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Old March 18th, 2016, 08:06 AM   #1
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How to Enhance Audio..

In the past, I haven't really done a lot of enhancement with my audio after I capture it, but I'd like to learn to make it as good as possible. Any suggestions for me?

I use Final Cut and they have some audio effects that you can put on your audio to give it the sound you want. I'm normally dealing with voices such as interviews.

Should I import it into something like Audition to do my enhancements?

Thanks!
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Old March 18th, 2016, 12:42 PM   #2
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Re: How to Enhance Audio..

I don't know what FCP has in terms of audio filters.

Audition certainly has what you need for the basics of treating dialog. Are you on FCP7 or X? I've not kept up with FCP after 7, the question is how accessible and robust is a round trip from FCP to Audition and back again. Audition only exports sound; final renders of a project are back in an NLE. NLE to DAW back to NLE is called the "round trip". Gotta' make sure that's working reliably...

The basic tools for dialog adjustments:

Decent studio monitors. You need to be able to listen with trust when you grab the dials and buttons.

Parametric (paragraphic) EQ. Thinning and peaking dialog. Thinning = removing low frequencies to reduce environmental noise, the chesty sound of lavs, and bass-heavy proximity effect of directional mics used close-up. Peaking = adding mid and mid-high to improve intelligibility. Both thinning and peaking to be done with a light hand on monitors you can trust, because you don't want to change the sound of the human voice, much.

Compression (of dynamic range). Taking the volume peaks down, so you can bring the entire track up without those peaks overmodulating. The net effect is bringing up the low volume dialog, improving intelligibility. Not so fun when bringing up the low dialog also brings up environmental noise.

Development of your ear for this work. Subtle, not to be underestimated. Consider taking classes or working with an engineer who can provide constructive criticism.

There are a lot of controls on just those two filters, and the effects of adjusting them can be small or dramatic; you've got to know what problem you're trying to solve (monitors & ears), how the tool you're using can address it (concept & control of filters), and whether your adjustments are having the desired effect (monitors & ears).

Then there's sound editing, which for sync dialog is mostly about dealing with ambience & room tone...
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Old March 18th, 2016, 01:26 PM   #3
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Re: How to Enhance Audio..

Yea that seems like a lot to learn. I may have to look up some videos on sound editing, but this gives me a good base to start from and gives me an idea of what I need to know. Thanks Seth!
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Old March 18th, 2016, 06:04 PM   #4
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Re: How to Enhance Audio..

Read the books by Jay Rose. IIRC he includes a CD with a lot of audio samples.
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Old March 19th, 2016, 11:31 AM   #5
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Re: How to Enhance Audio..

+1 on the Jay Rose book.
FCP inherently has very limited audio tools and what it does have aren't very good, though a very good DAW won't automatically render good audio. Unfortunately, OMF support was dropped in FCPx (among other options), export/import to FCPx is problematic (there are work-arounds though.
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Old March 19th, 2016, 12:51 PM   #6
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Re: How to Enhance Audio..

+2 on the Jay Rose bookS. There are two of them...
1) Producing Great Sound for Film and Video: Expert Tips from Preproduction to Final Mix: Jay Rose: 9780415722070: Amazon.com: Books
2) Audio Postproduction for Film and Video: After-the-Shoot solutions, Professional Techniques, and Cookbook Recipes to Make Your Project Sound Better (DV Expert Series): Jay Rose: 9780240809717: Amazon.com: Books

As you are asking about post-production editing, the second book seems more focused on your specific question. Note, however, that no amount of post-production magic can adequately replace capturing good audio during shooting, so the topics covered in the first book are also essential.
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Old March 21st, 2016, 12:46 PM   #7
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Re: How to Enhance Audio..

That's exactly what I'm doing right now, reading Jay's books.
Thanks Greg!
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Old March 21st, 2016, 01:34 PM   #8
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Re: How to Enhance Audio..

Not to condemn you without hearing it, but how good is the sound you're initially capturing? Most folks will tell you that's where it starts--room that's quiet as possible, good mic placement, good levels in camera/recorder-- all of that generally does more good than any post tools.
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