How to Record Audio and Video Separately and Should You?

Summary :

On this page, you’ll learn how to record audio separately while screen recording, and whether you should do that. Detailed explanations are provided.

Table of Contents

How to Record Audio and Video Separately

How to Record Audio and Video Separately

In short, recording audio and video separately allows for better control during editing, higher audio and video quality, and the ability to repurpose content across different platforms.

While it may require additional effort, the upsides are often worth the complex setups.

Record Audio and Video Separately: Step by Step

Below you’ll learn the detailed steps to record audio and video separately using screen recording software. For demonstration, we’ll be using OBS, which is a rather popular open-source screen recorder.

OBS does not natively support the separation of audio and video into different files during recording. However, you can manage your audio tracks separately within a single video file and then extract or use them independently in post-production.

1. If you haven’t already, download OBS Studio from the official website and install it on your computer.

Download Install OBS

Download Install OBS

2. Open OBS Studio and ensure it has access to your camera, microphone, and other necessary permissions.

3. Click on File in the menu bar and select Settings.

Go to Settings

Go to Settings

4. In the Settings window, go to the Output tab. Change the Output Mode from Simple to Advanced.

Go to Advanced Mode

Go to Advanced Mode

5. Under the Recording tab, select MPEG-4 as the Recording Format. Note that MP4 is recommended because it supports multiple audio tracks.

Set Recording Format as MP4

Set the Recording Format as MP4

6. In the same Recording tab, you will see options to enable multiple audio tracks. Check the boxes for the number of tracks you want to record (up to 6 tracks).

Set the Number of Tracks

Set the Number of Tracks

7. Go to the Audio settings in OBS and configure your audio devices (e.g., microphone, desktop audio).

Configure Audio Devices

Configure Audio Devices

8. In the main OBS window, click on the gear icon in Audio Mixer to go to Advanced Audio Properties. Assign each audio source to a different track. For example, you can assign your microphone to Track 1 and desktop audio to Track 2.

Assign Source to Track

Assign Source to Track

9. Once everything is set up, click the Start Recording button in OBS. OBS will now record your video and audio sources into separate tracks within the same file.

10. After recording, you can use video editing software like DaVinci Resolve or Adobe Premiere Pro to separate and edit the individual audio tracks. Import the recorded file and you will see the separate audio tracks available for editing.

Separate Tracks in Davinci Resolver

Separate Tracks in Davinci Resolver


For more advanced audio editing, you can use software like Audacity (which we earlier used to convert MP3 to PDF) to record your microphone audio separately and then sync it with the video in post-production.

Advantages of Recording Separately

  • Higher Quality Audio: Recording audio separately with dedicated equipment can result in much higher quality because you can use professional microphones and audio recorders that are better than the built-in microphones on most cameras.
  • Flexibility in Mic Placement: You can place microphones closer to the sound source without being constrained by the video frame.
  • Less Noise: Separate audio recording can minimize the noise that cameras might introduce.
  • Post-Production Control: You have more control over the audio in post-production, allowing for better mixing, noise reduction, and effects application.
  • Non-Intrusive: If the video requires the camera to move around or be at a distance, recording audio separately allows for consistent audio quality.

Disadvantages of Recording Separately

  • Syncing Issues: You will need to synchronize the audio and video in post-production, which can be time-consuming if not done correctly during the recording (using clappers or timecodes).
  • More Equipment: You have to manage and set up more gear, which can be cumbersome and more expensive.
  • Complexity: It requires more expertise to handle and synchronize separate audio and video tracks properly.
  • Additional Post-Production: You’ll spend more time in editing, as you’ll have to align the tracks and make sure they stay synced throughout the video.

When to Record Separately?

  • Film Production: When creating a film or a professional video where audio quality is paramount.
  • Interviews: When the subject is stationary, and you can place a lapel mic or a boom mic close to them without the mic appearing in the shot.
  • Music Videos: Where the audio track is usually recorded separately and the video is shot to match the pre-recorded audio.
  • Noisy Environments: When the environment is noisy, and you need to control the audio capture closely.

When it Might be Okay to Record Together

  • Vlogging or Casual Content: If you’re creating content where convenience is more important than professional audio quality.
  • Live Streaming: When you’re broadcasting live, and it’s not feasible to sync audio and video in post.
  • Small Projects or Quick Turnaround: When the project is small or you need to deliver the content quickly, and the slight loss in quality is acceptable.

Best Practices for Separate Recording

  • Use a clapperboard or a sharp handclap at the beginning of the recording to create a visual and audio cue that helps with syncing.
  • Use timecode if your equipment supports it, as this can make syncing much easier in post-production.
  • Always monitor both audio and video during recording to ensure you’re capturing everything correctly.


Why record audio and video separately?

Recording audio and video separately often results in higher-quality sound because you can use specialized audio equipment that is better than the built-in microphones on most cameras.

This method also allows for more flexibility in microphone placement and the ability to use multiple microphones.

How do you sync audio and video in post-production?

Syncing can be done manually by matching a visual cue (like a clap) with an audio spike in editing software.

Alternatively, professional software offers automatic syncing based on waveform matching or timecode if both the audio recorder and camera support it.

What equipment do I need to record audio and video separately?

You’ll need a video camera, an external audio recorder, microphones (such as lavaliers, shotgun mics, etc.), and possibly additional equipment like headphones, audio cables, and mic stands or booms.

What is a clapperboard, and do I need one?

A clapperboard is a tool used in filmmaking and video production to assist in synchronizing picture and sound and to designate and mark particular scenes and takes recorded during a production.

The sharp “clap” sound it makes provides a spike in the audio that is easy to match with the visual clap, aiding in the syncing process.

Can I use any video editing software to sync audio and video?

Most video editing software allows you to sync audio and video, but the ease and methods available can vary.

Software like Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro X, and DaVinci Resolve have robust tools for syncing audio and video, including automatic sync features.

More Related Articles