How To Get Great Audio With Plates

Future Proof Tips

Never Forget About Audio.

We’re always watching showreels and portfolio pieces from other video production companies. Doing so helps us stay fresh and ahead of our competitors. It also highlights aspects of film-making that some companies may struggle with.

One aspect that we often see other companies struggle with is audio; be it inappropriate music, poor recorded sound, or lack of sound design. Each of these elements can make or break a video so it’s important all companies focus just as much on their audio than they do on their video.

For this blog, we’ll just be discussing recorded audio but we’ll be covering other audio elements in future posts.

A quick video on how we remove microphones from frames

What’s A Plate?

A plate is quite simply a shot of a set or a location that doesn’t contain an actor or any set pieces that may move.

Plates are often combined with other shots that are taken in the same location and then composited together to create a certain effect, be it making an actor suddenly appear, ‘cloning’ an actor or an object, or making something or someone disappear – which is the effect we often employ.

How Will A Plate Give You Better Audio?

Often, you can position a microphone (or lighting) outside of the frame but sometimes, that’s not possible.

For our shoot for Derby Festé, we needed to get the microphone closer to the interviewee so we had to ‘break’ the frame. By doing this, we got much cleaner audio but we also had a microphone within the shot that, as you can see in the photo below, looked pretty poor!

Derby Festé - Marketing Derby

To fix this*, we took an earlier frame in which the microphone wasn’t there and then masked around it to take the clean segment and put that over the microphone from the interview shot.

Below is the same shot with the microphone removed and below that is the final shot with a colour grade.

*There are other parts to this process, such as adding frame hold effects, blending the two shots and tweaking the colour grade of both frames to match them perfectly. But it’s still quite a basic (and powerful) technique.

Derby Festé - Marketing Derby
Derby Festé - Marketing Derby

As you can see, the final frame looks (if we don’t say so ourselves) pretty darn great and you’d never be able to tell there was a microphone within it before.

So if you need great audio but you also need to break the frame, grab a clean plate, pop the microphone in and composite away.

And here’s the final video (below) that we created for Derby Festé.

Do you have a video project in mind? 

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