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Old May 11th, 2010, 06:21 PM   #1
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Software question....

I am going to be shooting some outdoor interview scenes and I am wondering which software people would recommend.

I know audio engineering is a enormous task in itself and I am wanting to become the best I can at it. I am getting great results with the techniques I use to capture indoor audio, but outside there are all kinds of factors that can ruin audio in a hurry.

What kind of audio programs do tv shows use that remove most of the background noise when a person is talking to a camera- the best example would be in travel shows (ie. Departures: http://www.departuresentertainment.com/about.html).

I use Senheisser shot gun mics and wireless lavs....I am just looking to get the absolute best audio I can to match the great pictures coming out of the EX3.

Any help would be great!

Thanks,

Brent
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Old May 11th, 2010, 07:56 PM   #2
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Any 'software based' noise-reduction is done in post-production. At best, even with the most expensive NR plugins, you can attenuate the BG noise, but not remove it, at least without very audible artifacts. The "fix it in the mix" attitude is not a good way to approach capturing audio... sound-for-picture, music of otherwise... at least IMO.
On location, choosing the appropriate mic, placement, orientation, ect. ect., takes skill & years of experience. In some instances a different location may be the only option. (or ADR)
Cardioid lavs, work well in very noisy outdoor locations, but that opens up another whole box of problems. I used to use the ECM-55 in noisy locations for news type shows, a "very tight' omni, but it's freaking huge.. The AT899 seems to be a relatively 'tight'. Zeppelin type wind protection is a must for shotguns as well as windscreens and under-clothing mounting accessories for lavs.

Last edited by Rick Reineke; May 11th, 2010 at 08:43 PM.
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Old May 11th, 2010, 08:25 PM   #3
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Checked out a few of those clips and I still hear the ambient sound. There are no signs of lavs either so I'd imagine a good boom operator is partially to blame.

The audio post engineer (a job which I have done for almost 20 years now) is responsible for making it seem like there's nothing being done to the audio when in fact, there's generally a LOT happening under the hood. Very difficult to do in some instances depending on what was actually recorded.

Rick is right about the "fix it in the mix" attitude. Put a little more bluntly, you can't shine $hit! HaHa! Just like the video end, shoot it right, record it right and your product will be SO much better. Leaves more time for the creative which is what we all love about this career!

If you listen carefully, the music comes up and the mics get faded out which helps minimize the noise from the live recording. In a couple of the episodes, it was quite windy and it comes through in the mix. Personally, I would have dropped some low end during post to minimize the wind gusts BUT only during the gusts not over the whole voice track. Automation is your friend! To try to cut all ambient out is a mistake.

Noise reduction software comes into play if there's a problem like hum or hiss and there's plenty of choices. Being a Pro Tools guy, I use DINR. Not sure about the other platforms. If you don't want to deal with plugins, EQ can get rid of hiss and hum too. And if your boom operator forgets to use a roll-off on the mic, you will want to dial down the low end a bit.

Hope this helps!
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Old May 11th, 2010, 09:18 PM   #4
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I love BG noise, It audibly establishes the location. (especially in travel shows) But.. and that's a big butt... masking the talent, host or other key dialog audio.. not good.

Yes sir Robert, "Polishing a Turd". We try to avoid it.
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Old May 11th, 2010, 10:38 PM   #6
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Thanks for the responses...

Yes, I understand the removing all background noise would be next to impossible and I too wouldn't want to take everything out.

I just want to be able to make the best audio track possible.

Thanks for the insight!

And Robert, the show "Departures" is filmed with 1 crew....just the cameraman and his steadicam. There is no audio crew or anyone else, just him and his two friends whom he films.
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Old May 12th, 2010, 12:26 AM   #7
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Great list from Dan

For what it's worth I really like Izotope. The newest version of Sound Soap is supposedly pretty good - I have it but haven't had a chance to play with it yet.

A friend had a recording of a string trio where part way through the cellist bumped the instrument against something. Horrible noise and it cut right across the range of the instrument - in other words the noise had all the same characteristics as the instrument itself. I was able to get it out with Izotope and since then I've been a fan

I've had good luck with the more or less standard AC noise, hum etc using both Sound Soap and Izotope

Can't comment on any of the others - although I sometimes think of Cedar as the gold standard - both because they are good and because it takes a lot of gold

Last edited by Jim Andrada; May 12th, 2010 at 02:54 AM.
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Old May 12th, 2010, 11:03 AM   #8
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Thanks for the links.... I checked out a few and I downloaded the demo from Izotope. I was impressed with what they could do in the demo videos.

I ran a section of audio through it and I was surprised with how much I could remove from the track... with a lot of practice I think a good audio program will work wonders (which coincides with recording the best audio possible from the source).

I'm attaching a link here...I taped my granpa's 95th birthday open house recently and the audio could use a lot of work. It was a medium sized room with lots of people in it so there is all kinds of background noise. I used a lav mic on him. I was able to take out quite a bit of the noise in Izotope but was left with a bit of mechanical/watery sound for the background. I was just playing around, didn't read any how to's or anything yet.

If anyone wants to take a crack at a short clip and see what they can come up with I would be very thankful!
Regards,

Brent

This clip is unedited, in its original form.

Last edited by Brent Hallman; October 18th, 2011 at 12:10 AM.
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Old May 18th, 2010, 01:00 AM   #9
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Just got back from a trip and haven't had time to listen to the clip yet. Maybe in a day or two...
Watery sounds usually indicate that you've been a bit too aggressive in removing noise. I've found it more common when replacing noise than when attenuating it.

The software is good, but it isn't magic!!!
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