Getting Mono Narration to Come Out of Both Speakers at DVinfo.net

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Old March 17th, 2008, 01:52 AM   #1
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Getting Mono Narration to Come Out of Both Speakers

Hi everyone,

Iíve got a problem with my wildlife documentary (http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=111070) where the narration doesnít show up with certain DVD players and TVs. This has happened very few times. I already discussed the issue here: http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=101706 but the threadís old and Iím looking for more specific feedback. It looks like the two channels of my stereo narration are canceling each other out. I ended up experimenting in Sound Forge 7.0 and I was able to isolate left and right tracks. Eventually, I did something where I thought Iíd get mono narration from two speakers when I rendered from Vegas. I think I made a mono copy of my narration in Sound Forge and then rendered that in stereo in Vegas. But, the narration still came out of one speaker on my TV. I thought the problem could be related to my DVD burning process which involved Adobe Encore 1.5. But, recently, in addition to having problems with my DVD copy on their projector player, the International Wildlife Film Festival staff also had problems playing a Beta tape of my project that I had made from an .AVI file on an external hard drive. The key problem was that narration would not show up. Thus I think Iím pretty well disqualified this year. So, it looks like Iíve got to settle my narration audio problem once and for all since it will haunt me for perpetuity if I donít.

Basically, is there a way I can turn stereo narration into mono narration and have it come out of both speakers of a TV? Thatís all I really need to do. Otherwise, I guess Iíd be stuck with narration coming out of one speaker if I go mono. Is narration out of one speaker common? Anyway, that might be the only way to make my project as widely compatible as possible. I also think lowering my DVD bit-rate from 9 mb/sec to 7 mb/sec might help with overall compatibility. Still, my narration audio problem seems to mainly be linked to the fact that my narration was recorded in stereo. Anyhow, Iíd appreciate any input. I know it must seem pretty dumb that I didnít solve this problem a long time ago. Thanks.

Regards,
Tristan
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Old March 17th, 2008, 02:32 AM   #2
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phase cancellation?

if the problem is phase cancellation, flip the phase on one channel (if your program has this option). or only use one channel panned to the center. was the narration recorded with two mics or a stereo mic (which should not have phase problems...)? if two, pick the best sounding one and delete the other from the timeline.
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Old March 17th, 2008, 08:45 AM   #3
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Brian's on the right track, I think. First try the simplest approach. Load the original project back into Vegas and select the narration track. In the edit menu, choose "channels, combine." Using the mixer panel, pan the resulting mono track to output to both channels equally. If that doesn't resolve your problem - and if it's a phase issue between the channels it won't, but you'll hear it when you preview in Vegas - try selecting "left only" or "right only" instead of combining them.

FYI, a stereo project should always be downmixed to mono and reviewed to make sure it'll still be okay before you release it. Just because a project is mixed and rendered in stereo doesn't mean it'll still be stereo by the time it gets to the audience.

PS: Just dl'd a clip (the bucks fighting) from your site and the narration does sound "phasey." Your voice is diffuse and smeared to the sides of my monitor speakers rather than localized and centred solidly in between them.
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Old March 17th, 2008, 10:18 PM   #4
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mono mic plugged into stereo input?

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old March 20th, 2008, 05:36 PM   #5
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Problem Solved

Hi everyone,

Brian, my narration was recorded with a stereo mic. Steve, I did exactly what you said. I combined the channels in Vegas and when I previewed, the narration could barely be heard. So, I got a simulation of what people here when my sound problem is apparent. I ended up selecting ďright onlyĒ and panning my narration track to the center. In my Vegas preview, the mono narration came out of both speakers and when I burned a copy and tried it on a player that has had problems with my video, the narration was actually audible. So, Iím pretty sure my sound problem is solved. Wow, the solution seems way too easy. I should have done that months ago instead of messing with making a large mono file in Sound Forge. Also, thanks for watching one of my video clips. I know my narration isnít as uniform and normalized as the experienced pros but I couldnít tell that it sounded phasey. Actually, my narration was recorded in my bedroom so Iím lucky it came out as good as it did.

Anyway, Brian and Steve, thanks a bunch for your advice and help. Youíve helped me solve a serious problem. I really appreciate it.

Regards,
Tristan
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Old March 24th, 2008, 01:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tristan Howard View Post
I ended up selecting ďright onlyĒ and panning my narration track to the center
That's the key - just ignore or throw away the other recorded channel. For dialog/narration, it's usually best to use a mono track and pan as required.

- Martin
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Old March 24th, 2008, 09:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Pauly View Post
That's the key - just ignore or throw away the other recorded channel. For dialog/narration, it's usually best to use a mono track and pan as required.

- Martin
Always best to take one side of a dual-mono recording not both.

A stereo track in mono will have the mono track twice (L+R). There is no reason to take both and it has been the recognized form to take one side as far back as the 1/4" tape days and maybe before.
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Old March 25th, 2008, 10:04 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tristan Howard View Post
...Still, my narration audio problem seems to mainly be linked to the fact that my narration was recorded in stereo...
There is nothing wrong w/ doing a dual mono recording. I like to send a hotter level to one of the tracks and let the editor choose which track to use and when to use it. But, clearly...your mistake was trying to keep both tracks when they were identical. In that case you needed to just delete one of the puppies.

Don't get hung up on the stereo thing. Do your left/right, front/back and center imaging at the final stage of sweetening the naration. Keep it mono on your editing timeline.

Always listen to your final mix in MONO to check for phase problems. Plus, many folks have there home sound systems wired up out of phase unknowingly.
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Old March 25th, 2008, 12:13 PM   #9
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Martin, Jimmy, and James are all correct about using only one of the tracks. My suggestion to combine them was basically to test to see if phase issues were in fact the source of the original problem.
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