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How to Improve Audio Quality in Videos Automatically Using Auphonic


In this tutorial you'll learn how to use Auphonic, a simple tool to help improve spoken-word audio in your video productions.

Because You Can't Do Everything

As the lines between photographer and videographer continue to dissolve—and more productions rely on a single person to capture and edit stills, video, and audio—we visuals people are tasked with learning a lot of new audio skills. It's enough make your head spin.

We can't all learn everything, as interesting as audio-production is. Becoming an effective audio producer requires a big time investment; audio is as much of a learning challenge as photography or video. There's not enough time to learn how to do it all properly.

And on many shoots there just isn't time for one person to do it all, even if they could. In the rush to get things done, audio quality often ends up a bit of an afterthought.

Meet Auphonic

Auphonic is an audio processing tool that can greatly improve the quality and consistency of the audio in your videos. It can automatically equalize, normalize, filter, and compress your audio tracks.

Who should use Auphonic? Certain types of productions work best. It's an ideal tool for anyone working with spoken-word audio. This is perfect for photographers who produce the occasional DSLR video, for podcasters, or screencasts, for example.

Auphonic can also work for low-quality sources, like presentation and conference video. As you'll see below, for this use it's best to think of Auphonic as a quick way to make your video more understandable, not a perfect-polishing tool.

Auphonic Before After
Even if you aren't a producer, you've probably seen an audio waveform before. A waveform is a visual representation of audio. The top line is an unmodified recording, while the bottom is the same audio after a pass through Auphonic. You can see the levels have been boosted and compressed to a standard level.

Good Quality Audio Source Example

Listen to the before and after audio of my recent recording to hear the difference. The volume is an obvious improvement, as Auphonic automatically compresses and boosts the volume to an appropriate level. 



Problem Audio Source Example

Here's a clip from a rare archive recording of Flannery O'Connor reading her short story A Good Man is Hard to Find. The recording is a bit thin, flat, and noisy. Auphonic does a good job of making the recording more listenable.



Auphonic's website has more examples of the audio processing it can apply to your tracks.

Before I was using Auphonic, I attempted to equalize and compress my audio with the multiple apps that I use to produce my Tuts+ courses. Switching to Auphonic for my audio processing saves hours in the production process.

Auphonic offers two free hours of audio post-production each month. Go the Auphonic website and create a free account to test it out.

How to Use Auphonic

Using Auphonic is simple, but it's highly customizable. Let's walk through the process to learn more about how to use the site. Check out the video below to learn how to use Auphonic.

Two notes on working with Auphonic. First, you can upload videos directly to Auphonic for processing, and this works, but I've found the process of uploading and downloading videos files slower than the method outlined in the video above. Second, Auphonic has desktop and command-line versions of their program. If you have a lot of video to process, check out these options.

Keep Learning

Every once in a while, I come across a service that makes my creative work much easier. Auphonic is one of those services, and allows me to focus on video production without using other applications to process audio.

Of course, the better the audio goes into Auphonic the better it comes out. Dave Bode's courses The Art of Voice Recording and Audio Production for Interviews are great resources to get you started off right making sound recordings. Or check out our tutorial series on location sound, voice-overs, or screencasting for more free tips.

If you're a photographer, are you producing content that includes audio? I'm always curious to hear about how our roles are evolving. Let me know in the comments.

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