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Old February 12th, 2016, 04:24 AM   #1
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head movement affecting audio level...how to cure?

I'll try and be brief with bullet points:
1. lav mic attached around top of chest on talent.
2. Due to nature of lots of movement of talent during filming (fishing), head is up/down/sideways on a regular basis.
3. The audio is set to manual on camera and mics.
4. Canon XF300 and Sennheiser radio.
5. When the talent is talking direct to camera the audio is fine and consistent.
6. When head turns occur the audio spikes or dips.

what would be the best solution?

I can cure it in post by moving the points on the audio envelope, but I would rather cure it in camera?

Any advice?

Thanks. Ian
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Old February 12th, 2016, 04:41 AM   #2
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Re: head movement affecting audio level...how to cure?

My guess is the lav mic isn't omni pattern. It sounds like your mic's pickup patterns too narrow, cardioid or hypercardioid. I always use lavs that are omni. If I have a situation where I really need a more directional mic on the talent, I'd use a headset or one of those over the ear with the mic in front of the mouth contraptions that move's as the talent's head turns, nods etc. Sorry, don't like the look, though they sound good...

So in your situation, switch to an omni lav.
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Old February 12th, 2016, 08:21 AM   #3
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Re: head movement affecting audio level...how to cure?

^+1. Using a head mounted mic like musical stage singers wear would cope with wide ranging head movement; e.g., Shure MX153 or similar.

Alternatively, using camera audio AGC is a simple no additional cost solution - if you can stand the other artifacts of AGC such as pumping noise floor and background sound..

Voice-over in post can give very clean sound if it works with the material. Also, using some compression may help even out the levels.
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Old February 12th, 2016, 08:38 AM   #4
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Re: head movement affecting audio level...how to cure?

As Roger stated, a cardioid lav was likely used. The level changes can be corrected by a manual volume envelope, or a leveling process. (comp/limiter or an auto gain device). However the off axis changes are impossible to fully fix. A multi-band compressor 'may' help the EQ some.
IMO, cardioid lavs should be avoided in all scenarios except maybe in live sound with an extreme feedback problem..
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Old February 12th, 2016, 09:48 AM   #5
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Re: head movement affecting audio level...how to cure?

Ian,

What Rick said about comp/limiter might help. There's an automated program called the "Levelator" (Google it) that's just drag and drop. I've used it from time to time on long narration tracks. It saves a lot of time in post over making numerous individual changes on the timeline. I export the entire track to the Levelator program, then re-import the treated track. Honestly, with my hearing, it probably does a better job than me (unless I'm spending a lot of time watching the audio tools display in Avid) most of the time. I'm assuming the talent speaking into the mic is on a separate audio track, and you'd export just that single track to the levelator program.

Actually, don't Google the program. Get the one from the Conversations Network site. Other places might have spam/malware.
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Last edited by Roger Van Duyn; February 12th, 2016 at 10:02 AM. Reason: specific directions
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Old February 12th, 2016, 10:53 AM   #6
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Re: head movement affecting audio level...how to cure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian Chapman View Post
Any advice?
Never ever use a non-omni lavalier on talent that's not fully trained to use it correctly, and has shown that they can/do use the training under stress (when the camera is rolling). So basically, just never use anything other than an omni lavalier no matter what. I put my money where my mouth is; all my lavs are omnis, that's all I own.

That said, it sounds like a lav is a poor choice anyway. What you want is an earset omni, like the Countryman E6. It'll move with talent's head; they can not possibly get out of pattern.

If you don't like that, make 'em wear a hat and mount the lav to the underside of the bill. This will also move with talents head. Or if they wear glasses (sunglasses outside), mount the lav to the inside of the frame. If they won't wear a hat or glasses, you can mount in the hair. These kinds of mounts are well discussed on the 'net, Google is your friend.

All of that said, you're still going to have to do some audio post. When people talk while they are exerting themselves, levels are difficult to predict. But they will differ from normal talking. You'll have to normalize levels in post no matter what you do I'm afraid. And while you're there you might as well drop some EQ on 'em to make 'em sound better and boost their intelligibility. Just sayin'.
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Old February 12th, 2016, 01:01 PM   #7
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Re: head movement affecting audio level...how to cure?

+1, the Levalator is quick and easy
I would trythe JB 'Broadcast processor' plug-in which has a three-band compressor, limiters and auto-gain that is actually usable.. It may be a bit complicated for non-audio folks though.
http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/attachme...1&d=1455304506
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Old February 12th, 2016, 04:24 PM   #8
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Re: head movement affecting audio level...how to cure?

guys...you are top men! that little prog Levelator works a treat...so easy to use too! Many thanks. more or less problem solved with that. Good enough for my purposes anyway.

thanks again!

Ian
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Old February 12th, 2016, 04:28 PM   #9
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Re: head movement affecting audio level...how to cure?

Levelator only works well if there is no other sound in the background, if there is it will pick that up when a speaker doesn't say anything and adjust gain so aggressively making the recording useless.
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Old February 12th, 2016, 04:44 PM   #10
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Re: head movement affecting audio level...how to cure?

ok Noa. Since my talent's Mic is so close, there tends not to be too much background noise, so far so good!
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