If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section? - Page 5 at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > All Things Audio

All Things Audio
Everything Audio, from acquisition to postproduction.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old September 21st, 2012, 03:27 PM   #61
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Tucson AZ
Posts: 2,205
Re: If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?

+1 on real piano for piano solo and in good room

+0,75 on using synthesized piano for anything (just not 100% sure about this but probably OK - I'm a traditionalist at heart)

+1 on hiring hall with piano w the caveat that the acoustics of the hall be appropriate, the piano be of appropriate quality and state of repair and that your own tuner/tech sets it up.
Jim Andrada is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 21st, 2012, 04:17 PM   #62
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Camas, WA, USA
Posts: 5,513
Re: If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?

FWIW, pianos aren't synthesized these days. They're sampled. A typical piano lib will sample every key at about 16 different levels of dynamics with the pedal up and another 16 with the sustain pedal down. They also sample the release of the key so when you lift your finger, the note ends properly. So these recordings are of real pianos in real rooms.

The main difference between a real piano and a sampled piano is in the resonance between strings. Say that you play and hold a C-chord with the left hand while playing a melody with the right. The open strings of the C-chord will resonate a bit due to the melody notes. That doesn't happen with a typical sampled piano (though I'm sure that in a few years this cross resonance will be modeled and added by lots of fast CPU cycles.) But this cross resonance is subtle. It takes a trained ear to listen for it.

There is a big difference between a real piano and a sampled piano when playing live - the first's sounds come from the breadth of the instrument, while the second's sounds comes from speakers. But on a recording, it's pretty difficult to tell the two apart.

Sampled percussion is also really effective. It's sustain instruments like the violin and trumpet that show their flaws. And then there's the human signing voice...
__________________
Jon Fairhurst
Jon Fairhurst is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 21st, 2012, 04:59 PM   #63
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: LOWESTOFT - UK
Posts: 2,120
Re: If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?

Have a listen to these clips
http://www.limelight.org.uk/ShortBallettest02.mp3
http://www.limelight.org.uk/01-Reflections.wav

First two are the same piece, input with a Master keyboard, with sounds generated by two synths,
First one a Steinberg Halion synth/sampler - a multi instrument cheapish VSI on Cubase, this short section then repeats on a another VSI - A quite expensive Sampler called Colossus. This piano is a 1Gb sample set.

The second clip is the same pianist (and sorry I couldn't find the exact same track) played on a Yamaha, recorded in his home and costing more than my transit van!


So you can compare.

The pianist is actually happy with the one I hate the most - the first one in the list above. The second sample was played in a reverberant space, and is a quiet speaking, very mellow piano. I've got a Steinway sample - but my computer is too close to it's memory limit to load it!

The pianist took quite a few attempts to produce a fault free piece on the real piano. The plastic pianos meant we could record just a couple of takes and then edit out any wrong notes or slightly tinker with the phrasing and articulation - and time wise, it is at least twice as quick. I still prefer the real sound of a real piano.
Paul R Johnson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 21st, 2012, 05:41 PM   #64
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Tucson AZ
Posts: 2,205
Re: If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?

Hi Jon

Yes - I mis-spoke re synthesize vs sample.However I still believe a good real piano always sounds better for all the reasons you noted among others. My classical pianist wife hates any kind of digital trickery,and honestly doesn't really much like the sound of CD's but since I have no in house (ie in my house) means of pressing vinyl she has to yield on that point. And she's almost paranoid about anyone even looking like they might even be thinking about maybe possibly conceivably touching her Bechstein. Won't even let a tuner get near it until she's satisfied with how they do on the Yamaha grand that her students use. Can 't imagine any kind of "plastic piano" generating that kind of emotional connection.

Maybe in the end it's about recording the pianist more than about recording the piano, and the "chemistry" between performer and instrument has to be a big part of what one hears.
Jim Andrada is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 21st, 2012, 06:49 PM   #65
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Camas, WA, USA
Posts: 5,513
Re: If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?

One reason a real recording might sound better is the lack of noise reduction. On a real recording, you set the dynamic range, and if the pp notes are down near the noise, it doesn't matter. They're recorded and played back very quietly compared to the overall piece of music. If NR is applied to a live piece, it's done globally and hopefully tastefully.

Sample libs are pretty much forced to use noise reduction, since the pp notes can be played back individually and out of context. Even with tens of thousands in recording gear and a great soundstage, those super-quiet notes are hard to capture cleanly.

A guy I know sampled a piano for Garritan. After that experience, he was convinced that the pianist's touch on the keyboard would make notes sound unique, even if the hammer hit the string at the same exact velocity as when a mechanical finger would press the key. (I can't remember which technique they used. The mechanical approach gives the best note-to-note consistency without having to tweak the gains.)

After the recording and programming sessions, I'd swear that the guy had a touch of post traumatic sampling disorder. The search for absolute perfection in the performance, recording, and programming, coupled with handling an immense flood of data, had clearly been stressful. I guess that's the basic nature of perfection quests!

In any case, it's amazing what value one can get from a $100 sampled piano. It won't have the feel of a real beast, but for recorded material it's amazing how close they can get. I'd love to have a large room and a Bosendorfer, but for now, the sampled version will have to do. :) (Not to mention that my limited skills are more limiting than the technology!)
__________________
Jon Fairhurst
Jon Fairhurst is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 21st, 2012, 06:50 PM   #66
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,359
Re: If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Andrada
she's almost paranoid about anyone even looking like they might even be thinking about maybe possibly conceivably touching her Bechstein. Won't even let a tuner get near it until she's satisfied with how they do on the Yamaha grand that her students use. Can't imagine any kind of "plastic piano" generating that kind of emotional connection.
That's not emotional, that's rational. Protective, yes, but altogether rational. You wouldn't want some new, unknown "repairman" messing with your Nagra IV unless you were sure he knew his stuff... He might mis-align the heads or screw up linearity of the bias oscillator or...
Greg Miller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 21st, 2012, 08:36 PM   #67
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Tucson AZ
Posts: 2,205
Re: If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?

Well the paranoia so to speak actually extends to anyone even touching a key to see what the piano sounds like. A good friend and fellow low brass player who is also an accomplished piano re-builder was at the house and ran a finger over the keys and within a couple of seconds "Mama Bear" was making sure he wouldn't mess with her "cub" again any time soon.

The funny thing is that I really understand how she feels and it makes me wonder how much the tight coupling of the pianist and the piano influences the result - I think quite a lot. I know that when I sit with the tuba in my lap I get all kinds of feedback from being in such close proximity to the horn and I know it affects how I play. I had a cousin who was a cellist in the Philadelphia Orchestra for decades and he always said the same thing and told me repeatedly how the feel of different bows in his hand influenced the sound and how he would use different bows depending on what he was playing and in what context.

Oh well I seem to have gone off the deep end into philosophical meandering here, but I do think the real vs sampled question is really quite complex
Jim Andrada is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 22nd, 2012, 03:52 AM   #68
Major Player
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Oxfordshire, UK
Posts: 974
Re: If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Andrada View Post
Hi Jon

Yes - I mis-spoke re synthesize vs sample.However I still believe a good real piano always sounds better for all the reasons you noted among others. My classical pianist wife hates any kind of digital trickery,and honestly doesn't really much like the sound of CD's but since I have no in house (ie in my house) means of pressing vinyl she has to yield on that point. And she's almost paranoid about anyone even looking like they might even be thinking about maybe possibly conceivably touching her Bechstein. Won't even let a tuner get near it until she's satisfied with how they do on the Yamaha grand that her students use. Can 't imagine any kind of "plastic piano" generating that kind of emotional connection.

Maybe in the end it's about recording the pianist more than about recording the piano, and the "chemistry" between performer and instrument has to be a big part of what one hears.
I agree with all of this.

Though I am surprised she does not like CDs, as the limitations of analogue recording really show up with analogue and a digitally recorded CD of a piano is very much better than any analogue.

BUT - you have to choose the right microphones and get them in the right position as digital recording really shows up microphone limitations and the wrong mic. in the wrong place.

But, yes, recording solo piano is really a synergy of the pianist, the piano and the room - and the recordist has to capture this magic.

Luckily for me, people seem to like how I do this and I have tended to specialise in solo piano recordings.
__________________
John Willett - Sound-Link ProAudio and Circle Sound Services
President: Fédération Internationale des Chasseurs de Sons
John Willett is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 22nd, 2012, 01:23 PM   #69
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: UK
Posts: 112
Re: If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson View Post
Have a listen to these clips
http://www.limelight.org.uk/ShortBallettest02.mp3
http://www.limelight.org.uk/01-Reflections.wav

First two are the same piece, input with a Master keyboard, with sounds generated by two synths,
First one a Steinberg Halion synth/sampler - a multi instrument cheapish VSI on Cubase, this short section then repeats on a another VSI - A quite expensive Sampler called Colossus. This piano is a 1Gb sample set.

The second clip is the same pianist (and sorry I couldn't find the exact same track) played on a Yamaha, recorded in his home and costing more than my transit van!


So you can compare.

The pianist is actually happy with the one I hate the most - the first one in the list above. The second sample was played in a reverberant space, and is a quiet speaking, very mellow piano. I've got a Steinway sample - but my computer is too close to it's memory limit to load it!

The pianist took quite a few attempts to produce a fault free piece on the real piano. The plastic pianos meant we could record just a couple of takes and then edit out any wrong notes or slightly tinker with the phrasing and articulation - and time wise, it is at least twice as quick. I still prefer the real sound of a real piano.
There can be no doubt - as we have all agreed I think? -- that under ideal conditions, there is no substitute for the real thing.

Where I think we do differ perhaps is at what point one decides that the 'plastic piano,' as Jim describes it, is best employed.
In your samples Paul, clearly a fine pianist -- and I suspect a pretty good 'real ' instrument --but it need tuning badly. No --I don't mean that do I?-- I mean it badly needed tuning!

And that to me detracts from the impression of the final result, to some extent.

I mentioned in post #52 about the unfortunate experience I had trying to record a friend. I've attached a (very!) short sample of that recording here:

http://www.jp137.com/las/mjb.mp3

As you can hear, nothing wrong with the pianist -- nothing really wrong with the piano, - (a Steinway model A).... apart of course from the fact that it needed tuning.

The least said about the rest? -- the mics - their placements - the cassette deck recorder -- all my fault I'm afraid. It was only my first experiment!
And I'm afraid only this 2nd generation recording survives -- so lots of 'extra' hiss as well!

In that instance, I would have probably been better off with a 'plastic piano' version.

I downloaded a very small MIDI file of the US jazz pianist, Ben Lewis, playing Hoagy Carmichael's 'Skylark', and played it back, via my Yamaha synthesiser. Extract here:

http://www.jp137.com/las/skyx2.mp3 (only about a minute long)

For an amateur like me, that would have given me a better result for my previous project -- except of course that there were no 'plastic pianos' when I made the first recording in the 70s!

Sadly, as I mentioned in my previous post, the pianist from the first recording is now in his 80s, and no longer plays --so I can't redo it !

And the cost factor does come into it. The Yamaha synthesiser that I played my second (MIDI) sample through, plus the cost of the Olympus LS5 recorder I used I recorded the output, together came to quite a lot less than just ONE of the microphones that John Willett had recommended, in his earlier post.

The best quality equipment is essential, when you work at John's end of the spectrum. Not really an option for me though.

It's a shame that Michael Gerzon died young.....

Perhaps if he had been able to realise the full potential of Ambisonics -- and we were now working with 3 dimensional, 24 bit, recordings, then the subtleties of 3 dimensional 'space' might have been realised, and the finest recordings would probably indeed sound pretty much 'real' these days.

But we're stuck with simple stereo CD quality. Admirable as it is -- and I'm sure that recording experts like John will coax every last drop out of the format -- it's still way below the 'real thing', quality wise.

So at less than concert recital level recordings, there's probably an increasing role for 'plastic pianos' in the professional recording world ....For better or worse?......

Certainly the latest examples - like the ones Jon Fairhurst describes - are now being 'sampled' at very high quality, and with lots of sample levels for each note, to provide increasingly 'real' sounds.... with impressive dynamics...... It's all come along way since the early 'GM' MIDI samples!
Roger Shore is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 22nd, 2012, 02:51 PM   #70
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Tucson AZ
Posts: 2,205
Re: If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?

I'm afraid that in the end there may be no more "real" instruments, or "real" cameras or "real" anything

Everything turned into a digital commodity - attach a keyboard to your telephone and away you go.

Already the low end cameras are under attack by the smartphones.

And the concept of "quality" AV in the minds of so many young(er) folks is probably what comes from YouTube. Funny isn't it that operating in the digital domain brings the capability to produce high quality work to the average person and simultaneously degrades the very concept of quality to the lowest common denominator.

The tools let us do magical things but nobody values the magic - digital giveth and digital taketh away to paraphrase some "old book" I once read.
Jim Andrada is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 24th, 2012, 05:24 PM   #71
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Camas, WA, USA
Posts: 5,513
Re: If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Andrada View Post
I'm afraid that in the end there may be no more "real" instruments, or "real" cameras or "real" anything...
I recently acquired a Bronica S2A medium format film setup. I've been taking a darkroom class. Processing film is time consuming and making a great, large, analog print can be expensive, but there's something really sweet about a pure, analog process. It feels so much more valuable than a cell phone picture tweeted and forgotten.

FWIW, I shot this at a recent Seahawks game. Gettin' Loud in the Hawk's Nest I plan to enlarge it as "man cave" fine art. ;)

Whether its images or sound, there's something wonderful and valuable about "the real" vs. "the Matrix".
__________________
Jon Fairhurst
Jon Fairhurst is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 24th, 2012, 06:37 PM   #72
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Tucson AZ
Posts: 2,205
Re: If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?

Hi Jon

Yeah! Film rules (while we can till get it that is)

Bronica is a great camera - I had a friend who had one and really liked it

I have as we speak a couple of Mamiya 6 x 7cm SLR's, 3 8 x 10's a 5 x 7, and 2 4 x 5's. Studied with Ansel Adams 40 years ago in one of his Yosemite workshops. Did I mention that I'm into photography?

But I've partly gone over to the dark side because I donated my 5 x 7 enlarger and now I scan the negs for Photoshopping and printing. Just no place for a darkroom in this house. Would prefer to do it the old way but...
Jim Andrada is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 24th, 2012, 08:30 PM   #73
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 5,742
Re: If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post
I recently acquired a Bronica S2A medium format film setup. I've been taking a darkroom class. Processing film is time consuming and making a great, large, analog print can be expensive, but there's something really sweet about a pure, analog process. It feels so much more valuable than a cell phone picture tweeted and forgotten.

FWIW, I shot this at a recent Seahawks game. Gettin' Loud in the Hawk's Nest I plan to enlarge it as "man cave" fine art. ;)

Whether its images or sound, there's something wonderful and valuable about "the real" vs. "the Matrix".
Nice shot! I once owned a Bronica S2A, sold it in the mid-80's to upgrade a PC, a move I dearly regret now. Film is indeed as PITA but there's nothing like the tones you get with a well printed, properly exposed and developed B&W film image.
__________________
Good news, Cousins! This week's chocolate ration is 15 grams!
Steve House is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 24th, 2012, 09:57 PM   #74
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Tucson AZ
Posts: 2,205
Re: If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?

+1 on the "Nice shot" by the way. Film is great stuff indeed.

How many mega pixels in your image? (Ha!)
Jim Andrada is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 25th, 2012, 01:48 PM   #75
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Camas, WA, USA
Posts: 5,513
Re: If 2/3rds of good video is audio, how come there is only one Audio section?

>> "How many mega pixels in your image? (Ha!)"

Why, all the mega pixels, of course! :)

Last night I printed that shot - burn this, dodge that, etc. Fun stuff! I can only imagine what Ansel Adams did to achieve his prints!

For me, the S2A is perfect. I've got Nikkor 75/2.8 and 200/4 glass, but I use the 75mm lens exclusively. I was able to calibrate the focus by replacing the foam and re-shimming the ground glass. 120 film is readily available and not terribly expensive. It resolves more than 35mm, yet the camera is manageable enough to take on the street for authentic people shots. (I guess I could use an old 4x5 1950s press camera if I wanted to push it. Anything larger is really for landscapes, still life, and studio portraits.) I think the sweet spot for 120 film is11x11" prints on 11x17 paper. Goes well offset in a 20x16" frame.

One thing I enjoy is that I feel comfortable just handing the thing to strangers who are interested. (The exact opposite of the piano above.) I was given the camera for free and it's built like a tank, so I don't feel so protective about it. It's a real ice breaker. Heck, I shared it (and a few bucks) with a very decent homeless guy the other day. Got a good snap too.

But looking back at the title of the thread, while 2/3rds of video is audio, zero audio is needed for photography. But photography is a great skill to develop for creating good video. And good video leads us back to the need for great audio. :)
__________________
Jon Fairhurst
Jon Fairhurst is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > All Things Audio

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:52 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network