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Old September 13th, 2006, 04:20 PM   #1
Regular Crew
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 84
Post Audio 101?

We have just finished shooting a low-budget video that is comprised of approximately 10 dialogue skits. Unfortunately, due to lack of budget and our very tight shooting schedule, we were only able to shoot two of these with an external shotgun mic. The others used the native mics on my Z1.

That's that bad news.

The good news is that the video is a mockumentary and by no means needs to look or sound perfect. However, I would like to make it as convincing as possible. (We have everything from dull hums, car horns, knocking of mics, etc. to try and clean up.) I have tried my best within FCP to use things like the Hum Remover and tried to bolster the dialogue by doubling/tripling up the tracks, but all of my work has just made things worse. I was wondering if there is a "Post Audio 101" that someone could point me in the direction of. I mean, I don't even know if I should be using FCP to do this stuff. Basically, I want to do the following:

1. Get rid of as much ambient noise as possible.
2. Raise dialogue levels without raising ambient noise.
3. Take out singular spikes i.e. car horns, mic bumps, etc. I need to hire someone to do this for me?

Like I said, we did not record the audio professionally, so I'm not expecting feature film quality results. However, I would like to cover up our mistakes better and accentuate the key sounds as much as possible. Any help is much appreciated.
Shane Coburn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 13th, 2006, 05:00 PM   #2
Fred Retread
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Hartford, CT
Posts: 1,227
Shane, audio is a place where even a pound of cure often won't make up for an ounce of prevention. It's extremely important to record the best audio possible in the first place.

That being said, there are tools and techniques to fix or at least improve some problems with audio. For noise spikes that don't occur at the same time as a sound you want to keep, it's not hard to copy a few moments of audio from before or after the noise and paste it over the noise spike. If there isn't enough clean audio just before or after the noise, then you can often grab a sample of the room ambience somewhere else on the track and it will still blend in fine.

Fixing a noise that occurs during the audio that you want is almost impossible.

Unless it's "broad band noise," i.e., an unchanging background noise that is a combination of a lot of frequencies, like an air conditioner sound. Then a specialty program like Sound Soap can help a lot.
"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence..." - Calvin Coolidge
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David Ennis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 14th, 2006, 11:05 AM   #3
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Camas, WA, USA
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I've posted some tips that might help here:
Jon Fairhurst
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