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Looking at many of the videos on YouTube and other video sharing sites, is a master class in how not to create a video -- particularly with regard to the sound recording. Here's how you can avoid falling into the trap of sounding like you are recording in a bucket.

The built in microphone that comes with your camcorder has one advantage: it doesn't cost you extra! But it is extremely basic and only really suitable for close up work. This is because it is an "omni-directional" microphone. In plain English, this means it picks up sound from all directions. So, if you are videoing someone further away from the camera than a couple of feet (60 cms), not only will their voice be getting fainter, the further away they are, but -- at the same time -- the microphone will be picking up increasing amounts of other unwanted sounds. This will include the reflected sound of the voice you are recording, bouncing off the walls, resulting in echoes and the "in a bucket" effect.

The solution is to copy what the professionals do -- but without spending the big bucks they do! The technique, which allows you to video at a reasonable distance from the talent, yet still record decent quality sound is called "close mikeing". This sounds very grand, but is simply having a separate microphone on a long lead, plugged into the sound input of the camera. That way you can have the mike close enough to the talent to record them properly -- even if it is omni-directional, whilst having the camera sufficiently far away not to be pointing up their nose!

Of course, the better the quality of this microphone, the better the sound quality you will achieve. I often use a Sony lapel mike, which only cost me about $10, yet gives an acceptable result for web site and YouTube videos. A lavalier mike from Radio Shack gives better quality, and is less prone to picking up rustling when attached to your clothes, and runs about $50 with the long lead and an in-line battery.

If you are aiming to produce higher quality videos -- perhaps on DVD -- you should consider a condenser microphone, which is "directional" or "uni - directional" -- collecting sound only from the direction in which it is pointing. That results in a far higher quality of the wanted sound, as well as eliminating unwanted sound from any other directions. These run about $300 upwards, although you might be able find a cheaper one on eBay.

Virtually all external video mikes run on batteries, so be sure to switch on before you start to record and remember to switch off when you are done. Also, always have a spare battery.

To discover more secrets about making your own great videos on a shoestring budget and see how easily you can enjoy creating free videos on autopilot for a flood of quality traffic visit: video_creation_secrets

Paul Hooper-Kelly owns two on-line TV stations and has helped many people move up to web site video on a shoestring budget. He is a full time writer and video creator, who has published 21 books and multi-media courses and far too many videos and articles to mention here.