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Old September 10th, 2015, 04:05 PM   #1
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Scrubbing an entire movie's audio = new, improved Hell

I'm manually cleaning each clip in my entire movie's audio. The entire movie is dialogue clips, and here's my process:

+Normalize clip and render individually as WAV
+In RX4, run 2-3 instances of Noise Reduction at decreasing intensities
+Bring back into Vegas and apply the Wave Hammer limiter at 6dB, and - where needed - apply the Wave Hammer Compressor with AGC to increase volume on weak segments.

The movie was recorded horribly with a single shotgun recording a discussion in a ~30 foot wide circle of people sitting.

So far, I'm at least happy that I figured out the whole 6dB ceiling so I don't sacrifice getting volume for overmodulated audio. Just wondering if there's some way I can milk this weak signal that I haven't stumbled upon already. I tried Levelator too, but I find Vegas' normalization feature is actually more sensitive to not increasing a ton of noise like Levelator does (the audio is extremely noisy, as per the last clip I posted about the VHS capturing.)
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Old September 10th, 2015, 04:40 PM   #2
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Re: Scrubbing an entire movie's audio = new, improved Hell

Don't have any other methods at hand. I assume you're happy with RX4's NR, and either don't have Sony's or like RX4 better. Sony's is pretty good, and can be used at media, event, track, bus, or master levels, but mostly doesn't come with Vegas. It comes with Sound Forge but is usable in Vegas. Don't know how it compares to RX4. Obviously, if you could stay in Vegas without intermediate renders that shortcuts a lot of work.

Your current method is a little bit of a workflow challenge, I'd be trying my best to automate as much as possible; there's a lot of grunt work involved. Vegas is scriptable, an incredible workflow tool that is flexible enough to help in many different situations, but, especially, batching.

Normalize can be done in one operation by first selecting all (CTRL-A), then right clicking on one of the highlighted timeline events and selecting Switches | Normalize. Alternatively, normalize one event, then copy it. Select all others and Paste Attributes.

WAV renders to create intermediates can be handily automated using Excaliber, a scripting package from forum member Edward Troxel at jetdv.com. There's a custom mod of the package that allows batch render to any preset in Vegas, including custom render presets, be sure to ask Edward for it if you go down this route.

Then you select all, Excaliber | Convert events to Regions, name region with clip name.
Then DVD Asset Collector (that's the poorly named batch renderer), and select Use Region Names for Rendered Files.
Catch a cup of coffee, and voila, you have your wavs for RX4.

Back from RX4...

Wave Hammer can be applied at the track level.
Apply Wave Hammer with AGC on a different track.
Use keyboard shortcuts numpad 2 and 8 to shift selected events between tracks.

It's all a little painful, but Vegas is a great environment for shortening the pain...

(for those unfamiliar, Wave Hammer is Sony's volume maximizer)
(I don't have Vegas and Excaliber open on this laptop... might have some holes in the workflow)
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Old September 11th, 2015, 08:11 AM   #3
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Re: Scrubbing an entire movie's audio = new, improved Hell

Thanks Seth, I didn't realize I could setup that sort of Macro operation in Vegas itself.
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Old September 11th, 2015, 11:31 AM   #4
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Re: Scrubbing an entire movie's audio = new, improved Hell

"Just wondering if there's some way I can milk this weak signal that I haven't stumbled upon already"
- Have you normalized the low volume events in Vegas (Right click audio event> Properties> Normalize).
Bare in mind, Vegas uses 'peak normalize', so if there is an excessive peak(s), it won't likely raise the gain. The peaks can be reduced in an audio editor (if you have one installed.. Sound Forge for instance), Right-click the event and choose, "Open in audio editor", or "Open copy in audio editor". BTW, "Open copy" is safer and creates a second 'take', otherwise it's destructive and can't be undone (if you're not sure). Once the peaks are attenuated to a more relative level, re-normalize in Vegas.
Additionally, try using the "Auto gain compensate" option in Wave Hammer's first compressor stage, which will increase the output level as the threshold/ratio is lowered/raised (prior to the limiter/maximize stage).
BTW, This pertains to Vegas Pro, don't know if these tools are available or work in the budget priced Vegas Movie Studio.

Last edited by Rick Reineke; September 11th, 2015 at 02:37 PM.
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Old September 12th, 2015, 11:04 AM   #5
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Re: Scrubbing an entire movie's audio = new, improved Hell

Yeah thanks, I was just checking back to report that I cut out the whole normalization section of the workflow. If I just noise reduce it in RX4 and then use wave hammer with AGC, it actually works better than vegas' normalization. Otherwise, like you said, I need to cut out severely peaked sections because that whole clip won't benefit from normalization because it's already maxed. Wave hammer works around that quite well. I'm actually on a stretch now where I can just noise reduce the sections with common noise (6 minute sections at a time, happy editor!) and then wave hammer that whole piece as one.

Of course, when small clips have their own unique attributes (imagine a really loud bird calling in the middle of an important piece of dialogue :) those need to be handled piecemeal and are more high maintenance.
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Old September 12th, 2015, 12:44 PM   #6
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Re: Scrubbing an entire movie's audio = new, improved Hell

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adjul Gardner View Post
The movie was recorded horribly with a single shotgun recording a discussion in a ~30 foot wide circle of people sitting.
This question, or questions nearly like it (we captured crappy audio, how do I fix it in post), come up nearly every week here. The answer is nearly always the same: you really can't. You can improve on the capture, usually, but you can't make it actually good. Good sounding audio requires a good capture. Sad but true.

That said, you're doing the things that seem to work to make bad audio better.

The best thing you can do is suffer through this "new, improved hell" and learn from it. Make better audio captures in the future now that you know all too well why you should avoid this particular hell.
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