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Old September 14th, 2007, 02:38 PM   #1
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Candidate for the worst possible narrator

I'm working on a video for my church that's honoring someone for their years of service, so I had them get all of the info and people together (as I just got here less than a year ago). They told me that the lady doing the narration (voiceover), his daughter, was an incredible public speaker. Awesome.

Problem: When she arrived at the church, I found out something they didn't know, either. I'm not sure what it's called, but she has had a "tracheotomy" (sp), and so she has a hole in her throat. Every time she breathes in, there is a loud gasping noise that can be similar to a person coming out of water right before they reach drowning point. This is our narrator. I don't care if the voice over person has 5 heads. No one will see it. THIS is possibly in the top 10 for worst things for narration. Does anyone have any ideas to get this out? Should I leave it in? It's pretty distracting. I mean, I've doctored old photos that were ripped up and brown stained in Photoshop. Wouldn't correcting her voice be the same thing?

I'm currently using FCS (with Soundtrack), but I'm not experienced with ST. I spend time in video, not audio. Please help!
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Old September 14th, 2007, 02:47 PM   #2
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I edited an audio track one time in which the narrator took a deep and distractingly audible breath before every sentence. Fortunately there was always a frame of space before the voice, so I was able to edit out all the breaths. It was a royal pain to do that, but sometimes that's what you've got to do. It would be best, probably, to get another narrator.
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Old September 14th, 2007, 03:03 PM   #3
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I can't, as she's his daughter, and that's what the mother wants. I may try the cuts right before.
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Old September 14th, 2007, 03:33 PM   #4
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Alex,

Cutting the breath intake is going to be your best bet. Also, you could use some room tone to give YOURSELF some breathing space. Treat each 'line' she delivers as a seperate piece of audio... don't be afraid to alter the timing of her delivery by adding room tone. It will go along way in matching picture to audio anyway.
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Old September 14th, 2007, 03:39 PM   #5
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Room tone? Is that just like taking a sample of the white noise in the room when no one is talking, then filling that in as BG audio so it doesn't just cut in and out?
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Old September 14th, 2007, 05:20 PM   #6
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You generally use room tone when you space the narration out, so you don't cut to dead space in the audio track. Not so important if there's music under. If the cut of the breath sounds a little fake to you, you my want to try to take it way down and do a 2-4 frame fade up at the beginning of the sentence; that could make it sound more natural.
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Old September 14th, 2007, 05:31 PM   #7
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Bills got a good point,depending on exactly how the intake sounds, a bit of a 'fade up' into the line delivery might be helpful. It just depends.

And yes, room tone is used to balance the audio between cuts. Whenever you record, you should take a moment to get sixty seconds of 'room tone' on a tape. (You might could find it anyway, if you go hunting for it). Every room has a 'tone' ... the acoustics of the air conditioning, and other such elements. It's never just totally silent. Room tone is used to balance the mix.
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Old September 14th, 2007, 08:02 PM   #8
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Burp talking. You might not get away with taking it out completely, as it might sound unnatural. But you can reduce the level a bit on intake of breath and see if it's more usable. Might still need to add room tone if you reduce level.
My father used to teach people how to talk like that after having their vocal cords removed.
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Old September 16th, 2007, 04:36 PM   #9
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Alex,

You've had a lot of great advice on the technical aspect of helping to make this narration viable.

Now, if you'll allow it, I'd like to offer some advice on the non-technical part of the job.

You're working with something incredibly valuable here.

The ability to help a daugher honor her father in a public forum.

That's what is important. Not how the narrator's voice sounds.

Yes, I completely and totally understand your concern about the voice quality. And to the extent her vocal disability prevents the audience from hearing what she's saying - it needs to be addressed.

But the fact that the daugher is both able and brave enough to put herself out there exposing her difficulties to the congregation - is pretty compelling.

So while it's going to be hard work to make it the best you can, it's also good and valuable work.

This is what "service" is all about. Keeping your eye on what others need, and figuring out how you can help.

So don't fall into the trap of thinking of this as a "chore" - think about it as a privledge. Enjoy every SECOND of the work you do on this.

You'll understand why when you get to listen to the result during the memorial.

I understand your thread title - but it's not accurate. She's probably the BEST narrator you could possibly have.
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Old September 16th, 2007, 07:21 PM   #10
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If this was me, I would approach the lady in question and tell her that she has an excellent voice, but that her breathing distracts from the narration she is giving. This should come as no surprise to her, as most people with some sort of impediment know how it affects their presentation. If not, then you might play her an example from the audio tape. Point out to her that you want her to sound as best as possible in the final product.Then, I would ask her if we could re-tape the narration, but this time with a one-second pause after she takes a breath to give you a window to edit out the sound of her inhaling.

Handled with tact and respect, you can get the audio you need and produce a fitting video as well.

This isn't so much a technical issue, but a human one. How you handle it depends on the lady and how she might take a criticism.

Martin
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Old September 16th, 2007, 10:14 PM   #11
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I appreciate all of your help, and I understand what you're all saying. I don't get to work on it again until Tuesday, but I should find out what that part will sound like by the end of the day.
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