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Can we save money by shooting outside?

Can we save money by shooting outside?” In the first part, we focused primarily on the lighting challenges of shooting outside. Today we’re focusing our attention on the audio challenges of shooting outside

I shared the 3 characteristics of natural lighting: brightness, angles and color. I shared how it’s those same characteristics that make shooting narrative outside difficult. For this episode though, we’re going to explore the audio challenges of shooting outside.

The Audio Challenges of Filming Outside

Sound, unlike lighting, is clueless when it comes to brightness, angles and color. But like lighting,

capturing live sound outside can have it’s own challenges.

Why? Because natural sound is constantly changing. And just like lighting, those changes can be distracting, and lead your audience to notice more of the random changes in lighting and sound, rather than the actual content of your video.

The 2 Types of Outdoor Sounds

If you stop to think about it, there are really just 2 types of outdoor sounds: natural and man-made.

Natural sounds include:

  • insects

  • animals

  • birds

  • wind

  • water

Man-made sounds include:

  • vehicles

  • airplanes

  • lawnmowers

  • blowers

  • weed-eaters

  • chainsaws

From many years of experience, and some definite trial and error, I have learned that…

Setting up a camera outside is like flipping a switch for crickets, barking dogs, airplanes, lawnmowers and chainsaws to do their thing.

What had been totally silent a few minutes before, quickly becomes a cacophony of sound and distraction. But even if these outdoor sounds are only sporadic, they are still problematic. Why is that?

Imagine for a moment that we’re shooting. We film all the wide shots for a scene, then the medium or close-up shots. But if we’ve got crickets on the wide shot and wind on the close-up, then when those shots are edited together you’ll instantly hear those abrupt changes. This is very distracting and gets your audience thinking more about what’s wrong, and not the story.

Good News

If the sounds are not major, we can use room tone to minimize them.

Bad News

If the sounds are major, we can re-record and replace the dialogue in post, but that requires more planning, more crew, more equipment, more time, and more money.

So, over these last 2 blogs we’ve learned the following:

When it comes to shooting outside, the beauty of outdoor lighting and sound can become a beast.

Which brings us back to the short answer, that “no,” you usually can’t save money by shooting outside.


If you have questions about shooting your video outside, send me an email to

If you found this episode helpful, please hit the like button below or share it with a friend, someone you know who can use a little video help.

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