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Old October 7th, 2006, 09:34 PM   #1
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Post Production Audio, getting it after...

I'm sure there are other posts on this, I haven't found anything in the search engine. So, if you know where they are, please point me there.

I'm wondering about the proper techniques for finishing audio in post. That is capturing sounds for the final product, sounds that aren't found on-location but are used in that particular scene.

For example, someone picks up a glass, drinks, and puts it back down again. I would like that glass to make a very satisfying 'clink' as it hits the table, but if my mic is pointed at the actors head for dialouge, that 'clink' usually comes out weakly, with a distanced feel. Would I get more satisfying results if I leave it as it is, capture some specific sound bites as I'm shooting, or do it later in a studio.

I would imagine recreating and capturing sounds in a studio would be extremely time consuming and would require alot of stuff (like snapping carrots for breaking bones) I would also imagine there would be some sync issues, and some issues of getting a particular sound to feel genuine. Is this practice of capturing pieces of sounds afterwards relatively common in say, major movies?

I've tried both capturing little sound bites during production, and capturing sounds afterwards but they always seem to be removed, or stick out too much from the dialouge and ambient sounds of the original footage. They feel cheesy. Is there a way around this, or do I need to get a degree in sound engineering?

Thanks for any help-
-Alex
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Old October 7th, 2006, 10:13 PM   #2
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What you are talking about is called "Foley" and the people who specialize in it are called "Foley Artists" who record on a stage called a "Foley Pit." A Google on those terms is liable to turn up a number of references to get you started. The term "Sound Effect" generally refers to sounds that have a role in advancing the plot - heart monitor beeping, bombs exploding, gunshots, etc while "Foley" is the gazillion little background sounds like ice clinking, footsteps, elevator bells, etc that make the scene come alive and be believable. You never notice it until it's not there. Pulling all that together plus dialog, music, FX, etc is why NLE's have all those multiple audio channels available <grin>.
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Old October 9th, 2006, 10:59 PM   #3
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I met Robert Moore years ago and he did all the sounds effects for Beverly Hills 90210.

I had the opportunity on a couple of occasions to sit and watch him do this and it was quite an eye opener.

He had a huge library of sound effects at his fingertips from the Fox studios and he'd "spot" sounds into the show with something called an ADAP Sound Rack. It ran off an Atari Mega 4 computer and was sync'd via SMPTE timecode. I think the Soundrack system cost more than the computer that ran it.

It could play back two sound samples at a time at 44.1 khz sample rates at 16-bit depth, and when used in conjunction with a 24-track recorder, could build complex layered environments with very high fidelity.

Of course all this and more can be done in any NLE today, but this was back in 1988 or so.

Aside from having the right sound at the right time, the right sound has to also sound right -- ambience, tone and level have to match. It's quite an art.

Think of it as the audio equivalent of doing a good green screen key. All the characteristics have to match the environment or it'll stick out like a cheesy thumb.
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Old October 10th, 2006, 12:05 AM   #4
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For common sounds like the glass "clink" mentioned, is a commercial sound-effects CD sensible? Any recommendations?

If you have a faint "clink" on the dialogue track, how do you avoid odd echoes when you add a louder "clink" on a foley track?
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Old October 10th, 2006, 02:12 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Heath
For common sounds like the glass "clink" mentioned, is a commercial sound-effects CD sensible? Any recommendations?
Sony's package of sound effects is pretty handy for general use.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Heath
If you have a faint "clink" on the dialogue track, how do you avoid odd echoes when you add a louder "clink" on a foley track?
It's best to cut out unwanted sounds on the dialogue track(s) when possible, and even better than best to avoid recording them in the first place (unless you want them, which you might for some kinds of projects depending on your taste). Just be sure you record a room tone on location to fill in the gaps.

If you absolutely can't get rid of it completely, a percussive sound (like a clink) is pretty easy to cover up if you sync up your foley well.
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Old October 10th, 2006, 10:22 AM   #6
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Hi,
I was going to start my own topic, but then saw this one and thought I'll latch on to this to pick all your brains as I'm a complete novice regarding sound.

'My current tools consist of a Sony A1 camcorder with XLR, Sennheiser K6/66 and the Adobe Video bundle including Adobe's audition.

I would like to shoot documentaries and film and then add surround sound (5.1) in post.

I'm trying to figure out what else I need to get the job done.

Will I need a proper firewire sound mixer like the Phonic PHHB 18 FW or could i do the job with "just" an Edirol FA-66 firewire- interface together with Audition?

Also for my documentaries I will be conducting interviews, should i get a seperate recording device like the Tascam HD-P2 or will it suffice to record the interviews on my Sony A1 throught the XLR inputs.

I also want to record ambient sound in stereo with a stereo mic to use later in post and mix all the ambient sound, music and the spoken sound in all the proper channels in a surround sound mix.

Idealy i would like to have all the hardware and software, but there is a problem as always with money.

I'm thinking I can do most of the mixing in audition as long as I have all the proper inputs on my desktop computer. But should I do all the recording of the ambient sound in stereo and interviews through the XLR of my Sony camcorder?

Any advise would be appreciated!

Cheers,
Armand
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Old October 10th, 2006, 03:11 PM   #7
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I'm back again as I want to update my previous post with some more and new info.

I've found that there is another good recording device that a lot cheaper then the Tascam HD-P2 namely the Edirol R-09, a truely portable recording device that uses SD cards.

Oh and yes, I also forgot to add in my previous post why I was looking at possibly getting the Edirol FA-66. It would mainly be used for commentary which would be added in post and to also add in the sound from the digital recording device.

One last thing, how do I synchronise my mixed surround sound with my, edited, short film or documentary as none of the devices I've been refering to use time code? Does Adobe Audition have a feature that it uses to accurately sync the sound with the timeline in Permiere?

Again, all advice in appreciated!
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Old October 10th, 2006, 03:23 PM   #8
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Armand...

If you can record directly to the camera that would eliminate a lot of headaches in post. But if you need additional tracks, then an external recorder certainly helps.

Someone mentioned that if you buy audio gear, try to buy it just once. In other words, get the most you can afford as audio equipment easily outlasts video gear. You'll end up with microphones and other stuff that will get transferred from one camera to the next. But you won't see that happening the other way around.

The Tascam P2 is highly recommended. Excellent fidelity and signal-to-noise ratio. A friend who is an audio engineer and composer has very high regard for this device. You can also link up two or more Tascam P2's if you need even more tracks. However, it would be nice if there were a 4-track version of this.

As for interview audio, get the mic as close as practical. That usually means a lav mic, either wired or wireless. And a small one is easily hidden. Tram, Sanken and Countryman all make good mics. Not cheap, but real good.
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Old October 10th, 2006, 06:19 PM   #9
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Thanks for the reply, Jarrod.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarrod Whaley
It's best to cut out unwanted sounds on the dialogue track(s) when possible, and even better than best to avoid recording them in the first place
Am I right in guessing that footsteps would fit into the "avoid recording them" category. Cutting out individual footsteps from a dialogue track would be pretty painful.
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Old October 10th, 2006, 06:23 PM   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Heath
Am I right in guessing that footsteps would fit into the "avoid recording them" category. Cutting out individual footsteps from a dialogue track would be pretty painful.
If the footsteps are overlaid with dialog, fuggeddabouddit. You'll be best served by hard ducking the original footsteps, overlaying them with Foley or newly recorded footsteps, and being sure to blend them with the old footsteps when the dialog returns. If it's entirely laid with dialog, all you can do is futz with it using EQ and a few other toys, but you'll be messing with dialog at the same time.
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