Audio can sound different depending on how you play it back. Use this technique to make sure your levels work with any medium.

What ruins a film quicker than bad visuals? Bad audio. Sound is one of the most immersive elements in film, and when it’s off, it can take your viewer completely out of the experience.

If you’re like me, then you’ve been in the awkward situation of showing off your film to your friends on your living room TV, and the audio plays back completely differently than it did on your computer after the export, and you can hear everyone silently judging you. So, how do you make sure that your project sounds the same on every device? Don’t worry: the folks over at The Film Look are here to help out.

Try Out Different Speakers While Mixing

Production Tip: How to Optimize Your Audio Levels — Different Speakers

When you’re in an edit, your perception can become warped after a while, especially if you’re working with only one playback medium, like headphones. After a while, you may get the perfect mix for your headphones, but once you listen to the track on speakers, the mix doesn’t translate. Headphones are perfect for creating your soundspace because of all the detail you can hear, but speakers are better for the final edit. Switch it up every now and then once you’ve got a solid mix. If you have access to monitor speakers, even better.

Test the Volume on All Devices

Production Tip: How to Optimize Your Audio Levels — Test Volume

If you’re uploading your video to a platform like YouTube, you want to make sure that the sound quality is top-notch on every device. From phone speakers to headphones, your audio quality should be consistent. To ensure this, export your video and test it on various devices. Are there sounds that aren’t translating well to a certain device? Then go back to your mastering software and boost the levels of that sound. But make sure you don’t boost anything too much at once — try to find a happy medium that works on all platforms.

Using Volume Referencing

Production Tip: How to Optimize Your Audio Levels — Volume Referencing

If you’re looking for an easy way to determine if your volume is at the correct levels, try volume referencing. To do this, pull up a show or movie from a platform like Netflix and watch it for a few minutes. After you’ve determined the levels, quickly switch to your film without changing the volume level on your TV. Is it too loud? Too soft?

Once that you have a reference, you can adjust your volume levels on your master mix to match the volume of a professionally mastered film. Now, you can be confident that your film will sound great on any platform.

Looking for more production tips? Check out these articles.