Take the time before you press that red button. Is there no background noise that can go out (music, air conditioning), is there a room that sounds less hollow? Does the interviewee perhaps have a ringing bracelet that will become annoying when you hear it later? You need the exclusive audio support for that.
That’s why you always have a good closed headset with you because your eyes deceive your ears. You pay much more attention to facial expression, facial expressions and other things, while your brain is effectively filtering out annoying background noise; a microphone cannot. Also always record some ambient noise or silence before or after the interview, so that you have
Fortunately, these days, reading is faster than real-time: you drag your media onto your timeline or import directly from your recorder or SD card. And then the clean work can begin. Often you are in a hurry or just want to get started right away. Nevertheless, it is worth first doing some homework. Sometimes the files have the names of the recorder or simply Audio 1, Audio 2.
Before you start cutting and scrolling, it makes sense to give the files the correct names and also in a way that they themselves easy to organize. Of course, you can do that at your own discretion: “INT Justin 160208” and “INT Justin 160214” ensure that all interviews with Justin are arranged in chronological order. In addition: should your computer which never crashes suddenly give up, at least you can still recognize the files if you have to dig them up from your disk.
The same applies to name and using the tracks: better all audio with the same origin “INT Outside” (all interviews with Justin outside) or the same purpose (MUS, SFX, VO) on separate tracks. That also means that if someone else has to continue with your session, they will have a good overview of the different layers. It is also practical because editors often apply to process by track, which is different for a voice-over than for interviews on a windy dyke or in a hollow office. And it also saves time (= money) in that expensive studio!
Garbage in, Garbage Out
Your production sounds as good as the worst component. Even if you have a very expensive sound card or interface, you won’t hear anything back on speakers of a few decades. Microphone and speakers (or headphones) are the input and output of your very expensive process, and they must, therefore, be of sufficient quality. Fortunately, the prices for good equipment have never been this low, so it doesn’t have to be a loss.
It is also often forgotten that speakers really have to stand in the same angle, preferably with the tweeters (treble) on eye level. If it is your work, you must, therefore, make room for it: not one speaker on a stack of books on the left and the other behind the plant on the right. Your brain is very sensitive to timing differences between left and right; that is even evolutionary, as part of our hunting instinct. It is therefore not at all freaky to use a geo-triangle and to place both speakers at an equal distance of 60 °, if necessary on a platform, a shelf or on speaker stands or slightly tilted backwards. Of course, you will not listen to your prize-winning production with the earphones of your phone: a good headset is a half-open or closed model and is comfortable, even with prolonged use. Of course, there may be a need to mount with headphones (your partner or children are already asleep), but you still do the better mix work on speakers. For the time being, this is and remains the most common target format in which the end user will hear it again: in the car or living room.