I joined Periscope recently and one of my first actions was to make sure I got good sound for Periscope broadcasts.
I’m scoping every Wednesday at 10am UK time (follow me) and you’ll know how frustrating it is as a viewer to be watching amazing value content you can’t hear properly!
If you’re on Periscope, or have been thinking about joining, I’m going to share how easy it is to get good sound on Periscope with a few simple actions.
No tech ability needed, honest!
You can use this guide for any phone or tablet recording:
And because this is Rosie Slosek talking to you, I’m going to share what to do with the costs of the kit on your tax return and what’s tax-deductible.
Ready to get recording good sound for Periscope and have it tax-deductible? 🙂
Let’s start with some honest Periscopes shall we?
This is me getting out there and #makingithappen:
This is what business is like in real life (including a slice of fruit cake for lunch). It’s not fancy studios with fancy equipment.
The sound on the first Periscope is good despite no mic because of a top sound tip I’ll share with you a bit later.
Compare the quality of the two Periscopes:
The first Periscope was done:
The second Periscope was done:
I’ll share details about the mic I used later on.
There are some simple factors you need to consider to get good sound for Periscope and other video and audio recordings:
Background noise is the biggest reason to use a mic (microphone) to get good sound for your Periscopes.
Mics are nowhere near as good as your brain at filtering unwanted noises.
Your phone mic will pick up aircraft noise your brain filters out, traffic noise your brain filters out, and the children’s playground 100 yards away you don’t notice anymore.
The simplest way to avoid this problem is to plug in a mic before you start broadcasting. A mic like the tiny one above which’ll easily fit in your bag.
It’s like saying to your phone:
‘Hello phone, you know this is important to me right? I want you to listen to me first, ok? What I’m saying is amazing value here and people need to hear me really well. Way more than that aeroplane a few miles up you may be thinking of recording. I love you and I want you to only listen to me, so this mic and me are going to make sure that happens. Cool? Awesome :)’
You plug it in before you start and that’s it. Great sound. (Details later).
This video shows the difference a mic can make with background noise much better than I can describe it.
The background noise (fire alarm testing & train announcements) was so loud in sections I couldn’t hear myself – but my viewers could hear me, and hear me clearly.
Wind is an air current.
An air current is movement across your mic. Your voice is movement across your mic. You can see the problem.
My first tip is don’t Periscope on a mountainside, during a gale or any especially other windy occasion. Wind is a nightmare for sound engineers (the serious sound experts) and it takes some seriously expensive kit to get good sound in a really windy environment.
If you want to Periscope or record a video in a windy location (like the top of a cliff) you need to take extra precautions, like creating a sound studio (ask someone to hold egg boxes around the mic) or use a natural sound buffer, like the quiet side of a very big rock.
In my first Periscope video above, I was under a tree in a shelter made of branches for the local children. It created a natural sound studio. (If this level of detail is too much, you don’t need to worry about remembering it, you’ll know more with practice or just use your mic and forget about the rest).
Most of the time, we’re talking normal levels of air current, the kind you normally don’t notice.
The simple solution is a thing called a muffler or dead cat, the fluffy thing next to the mic in the photo. This one is in the usual grey black. You can also buy them in a range of colours.
You pop it over the mic and that’s it.
It won’t fall off mid-Periscope as they’re designed not to. To remove the mic from the dead cat you pull hard and it comes off easily. You won’t damage your mic by pulling hard. Quality sound equipment is made to be used and won’t fall apart at the slightest thing.
Some phones have great built in mics and in a quiet environment it’s all you need.
Do a test recording (it doesn’t need to be on Periscope) and listen to what the quality is like.
If your phone has good built in mic quality, if you’re only going to be on Periscope in a quiet room then you may not need anything else.
If you’re recording videos or audio for course or blog content or podcasts, I’d still recommend using a mic. Quality sound is the simplest way for your content to feel really professional to your listener/viewer.
Again, if you’re planning on staying still in a quiet room with a phone with a good built in mic, and that’s all you’re ever going to do, then you may not need a mic.
If you’re going to be outside or moving around, then you may need a mic. Movement creates an air current around you, which as you already know now, creates ‘noise’ around your voice and reduces the sound quality of your amazing content.
Cats, being the special creatures they are, are guaranteed to want special time as soon as you start recording.
Using a muffler/dead cat (so called because it is furry and whoever named it has an interesting sense of humour) minimises the chance of your cat’s desire for cuddles to affect your sound quality.
The reason for this is what really matters for Periscope is quality sound.
However, for course content, blog content and videos, you do need a good quality image, so use wifi or mobile wifi (mobile wifi is a wifi gadget you can buy from the mobile phone providers, it isn’t your phone’s mobile data connection).
I use the Rode VideoMic Me directional mic for iPhone, iPad, Android and tablets.
Directional means the mic picks up your voice – and not whatever noise happens to be about, like aeroplanes and traffic.
(The listing in the link says iPhone and iPad only in the title. That isn’t correct, I have an Android and it works really well.)
It’s £59 at the moment and it’s an excellent mic that’s super easy to use for a low price that will last you for a long time if you look after it.
Rode are one of the major brands for sound equipment used by sound engineers and folks like the BBC. I really appreciate being able to get that kind of quality at a price that isn’t hundreds of pounds.
You’ll agree that the technical qualifications are low. You don’t need to understand it, or understand how it works, or know the tech specification.
You buy the mic, put it into your headphone socket before you start and that’s it.
(Ok, you do need to take the mic out afterwards 🙂 )
It’s so simple there isn’t even a decision to be made.
So, let’s get into how you add this gorgeous new mic into your accounts and tax return and whether it’s tax deductible.
It’s a bit more complicated to put the mic into your accounts/tax return than it is to use it, but not by much.
Tax-deductible means HMRC give you tax relief. A capital item means something you bought that will last for several years at least. It’s different to day to day costs which are called expenses.
There is more information about capital items, when they’re tax-deductible and what to do with them in your tax return in the How To Do Your Tax Return course (it’s pretty simple once you know how).
You can download the course and get instant access here (including a capital items ‘cheat sheet’).
I understand sound equipment can feel a bit daunting.
This mic is a really easy way to get started and good sound really makes so much difference.
Behind the scenes, so many businesses like yours use low cost professional sound equipment and you can hear the difference in their Periscopes, podcasts and videos.
If you’re going to step up and #makeithappen, you deserve to sound the best you can be.
If you need support starting your business, taking your business to the next level as a limited company – or for your tax return as a sole trader, get in touch.
If you’re interested in my retreats, have a look at my Demystify Limited Companies retreat for a taster of what will be coming up. (Locations in Sussex, London and Berks/Herts/Oxon).
Sign up to be the first to hear about future retreats (including a Do Your Tax Return mini retreat in London).
If you need easy to understand courses and guides with printable checklists and a sense of humour and mentions of cake, have a look in my shop.