If you’ve created any videos where you have a person or persons talking, you may have found out after you’ve shown it in service that your congregation missed parts of the talking and maybe couldn’t get the message. I’m going to offer a few reasons why this happens and, along with each difficulty, a simple way to solve it.
One of the most common reasons that dialogue isn’t heard clearly is that the music track which is supposed to be underneath the talking actually ends up sounding louder than the speaking. This happens for a few reasons.
- The Problem: One issue could be the difference between the audio monitors (speakers) you were using when you created the video and the actual speakers in your church’s sanctuary or auditorium where the video was presented. All speakers have “bias,” meaning that they will naturally boost some frequencies and naturally cut others. Smaller and cheaper speakers, the kind that tend to be part of a video editing set-up (or even laptop speakers if you’re editing on a laptop), tend to boost the frequencies that make up the range of the human voice. PA speakers, such as you’d have in a larger room where you hold services, tend to have much less bias towards the human voice. The result of this is that the music which sounded well below the level of the voices when you were editing now overwhelms the speaking when played in the service.
- The Solution: Test the video on the speakers where the video will be played for service. This is the best way to know for sure what it will sound like for your congregation. Be brutally honest as you listen, because any words that you can’t hear super well will be unclear to the congregation.
The music track is…well…ACTUALLY too loud!
- The Problem: Sometimes the music is just too loud compared to the dialogue.
- The Solution: Adjust the level as you are editing until you feel like you can hear every word clearly. When you’re satisfied that you can, take the entire music track down a few notches (3-5 dB should do). This trick has worked well for me. It allows you to err on the side of having the music possibly too low, but I will take that every time over the speaking not being understood.
Sometimes the music is not the issue. Here are other possible problems:
Fooled by Familiarity!
- The Problem: By the time you finish editing a video, you may have heard the dialogue 20 times or more. Your brain has had time to soak in every word being said. The congregation, on the other hand, will be hearing these words for the first and only time in the service. Big difference.
- The Solution: Have someone who hasn’t watched the video yet preview it. Make sure they are able to tell you honestly if they were unable to understand anything being said.
- The Problem: Sometimes the speaking in your videos will be hard to understand for a myriad of reasons. Low volume, soft speaking, “dropping” words, people talking over each other, and outside or off-camera noises can all interfere with the speaking being heard clearly and understood.
- The Solutions:
- Leave it out. If you can cut out any parts where this is an issue, consider that as your first option.
- Boost the level of the problematic word or words. This helps in some cases, but certainly not all.
- Use EQ to lessen the offending sound. (e.g., if it’s low noise from a truck going by outside, cut out all the very low end with a simple EQ.)
- Use text at the bottom of the screen to let people read what is being said. This can be distracting in some cases, but if it’s a crucial part of your story, it’s worth the risk to make sure that people “get it.”
The words that convey your story are always the top priority in a video. Hopefully these tips will help you to make videos where the message comes through clearly. I’d love to hear if you have other tricks you use! Shoot them to kerry.cox@MissionalScore.com