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Old April 12th, 2013, 09:23 PM   #1
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Is this audio acceptable for a film submission to festivals ?

Hi! Would any one of filmmakers please listen to this scene and let me know if the audio is acceptable ? Its driving me crazy - one person though it was too echoey. And now its stuck in my mind.
Only one person out of maybe 20 found a problem with this audio..

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Old April 12th, 2013, 11:32 PM   #2
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Re: Is this audio acceptable for a film submission to festivals ?

Yes, it's very echoey. Since we rarely see him during his voice over, you can probably just re-record it. You also missed focus on the shots of him doing the split (where the narration is coming from) so I would reshoot that anyway.

The second half (after the handstanding) is better in terms of the voice over.
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Old April 13th, 2013, 12:06 AM   #3
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Re: Is this audio acceptable for a film submission to festivals ?

Thanks.
In general, is echo a bad thing ? I have tried to use onsite sound. However, any scene recorded indoors has tended to have an echo.
Just wondering if this is all a candidate for ADR.
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Old April 13th, 2013, 03:02 AM   #4
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Re: Is this audio acceptable for a film submission to festivals ?

Since it's basically narration style voice over, I'd record it again in a less reverberant location, if stuck inside a car works for doing voice overs. Some of the shots could do with closer microphone placement, something that's always a problem when shooting as a one person crew, but a good sound recordist gets their mic pointing down the throat, reducing the reverb.

Last edited by Brian Drysdale; April 13th, 2013 at 03:35 AM.
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Old April 13th, 2013, 07:58 AM   #5
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Re: Is this audio acceptable for a film submission to festivals ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anmol Mishra View Post
Thanks.
In general, is echo a bad thing ? I have tried to use onsite sound. However, any scene recorded indoors has tended to have an echo.
Just wondering if this is all a candidate for ADR.
Echo is not always a bad thing but not for voice-overs. The essential communication here is between the coach and the audience, it is as if they're sitting side-by-side watching the film and the coach is commenting on his situation. As such the coach's voice in the narration should sound significantly different from its sound when we see him speaking to other characters in the scene at the location - it should be cleaner and more direct than when we hear him speaking on-screen. I'd remove altogether the couple of gratuitous shots where he's speaking directly to the camera - they do nothing to advance our understanding - and re-record all the voice-overs in a proper quiet studio announce booth. Where he's addressing the other performers directly the location sound is okay since they're in an environment where you'd expect to hear echos. But where he's talking to the audience it should sound clean, up-close, and personal.
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Old April 15th, 2013, 05:54 PM   #6
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Re: Is this audio acceptable for a film submission to festivals ?

The echo doesn't bother me for the sound of the gymnasts, even them talking to each other, but it does for VO narration.
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Old April 16th, 2013, 03:59 AM   #7
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Re: Is this audio acceptable for a film submission to festivals ?

There is no echo! There is reverberation. Normally, I'd slate reverberant recordings but oddly, for this one, I'm quite happy with it because the reverb doesn't prevent me hearing what is said, but mainly because it's contextually correct. We're in a big space, we hear it, and most importantly it matches the visuals. It's not really a voice over - and if it was, I'd agree with rerecording - but it's a narrative that is being delivered by one of the people in shot, so the room sound seems appropriate. Ideally, you'd have recorded it better, but in this case - I don't think it is bad or compromised, just a bit too live.

Sorry for the moan about terminology, but as I've said before, echo and reverb are very different things, and we should use the correct terms.
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Old April 16th, 2013, 04:27 AM   #8
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Re: Is this audio acceptable for a film submission to festivals ?

The reverb is fine as it is within the context of the environment that we are seeing on screen, we also see the narrator in vision so I would say it is perfectly acceptable although if you had it dubbed properly and some low frequency EQ was added it would warm it up a bit and make it less bright and cold sounding.

What did jar my ears was the stereo image shift that occurred with the audio for the person doing the flips, it shifts quite a lot and needs to be more central.

I think I also saw a couple of flash frames that may need to be removed (not the camera flashes) and the voice over near the end is not consistent level wise with the start.
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Old April 16th, 2013, 11:02 AM   #9
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Re: Is this audio acceptable for a film submission to festivals ?

I have a hard time understanding the dialog. I'm sure part of the problem is that I'm used to an American accent, so this speaker requires some extra processing by my brain. Depending on your intended audience, then, you may need to be especially certain the recording is clear.

For example, at ~ 44 seconds: "I advertised, 'n' fattime its such a..." [drowned out by multiple voices in the background]. No idea what he's trying to tell us. Perhaps with better recording and a better mix I could understand it. The loud "crowd noise" should certainly not cover the voiceover... I'd suggest either different timing, or different levels, or both.

Then, immediately after the above, I hear him say, "So what can we do?" but in a louder and more energetic voice. Is he still talking to me [as a voiceover] or is he now talking to someone in the shot? The fact that the voiceover track contains a lot of echo makes it hard for me to distinguish between the two different modes of address.

Aside from that, I think a little change in EQ could greatly help the articulation. The mid-high "presence" region sounds weak to me. There's plenty of energy in the vowel region, but that doesn't help intelligibility. There's enough HF energy, I hear that in the sibilants. But it's hard for me to distinguish consonants, because the 1.5kHz - 2.5kHz region seems to be dipped out or deficient for some reason. That's just the opposite of the "presence" that helps make a voice sound intimate, as a voiceover should.

Of course the EQ will sound different on different systems. That's one reason why the original needs to be as clean as possible, and that implies, among other things, a bit less echo. But I don't think the echo is the only issue... far from it.
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Old April 16th, 2013, 05:02 PM   #10
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Re: Is this audio acceptable for a film submission to festivals ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anmol Mishra View Post
Hi! Would any one of filmmakers please listen to this scene and let me know if the audio is acceptable ? Its driving me crazy - one person though it was too echoey.
In my opinion (take it for what it's worth), the audio is not acceptable. I can live with the excessive reverb. I can understand what's being said, even if I have to really concentrate on it to understand it. I don't like it, but I can live with it.

The overall effect is what kills it for me though. The audio keeps calling attention to itself, so I stop listening to what you're trying to tell me and starting listening to the flaws in your audio. Pulls me right out of your story. Over and over and over.

Good audio is a thankless task. Good audio is a lot of high skill work, and then good audio disappears. It's really hard to listen to good audio; it won't let you. It keeps pushing you back to the story and try as you might you find yourself paying attention to the story instead of the audio. Professional audio is like that.

Said another way, good audio is like the groom at a wedding -- his job is to direct everyone's attention to the bride (the picture). Listen to what people are talking about when they leave a theater -- they talk about the story, the acting, the sets, the clothes, the cinematography, even the lighting. But if the sound is good, they never mention it, or even think about it. Which is... my point.

Remember, audio is 70% of what you see.

Next time, get the mic close to the speaker's mouth. If you can't get a sound guy to boom it for you, put a body mic (lavalier) on the speaker. Even an ear-set mic if the environment is really reflective -- closer to the sound source is almost always better. Play with it, listen to it, learn from it.
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Old May 4th, 2013, 11:38 PM   #11
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Re: Is this audio acceptable for a film submission to festivals ?

I have a fair tolerance for bad audio in documentaries, and I have to say this audio is not a deal-breaker for me.

You have a flash-frame in your video around :46.
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Old May 5th, 2013, 10:10 AM   #12
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Re: Is this audio acceptable for a film submission to festivals ?

If that's supposed to be a (pro sounding) VO (narration).. I wouldn't even post that on YouTube for fear a perspective client (or anyone else) may hear it.
I would highly recommend re-recording in a proper environment with suitable gear.
Sorry to be so blunt.
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Old May 5th, 2013, 01:23 PM   #13
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Re: Is this audio acceptable for a film submission to festivals ?

I agree with others, voice-overs should be done in a quiet room if possible. There is a great solution to this, which I've used and works a treat:

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It's not cheap, but it's portable and works really well, even with noise outside the box (but not directly behind you where it could get picked up by the mix inside the box. Frankly, I'd use this over paying for a studio any day given how much studio time costs. If you can set it up in a quiet room with a good vocal mic and recorder, I believe it's difficult to tell the difference between this setup and a studio setup. It really is that good.
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Old May 6th, 2013, 07:46 AM   #14
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Re: Is this audio acceptable for a film submission to festivals ?

I agree with Mr. Reineke. IMHO, the narration is uniformly too reverberant for audiences of modern features. And there are places where it is almost unintelligible, even listening on headphones. It is OK for an amateur documentary, but I would not consider submitting it to a festival without re-recording the narration.

You don't need any expensive gear to do it right. Just find a suitable space and get the microphone position right. This may take some time for experimenting, but the result will be well worth the effort.
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