'enhancing' sound track 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 June 14th, 2015, 11:45 PM   #1
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 1,104
'enhancing' sound track

I got into audio and video to be able to produce a specific video project which has been on the go for about 12 years now. I'm half way through post production - on number 6 of 13 episodes, so all the main video and audio has been recorded and is now locked in.

I spent a lot of time reading up about the best way to acquire the best sound track possible, and purchased relevant gear to enable me to do this...none of it top dollar stuff but never the less pretty good as far as I could tell...and guided in purchasing by the likes of folks on this group. I used a Rode NT3 just out of screen and a Rode Pin Mic, both through a JuicedLink CX231into my camera. I've also had a friend do voice overs which have come out great but contrasts a bit with my voice...the ambience of the room being caught on my audio, but not on his because it was recorded with the mic in a sound proofed box...

So I have my sound track, which I think is pretty good but have heard about such being 'enhanced' in post production. However I have not really found anything that tells me much about doing this, or even how I can tell if this is even needed. I've been through Roses book on Great Audio for Digital Video again but I didn't find it helpful in this regard, though did for when I was setting up for the capture stage.

Anyone any clues on how to go about enhancement in post?
Renton Maclachlan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 15th, 2015, 01:51 AM   #2
Trustee
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Cornsay Durham UK
Posts: 1,941
Re: 'enhancing' sound track

Think about your pictures as a blank canvas audio wise, Ok you painted a few objects and you have the sound associated with them so what else can you now add to make it even better?

What have you in the background that may need extra audio? Can you see a skyline, trees that may have birds in them or even is it raining or has interesting weather patterns.

You view on a flat screen so your image is 2D but what audio could possible be heard or each shot and scene to make it flow better or enhance the viewing experience?

Do the actors or subjects move around so could it be that they make noises and do these nosies need to be extended to make sense of the narrative of the pictures, do they react to action that you can not see so there needs to be audio there to make sense of that reaction?

Would the emotion and narrative of the pictures be enhanced with the addition of music to build up the scene and how will this interact with any of the other sounds that you may have already.

OK you may have recorded dialogue and it is great to hear all the words that are being said in each scene but they were all shot in isolation one by one so what do you need to add to keep the audio background the same for the whole section and could there be a radio or some other noise such as a washing machine or sounds that need to match the background action such as a busy street or skyline. This can also allow you to add a sense of depth in stereo to enhance the main mono dialogue.

The sky's the limit and it may be that you add loads of sounds but then decide that they need to be balanced and adjusted to enhance the flow of the pictures further, it may also be that the additional sound becomes part of the story to build up emotion and lead the viewer on the journey that is planned for the piece.

Don't forget Foley too and do people walk around or interact with individual objects such a phones or doors etc that could need additional audio to highlight their place in the canvas?

Build up your canvas and add to create different layers of:

Dialogue
Background atmos or stereo buzz tracks
Spot effects and noises off screen
Foley and footsteps
Music for practical and soundtrack purposes

Then mix it all together to create your final pictures and sound track.

Here is an old clip from a TV drama I did about 10 years ago and all I had to start with was the dialogue:
__________________
Over 15 minutes in Broadcast Film and TV production: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1044352/

Last edited by Gary Nattrass; June 15th, 2015 at 04:44 AM.
Gary Nattrass is online now   Reply With Quote
Old June 15th, 2015, 05:43 AM   #3
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 1,104
Re: 'enhancing' sound track

Thanks Gary...your video was high drama. and I hear your thoughts and can utilise some of them...only...I probably left out an important point and that was my production is largely talking head, and what I was meaning re 'enhancing the audio' was in terms of possibly fiddling with an equaliser or some thing like that, to maybe give a richer sound to a talking track rather than adding tracks of different sounds. :-)

And earlier thread I started re storm sounds is more down the line you've outlined...and I have yet go back and see what I can do with it...
Renton Maclachlan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 15th, 2015, 06:46 AM   #4
Trustee
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Cornsay Durham UK
Posts: 1,941
Re: 'enhancing' sound track

Even with doco's it is essential to balance and smooth the location audio so it sounds seamless and you can't hear any level, EQ or edit jumps. This would be what I would do to any programme material so I get a clean "dialogue" track before I start adding anything else.

You can also add stereo backgrounds and effects to doco's and dub it to add space, music can also add emotion and space to a sequence.

I have always track layed and dubbed the same way for everything I have ever done and the only difference is what is actually needed to complete the final product, I would also add EQ and compression to suit the final mix.

As I said it is all about thinking of it as a blank canvas and as to what you add or remove well that is up to you and the final audio picture that you wish to paint! ;0)

Here is a short doco we did for a test local TV station 5 years ago shot on a sony Z7 with a couple of G2 radio mic's, the location audio was added to and enhanced plus dubbed to make the story:
__________________
Over 15 minutes in Broadcast Film and TV production: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1044352/
Gary Nattrass is online now   Reply With Quote
Old June 15th, 2015, 04:19 PM   #5
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 1,104
Re: 'enhancing' sound track

Thanks again Gary...well crafted piece re the trains.

At some points you used music behind the speaking and at others not. I have toyed with the idea of doing this more than I already have. Did you have some criteria for distinguishing between those times you used it and those you didn't? It appears (by memory) you used it when there was talking but you used cutaways, whereas when the individuals were being interviewed directly you didn't. Much of my project is like the latter, though I am using cutaways and graphics as much as possible to create variety.

Did you do anything to the audio where you have just speaking - the interviews - and if so what sort of things did you do?
Renton Maclachlan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 15th, 2015, 04:38 PM   #6
Trustee
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Cornsay Durham UK
Posts: 1,941
Re: 'enhancing' sound track

All the audio apart from the voice over was taken for the interviews we did and it just felt right to use it a narrative to set-up the story, the music was there to bridge and introduce it as a light hearted doco rather than too serious and generally it was to add to the cutaway sequences.

It would have gotten in the way of in-vision interviews and as such I left them clean as it is more important to concentrate on the people and their passion for the subject.

The whole piece was done on a tiny budget and timescale but all the voices were equalised and level matched in final cut pro and then compressed to broadcast standards in pro tools.

I could have added stereo atmos and buzz tracks to enhance it more but as most of the interviews were done on location with background noise it may have distracted.

I still view audio and editing as a book like process with a beginning a middle and an end and you need to use all the tools you have to tell a story, that may sound old fashioned but I have been in TV and film 35 years now so I tire of people trying to break the mould or re-invent the wheels just to try and add narrative when there is none. Wobbly cam and the DSLR searching for focus springs to mind but it tends to distract from the subject and rarely enhances it. The same goes for audio and if your main narrative and interviews are as clean as you can you can pretty much add anything you wish to match and enhance the visuals.

It all needs to be in context though and is all part of the total process from shooting thru edit to final delivery to the end viewer and listener.
__________________
Over 15 minutes in Broadcast Film and TV production: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1044352/
Gary Nattrass is online now   Reply With Quote
Old June 16th, 2015, 01:31 AM   #7
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 1,104
Re: 'enhancing' sound track

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Nattrass View Post
The whole piece was done on a tiny budget and timescale but all the voices were equalised and level matched in final cut pro and then compressed to broadcast standards in pro tools.
Thanks Gary. I think I have utilised a lot of what you have said and have grip on it. However what you did on the interview sections I don't. These interviews relate pretty well directly to my talking head situation.

I understand levelling volume up so that all the voices are the same volume...I presume that is what you mean when you say '...all the voices were equalised and level matched...'

Or are 'equalising' and 'levelling' two different things?

If so, is 'equalising' to do with adjusting frequencies in a 'graphic equaliser' and if so, I don't understand that, nor what is trying to be achieved by it.

Nor do I understand compression or what is trying to be achieved through it.
Renton Maclachlan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 16th, 2015, 01:50 AM   #8
Trustee
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Cornsay Durham UK
Posts: 1,941
Re: 'enhancing' sound track

Sorry when I say equalise I mean that they are matched for levels and tonal quality, so I add tone shaping and adjust the levels so every piece of dialogue sounds similar.

For the ME2 on the G2 radio mic's I tend to use a high pass filter at around 80hz and add some high frequency sparkle at around 2.6khz and low end warmth at around 160hz but it all depends on the mixer you are using.

As for compression the radio mic's actually do some of this already in their transmission process but in mixing I would set up my compressors to squeeze the dynamic range of the mic's around 3-6 db so that they punch through the music or sound effects without the final mix levels going into the illegal range. Generally a compressor allows you to squeeze and limit the dynamic range of a sound source without the levels going over the top or illegal for broadcast, a limiter also does this but is more drastic. If you listen to FM radio you will hear a lot of compression and sometimes the dynamic range is compressed to very narrow margins but as I am sure you will appreciate it makes the voices punch through the music and sound good and loud on your car radio.

Bear in mind I am a broadcast mixer and editor so we have to adhere to strict level limits and generally on a full digital scale we are not allowed to go beyond -12dbfs as our final level. So we use compressors or limiters to help us keep the mix within these limits. Some on-line delivery I go higher to -6dbfs but I would still use the compressors to keep everything in the legal range.

This is all quite advanced and once my mix set-up is defined I tend to just use my ears but it may be worth you hiring an audio guy locally to give you some further insights into balancing audio for delivery. Lots of useful info on you tube too for example :

What edit system are you using? I use final cut pro and it has some audio plug-ins inc compressors that you can apply to tracks to see what improvement you can achieve. It also has a soundtrack pro a dedicated audio set-up but I personally prefer to use pro tools for my audio mixing and enhancement.
__________________
Over 15 minutes in Broadcast Film and TV production: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1044352/
Gary Nattrass is online now   Reply With Quote
Old June 16th, 2015, 04:33 AM   #9
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 1,104
Re: 'enhancing' sound track

The editing I am doing is in Sony Vegas Pro, which gives me a range of audio controls which I can keyframe. It has a compressor and graphic equaliser and something else I can't remember what...

Volume is easy to control and I have meters, both track and Master so can see the Db I'm running at...

For stand alone audio files I have generally used Goldwave which I have used for ages, and also have used Multiquence for mixing audio tracks together.

But...I have never got to grips with compression etc...just never used it. Much of what you said in your last post went over my head. :-)

Actually I have a low powered FM station on which I have running an 84 hour program on loop. All of that was put together using Goldwave and Multiquence. It is not a live program and just runs round and round and I haven't done much on it in the last couple of years...
Renton Maclachlan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 16th, 2015, 06:41 AM   #10
Trustee
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Cornsay Durham UK
Posts: 1,941
Re: 'enhancing' sound track

I have some great waves plug-ins for my pro tools and whilst I fully understand how to set up compressors they are easy to get good results from. This one is a fave and so quick and easy to use: Renaissance Vox Vocal Compressor Plugin | Waves

It is worth learning a bit more about audio tools as they can help you a great deal and enhance what location audio you have.

Even just adding a high pass filter on location or in the edit can clean up a lot of dialogue tracks and get rid of unwanted rumble and distant traffic noise.
__________________
Over 15 minutes in Broadcast Film and TV production: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1044352/
Gary Nattrass is online now   Reply With Quote
Old June 16th, 2015, 01:48 PM   #11
Trustee
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 1,680
Re: 'enhancing' sound track

Jay rose has two books: Great Sound for Digital Video and Audio Postproduction for Digital Video. I suspect you have the former. The later will greatly help you understand what Gary is talking about. Great books and Jay sets them up in a way that does not require you to tackle the whole thing at once. I highly recommend it.

You don't even have to worry about the publication date. In audio the tools we use change a lot but audio theory stays the same. Both books were published after the world switched from analog to digital so they are still relevant.

Great advice Gary. The action clip may be ten years old but still a great mix by any standard.

Renton, Audio editing is non destructive just like video. Don't be afraid to experiment and make changes "by ear" if you have decent monitors. Or make a copy of the audio track if that is more comfortable and go for it. Then compare the two and see if you have enhanced it or not. Your graphic EQ or parametric EQ is a great tool to start with. In a final mix the amount of change applied may be very small. But a trick in post to teach you what effect any given adjustment is going to have is grab an adjuster and crank it WAY up or down to over emphasize what it is going to do. Then you know what it does and you back it off to see if it helps. Trust your ears. Make small changes. It is called mixing because the end result is many factors put together to achieve a final result. Its kind of like cooking. A mouth full of flour tastes terrible, but mix in a few other ingredients and you make a cake. In Gary's case he is more of an alchemist than a baker!

Steve
__________________
www.CorporateShow.com
Been at this so long I'm rounding my years of experience down...not up!
Steven Digges is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 16th, 2015, 02:52 PM   #12
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 1,104
Re: 'enhancing' sound track

Thanks guys. Appreciated. I do have Rose's book 'Great Sound for Digital Video' and will look his other one.

I finally got my new Wharfedale near feild speakers going last night after receiving my external sound card, so I'm set up to hear (as well as my ears allow) what my audio is. Haven't done anything yet using them, but did seem to hear more 's' 'c' type of sounds across a range of words, not much but I noticed it.

It seems like the whole sound thing is pretty subjective, especially as you get to fine tuning...

I'm satisfied I have pretty clean audio from my talk head recordings, I was scrupulous in setting it all up...mic distances, elimination of background noise. Interestingly after I had got my mics and such and had everything just about ready to go, I realised the fan on my laptop which I used in my teleprompter would come on for about 10 out of every 20 seconds, and not far away! I got a computer monitor to replace it and shoved the laptop which drove it in a sound proof box in the next room...
Renton Maclachlan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 17th, 2015, 01:38 AM   #13
Trustee
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Cornsay Durham UK
Posts: 1,941
Re: 'enhancing' sound track

Much like everything it is all about being able to control what you are doing so here is a short clip I found of my home set-up I made a few years ago:

But way back in the 90's I had my own audio facility in London and it had some big toys to play with:

Don't think I will ever make it as a presenter though! ;0)
__________________
Over 15 minutes in Broadcast Film and TV production: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1044352/

Last edited by Gary Nattrass; June 17th, 2015 at 02:44 AM.
Gary Nattrass is online now   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 12:35 AM.


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