVAC duct, that entrance buzzer from the next area over, etc.  Those sounds you've learned to tune out naturally may come through on your recordings. So you may want to consider techniques to mitigate noise intrusion ranging from simple Recording In Progress signs, all the way to wall/structure improvements.

Be Loud.... Now listen to the space as you make some noise; clapping hands, loud speech, etc.  You may find the space is quite "live" which is all too common in corp settings. If you can hear echoes or muddied endings to words, so to will your learners on the recordings made there. Maybe consider some room treatment options such as sound panels or even just furniture/props to break up the flat surfaces. 

Squint...  What ambient light is leaking in? Are there windows that you need to build plugs for? Are there lights that can't be turned off because they are part of a larger circuit? Many times, these are fairly easy issues to address but are all too common in corp settings and you will absolutely want to be able to control the light for video shoots.

Look Up...  Is the ceiling standard room height?  Can the drop panels and tracks be taken down and what's above them?  If you can't place/hang lights high enough your shots are not going to look natural. And having room for boom mics, or hair/halo lights is something that standard ceilings seldom allow.

Pose...  Think about where your actor(s) will stand, how much room you will need between them and the camera. Is there still room to walk behind the camera tripod safely?   How about distance off the wall behind the actors?  This often overlooked and one of the quickest ways to make your videos look amateurish. You will want room to hang curtains, set lights, and if going with a chroma key set up (see below), then distance enough off the wall to reduce green bounce.

Think Color...  Look around carefully think about what will happen when video lights bounce off the existing colored surfaces in the space. Are there gloss surfaces? Can you paint the walls photo neutral gray or black?  Do you want to consider painting one wall green to shoot chroma key against?  (Yes, btw....yes, you do). Trying to fix odd color and lighting issues in post production is a pain so having a neutral box to start from is always easiest.

Hoard... In your minds' eye, picture all of the things that you will eventually have in/near your studio. What are the commonplace props you will use over and over again like a desk, a standing table, table cloths for product shots, plants, etc.  Where will you keep the ladder when you don't need it? Is there room to keep all the light stands and the tripods and the mic stands and and and....    A cluttered studio is hard to work in and accident prone so make sure you are including enough storage space in your design.

Now Breathe...  Relax and remember that whatever you put together is probable better than what came before.  Trying to plan ahead and prepare the proper space  will save you lots of regret and hassles in the future, just don't get too crazy because you sometimes cannot find the "perfect" studio space in a business environment. That's ok. Do the best you can and be aware of the tradeoffs so you can work through them.

Hope this helps to get you started and good luck,

Bob

Tracy Van Kampen
Henrik Værum Høgh

Hi there.

We are a Company operating public transportation i Copenhagen, and our employees are wearing uniform, so we have a uniform warehouse. There are so mutch clothes the sound in the room are "dead" and quiet, like Bob are talking aboute.

Ecuipment, we hava a Zoom H4n Pro, with remote and a stand. The device records at a SD Card, and after removing the SD Card, i put it in the PC and do the postproduction in Audacity.

This works for us.

Akram Pasha

Drag and drop Activity

Instruction:

Drag the correct options into the boxes on the right.

Select the SUBMIT button to continue. (only activate once the button has been clicked)

Correct Answer:

Inputs:

Category Plan

Merchandise Plan

Outputs:

Article Hierarchy

Merchandise Hierarchy

Navigation:

The User must first click the Submit button before the NEXT button becomes active.

Interaction:

Match the associated terms to the correct heading using the drag and drop function.

 

When the learner has dragged and dropped the correct items, display the flowing message on the screen over the activity:

•Well done! The Inputs are Category Plan and Merchandise Plan, whereas Article Hierarchy and Merchandise Hierarchy are the Outputs in Hierarchy Master Data.
•That’s not quite right. The Inputs are Category Plan and Merchandise Plan, whereas Article Hierarchy and Merchandise Hierarchy are the Outputs in Hierarchy Master Data.
TRY AGAIN and CONTINUE both buttons should be available after the attempt irrespective of the answer being correct or incorrect.

JD Coburn

The closet full of clothes is actually a pretty good idea.  I've had students over the years who did the same thing with good results.  Having built a number of studios for radio station and major recording studios, the best suggestion I can make is to keep it simple.  I won't get into psychoacoustics, okay?  Take a look on line for a used "WhisperRoom".  You want to carefully plan where you'll set it up and it takes 3 or more stout fellows to carry a single wall (I've assembled one on my own and paid the penalty for my arrogance) but once it's up it works quite well.  Get a professional microphone, an Electrovoice RE 20 works best.  Any simple interface will do and you don't really need a pre-amp but it's not a bad idea.  Look at BSWUSA.com for Broadcast Supply West.  They have deals all the time and provide good service.  I've used them since the 70's.  The software is pretty straight forward, any geek can run it.  Keep it simple.  Audacity is free online, Adobe Audition is fine and used by most radio stations.  Pro Tools is the industry standard but it's no better than the previously mentioned brands (it accepts a ton of plug ins that bozos think make things better). And you want a dedicated DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) to run it all.  A Mac laptop works well as long as it has an SSD hard drive, plenty of RAM and an external USB 3 drive.  You need a fast drive with plenty of throughput.  Again, your geek will handle all that.  DO NOT use a USB microphone no matter what you're told.  For the interface, Guitar Center has a number of 2 channel models, I'd recommend a Mackie or an MBox (Mbox comes with Pro Tools if memory serves).  Ideally, you want an external monitor inside the booth as well, for the talent to see the copy.  Monitors don't make any noise and use a Boom, mic stand that you can attach to the wall for isolation, NOT a floor stand (it will pick up any foot steps inside the Whisper Room).  Having said all that, a closet full of clothes is actually a pretty good idea.  Just remember, people will accept bad writing and bad video but bad audio is a turnoff and you will lose attention.  Hire a professional to do your voice over.  It's fun in the end so play with it!