Panopto Audio Devices

Audio and video devices to make sure that you got right technical qualities for your recording

Selecting the right microphone

If good video quality is important, then good audio quality is essential. Even if you have broadcast-quality HD video, your efforts will be for naught if your audio sounds like you’re in a wind tunnel. Delivering flipped class videos with high- quality audio begins with finding the right microphone.

Laptop microphones

All laptops come with built-in microphones, and like all technology, onboard mics continue to get better year after year. So for a basic fipped classroom recording, it may suffice. Just keep in mind that most laptop mics can’t distinguish between good noise (i.e., your voice) and bad noise, such as background noise or the tapping sound your keyboard makes. As a result, they aren’t the best solution if you can’t record from a quiet location.

Webcam microphones

USB webcams include built-in mics. Depending on your webcam model, these mics can deliver substantially better sound than your onboard laptop mic. For example, the Logitech c920 not only delivers crisp, high-definition video, but also includes basic noise cancelling capabilities that filter out background noise. If you’ve already invested in a USB webcam and have the choice between the laptop onboard mic and the webcam mic, in almost all cases, the webcam mic will provide better audio quality.

Dedicated USB microphones

A step up from the webcam mic is the dedicated USB microphone. Unlike a webcam, which provides both video and audio input, these microphones only capture audio. They’re larger than a webcam mic, but most are still quite portable. These mics can deliver clearer, more realistic-sounding audio.

Smartphone microphones

Like laptops, all smartphones have built-in microphones, and like laptop onboard mics, smartphone mics are your baseline option for capturing audio. The beauty of the mic is that it’s always there. The challenge with the mic is that it doesn’t provide noise canceling capabilities, so in loud environments you’ll pick up a lot of ambient noise around you.

Audio quality

In an ideal world, every recording would be captured in a perfectly quiet, professional sound booth. Admittedly, this is a lofty albeit unrealistic aspiration. For most of the videos you record, your goal should simply be to capture audio that won’t distract students from the content you are presenting.

Here are three tips to help you get there:

  1. Record in a consistently quiet environment. Two qualities de ne “consistently quiet.” First, the location should have minimal ambient noise like tra c or background conversation. Second, it should be in a place where you don’t expect sudden noises, like doors slamming, dogs barking, or babies crying.

  2. Keep your microphone close enough to your mouth so that you feel comfortable speaking at a reasonable volume without raising your voice.

  3. Check your sound levels. There are two ways to do this. If your recording software supports audio monitoring (image below), you can see your audio levels on a meter to determine if you’re too loud or too quiet. If your software doesn’t support audio monitoring, then make a quick test recording and play it back to check your levels. 

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