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Old October 20th, 2003, 07:12 PM   #1
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Traffic noise

Hey, guys, just finished shooting a scene with dialogue and it looks great. Unfortunately, I had to shoot on a busy street and have a lot of traffic noise in the background. I used an AT shotgun mike, but there is still too much traffic noise.

I use a Mac with FCP 4 and I have Peak as well.

Does anyone have a suggestion how I can reduce the traffic noise without killing the vibrancy of the dialogue? Other than through looping?

Any suggestions (other than looping) are really appreciated. Be as specific as possible. Thanks.

Andy C.
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Old October 20th, 2003, 07:26 PM   #2
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I faced this same issue in the last thing I did... we didn't have time for looping, and liked the performance so I did a combination of EQing out some of the rumble (like the bus revving up) and just going through and dropping the levels between each word. This was tedious, and a trained ear will notice it (because the noise is present behind the words, but not in between), but the conversation was kinda clippy so it worked out decently. Underscoring helped smooth it all out a bit.

Good luck.
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Old October 20th, 2003, 08:05 PM   #3
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I just checked the settings we used...

I put a high-pass filter on the audio and set the cut-off frequency to 122 HZ. This cut out almost all of the traffic noise and didn't change the vocal quality much at all .... if we had been using James Earl Jones we might have faced a problem there, but our budget would have been higher :). Even up at 150 Hz you started hearing it thin the voices.

In case you don't know... a high-pass filter allows higher frequency sounds to pass through, but attenunates lower frequency sounds...

I did this in Premiere Pro, but any good system should have that filter.

Try it out.
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Old October 21st, 2003, 12:01 PM   #4
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Thanks, that sounds like a plan. I'm going to give it a try later.

I liked the performance and the quality of their voices, and this sounds like it will help without sacrificing too much in the way of voice quality.

Anyone tried using Soundsoap for this sort of thing?


Cheers,

Andy C.
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Old November 20th, 2003, 07:18 PM   #5
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Rolling off the low end (using a high-pass filter) is an excellent strategy, one which we often forget about.

The penalty is remarkbly slight...Jay Rose currently has a very informative writeup on DV.com (complete with graphical demonstrations) about how little information is conveyed at the extremes of the audio spectrum...basically nothing in voice below 100Hz and, remarkably, almost nothing below 60Hz even with well-recorded music. Most of the enrgy in this range winds up as wasted amplifier power and woofer excursions.

FCP has a very flexible high-pass filter, along with a number of other filters and equalizers to really fine "tune" your audio. I wish I had more time to use them in post.
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