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Old September 8th, 2012, 06:46 PM   #1
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Getting rid of "echo" in church hall

I've been using Final Cut for many years but only recently have been trying to learn Soundtrack Pro 3. I face a little challenge now and was wondering if anyone could point me in the right direction. I've just had to film and record a meeting in a large old church. The speakers can all be heard but their voices are coloured by the "echo" of that space. Not a real echo of course, just that sense of hollow space that somehow renders their speech less distinct. Is there any specific application in Soundtrack that can help me deal with this? A particular filter? If there is I'll quickly go to that page of the manual and begin studying.
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Old September 8th, 2012, 07:19 PM   #2
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Re: Getting rid of "echo" in church hall

Try this, copy the relevent audio to an adjacent track on your Pro3.

Make sure it's exactly in sync, then put this track out of phase and balance both voice tracks together.

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Old September 8th, 2012, 07:50 PM   #3
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Re: Getting rid of "echo" in church hall

Thanks.

But before I try your suggested solution I just want to make sure that my message wasn't misleading. Maybe echo was the wrong word. (Or maybe it was the right one?) Just think of the sound of a voice in a big empty room. Is that echo? Or just a million reboundings? (Which I guess is just a million echos.) I did try removing the bass and that did make the voice clearer. Is that a case where the "echo" returns in a lower register? But still I'll try what you suggest.

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Old September 8th, 2012, 08:14 PM   #4
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Re: Getting rid of "echo" in church hall

That is not simple echo. You are correct it sounds like it might be (since you did not post a sample) reverberation which is multiple echos all piled on each other. People have been searching for a way of reducing this since before you were born. But just this year I heard a demonstration of software that would almost eliminate heavy reverberation. Of course it is likely years before commercial availability, and when it is available, it will likely cost thousands of (insert your currency here). So you will have to make the decision whether it is worth the wait and the money.

Otherwise, no, there is no practical or simple way of removing this kind of artifact. This is why it is so important to get a "clean catch" in the first place. There are many kinds of audio artifacts that can be reduced or even removed, but reverberation and other broad-band noise are virtually impossible to remove without doing moderate to severe trauma to the remaining desired signal.
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Old September 8th, 2012, 08:15 PM   #5
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Re: Getting rid of "echo" in church hall

It sounds like what's termed 'reverberation' in the sound biz.

Yep large enclosed halls are notorious for this and they're the bane of folk trying to capture good intelligable audio.

Getting the mics as close to the persons speaking is the first call, but that can be difficult.

Some folk drive themselves nuts over this and a church should have 'some' reverb. When you get a reasonable result, get a friend to listen to it,
and ask if they get the message. HTH.

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Old September 8th, 2012, 09:17 PM   #6
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Re: Getting rid of "echo" in church hall

Thanks Alan and Richard. Not the answer I would have hoped for but I'm glad I understand the situation now. Fortunately this footage is only for a small insert into a webpage. On the plus side, as I may have mentioned, when I attenuated the lower frequencies the sound is clearer. If only I'd brought along a Lavalier I could have taped it to the main mic.
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Old September 9th, 2012, 02:41 AM   #7
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Re: Getting rid of "echo" in church hall

Chalk it up to experience John ... we all started somewhere about there :)

Cheers.
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Old September 9th, 2012, 05:50 AM   #8
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Re: Getting rid of "echo" in church hall

Listen to this reverb removal demo, I find it very promising! I can't use it though, I'm on Windows and this product is currently only for Mac.
zynaptiq: videos
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Old September 9th, 2012, 07:39 AM   #9
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Re: Getting rid of "echo" in church hall

Yes, that Zynaptiq product is the demo I saw. I am surprised that it is already available at such a popular price (399) It seems to do the job quite nicely. But it is always better to get a "clean catch" at the source vs. relying on post-production tricks wherever possible.
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Old September 9th, 2012, 10:12 AM   #10
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Re: Getting rid of "echo" in church hall

Very interesting concept. I was rather frustrated by the demos. They mess around a lot with reverb in music, "spinning wheels in a stairwell," sound effects for video games, etc. But I really wanted to hear a demo of cleaning up too-reverberant dialog.

True, they had a demo of someone speaking an arabic dialect at the end of a canyon. But of course I wasn't able to judge intelligibility since I don't speak arabic. And the end result sounded "robotic" to me. Now perhaps that's to be forgiven, due to the extreme nature of what they were trying to clean up.

Still, I wonder why they didn't have a good demo of what I think of as the most important use: cleaning up too-reverberant dialog, such as the OP in this thread is asking about. Perhaps, despite all the "clever" things the software can do, it can't really do that one task very effectively?
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Old September 9th, 2012, 11:55 PM   #11
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Re: Getting rid of "echo" in church hall

There's one church in particular I shoot in and it's a great place to work. Nice people, great priest BUT, the place is hugh, has very hard walls, ceiling (very high peaked) and very hard floor surface. The groom is mic'd of course as is the pulpit and I'm running a AT897 which does a great job picking up the music but when the preist talks and isn't in front of the groom or at the pulpit the audio has never been good. I should say his voice is low, the PA system speakers are so far up in the ceiling that you migh as well be outside and the hard surfaces cause a very hollow almost echoey sound. I finally had had enough and got a Tascam DR-05, and the last time I worked there (a couple of weeks ago) I plugged the recorder into the mixer which is upstairs in the choir loft. I took and aux out into the recorder and BAM! I'm a happy guy again. It was reverb but just a very weak hollow sound from the priest but now all is good. I got tired of beating my head against a wall trying to improve his audio. Now it's no worries anymore.
While I do prefer to monitor all my audio I figured that anything I got would be better than what I had and it was. I am now a believer!
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Old September 12th, 2012, 07:10 AM   #12
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Re: Getting rid of "echo" in church hall

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Whiteway View Post
I've been using Final Cut for many years but only recently have been trying to learn Soundtrack Pro 3. I face a little challenge now and was wondering if anyone could point me in the right direction. I've just had to film and record a meeting in a large old church. The speakers can all be heard but their voices are coloured by the "echo" of that space. Not a real echo of course, just that sense of hollow space that somehow renders their speech less distinct. Is there any specific application in Soundtrack that can help me deal with this? A particular filter? If there is I'll quickly go to that page of the manual and begin studying.
Er - this *is* real echo.

The cure is to get the microphones in the right place before you start.

It's easy to get rid of the echo/reverberation of a large space - but you need to use the right microphone and put it in the right place before you start filming.

You question is like asking "I made a video and cut the person's head out of the frame, how do I correct this, what plug-in should I use?"
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Old September 18th, 2012, 11:08 AM   #13
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Re: Getting rid of "echo" in church hall

"Spinning the wheel of a road case"???? Who would use that to demo a $400 plugin?
All of their demos seem like a strange choice of sounds...
I bailed from the site when the next video had the exact same sounds.
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Old September 18th, 2012, 11:24 AM   #14
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Re: Getting rid of "echo" in church hall

No simple guaranteed solution to reverb in post production. The only assured solution is to manage it in the original recording, which involves skilled mic selection and placement.

There are some software products that proport to reduce reverb in recordings, and under the right circumstances they can help. That is, if the desired sound, and the reverb component of the sound have the appropriate relationship, the tool can help somewhat.

FWIW: There are several threads on this subject in the Adobe - Audition forums.
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Old September 18th, 2012, 11:33 AM   #15
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Re: Getting rid of "echo" in church hall

This reminds me of some video I was once asked to edit. It was a simple edit of a person standing at a podium giving a clinical talk. When I got the footage I saw that the camera was setup where there was a pole right in front of the speaker so that for most of his discussion it looked like someone had stuck a javelin through his shoulder. When I told the client about it he said that they had purposefully not moved that camera so that I could erase the pole in post to show the rest of the speaker.
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