What’s More Important? Quality Audio or Quality Visual?

I made the statement that audio is the most important part of a video.

Now I’m not sure.

After giving it more thought, I’ve come to the conclusion that this is both true and false. Read more and agree or disagree with me. Let me know your thoughts by voting in the poll below.

3 Reasons Why Audio is More Important:


1. A video with bad audio is distracting and annoying. It’s frustrating to hear the buzz of a fan in the background when there shouldn’t be.

Background noise that finds its way into your video is a clear sign of amateurism or bad budget spending. Even worse than background noise is bad volume control.

We’ve all experienced that point in the movie where the main characters are having an important and intense conversation, but instead of enjoying the story you’re looking for ways to up the volume and the remote is always in the last place you look!

2. Bad audio is much worse than bad visual.

If you watch an old video and the picture is a bit fuzzy or grainy, that adds to a sense of nostalgia. If you watch an old video and all you hear is wind ripping through the mic as you’re trying to enjoy a scene of your vacationing around Chicago, then you’ll find yourself once again, looking for a remote to fast forward the part.

Bad video you can get by with. Not every shot has to be perfectly lit and framed, not every pan has to be perfectly steady, but if you have terrible audio, then that’s much harder to get over than bad video.

3. Good audio doesn’t need video. If you were born early enough, you’ll remember an audio drama or adventure coming through the radio or tape deck.

The visual was created in your mind and the audio was the trigger. Sounds and dialogue can take you a long way.

I’ve never seen a fully silent movie that had at least no music. Yes, I know Charlie Chaplin was “silent”, but even in his films there was a soundtrack.

Truth is that silence is much more uncomfortable than having nothing to look at.

After more careful consideration, I came up with 1 really good reason why video was more important than audio.

1 Really Good Reason the Visual is More Important:

Now matter how good the audio is, if the video is bad, you’ll stop watching. I cant say the same is true about good audio.


What is bad video? There can be quality issues with the film, leaving you a grainy, or off color effect, but that’s not bad video. That’s effect.

You can even have a bit of flickering, but that’s not the worse thing about video. Bad video is when someone doesn’t capture the action they were following. Bad video is so shaky you start to feel sick if you watch too long.

Bad video is zooms that are too fast and pans that make you think you’re in the middle of a tornado. If I’m watching this, I don’t care how good the audio is, I’m turning that off. However an incredible video who terrible audio can be muted so you can enjoy the rest of the visual beauty of what you’re watching.

So vote now!

Here’s an example of both bad and good Audio. After watching, let me know which has a bigger impact on your viewing experience.

Audio Example from Complete Weddings – Videography on Vimeo.


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