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Old May 1st, 2007, 03:32 AM   #1
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Repair or ADR?

Hi Everyone,

I have been recently working on a short 16mm film.

The story is set in an ice cream shop - lovely location, looks great on film. However! Inside that shop is seven refrigerators that cannot be turned off. It's super loud in there. The audio problems are clear!

Before anyone suggests it, there was no possible way to turn off the units. Due to several reasons, we couldn't hire in a refrigeration van and move all the ice cream outside (as I suggested), nor could we fill the units up with ice, etc. We also couldn't relocate the film. It's a no budget short film - everything is against you.

Anyway, despite all my objections, yelling and screaming, we shot anyway. In the end there was simply no choice in the circumstances.

Ok... so now I've got a whole heap of audio with horrible background noise.

An example is here: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=BA97X82W (warning: there is some bad language in the clip as well as horrible audio)

The left channel is boom, the right is lapel.

I've tried using a variety of different noise reduction software, but it still sounds pretty nasty.

Now I'm seriously considering ADR. We can try do it ourselves, or we can hire a post production facility to do it for us.

Personally, I hate the idea of ADR. I would much prefer to have good clean on location sound - but obviously that hasn't happened!

I've personally never tried to do ADR - mainly because I'm not an audio person! But if it's possible for me to pull of a half decent job, I would prefer to than spending thousands on a professional freelance technician.

What do you all think? Should I try and repair the audio? ADR myself? Get a pro to do ADR? Is the recorded audio completely useless?

Not an ideal situation - but the show must go on!

Chris!
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Old May 1st, 2007, 07:37 AM   #2
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I don't know what software you've got but ADR is a breeze with Vegas. Compared to what a pro studio could charge you'd probably justify the cost of Vegas for this one job. However doing the ADR is probably the easiest part.
Getting the ADR to sound 'real' is much trickier. It's not just the acoustics of the location, this you can probably solve with a range of tools, it's how people speak.
Standing upright in a studio (even if it's your garage) talent speak differently to when they're acting, moving around etc. One answer could be to do the ADR in a similar location and have the talent act, not just stand still and speak into a mic. A garage would probably have similar acoustics to an ice cream parlour. I hope you got some clean recording of the atmos on the day of the shoot, you'll still want some of that in the final mix.
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Old May 1st, 2007, 08:42 AM   #3
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Thanks Bob...

I mainly use Pro Tools & Soundtrack Pro. I'm sure they could be used for ADR, else I know there are a coupe of really great plugins for Pro Tools that are design for ADR work (Vocalign, etc.). Vegas is another option I'll look into. However, as you said, recording the ADR isn't that tricky - it's making it sound real that's the issue!

Reacting the scenes isn't a bad idea though.

I do have atmos of the location, however it sounds as bad as the dialogue - just a whole lot of fridge fans!

I think what I'll have to do is ADR all the dialogue and build an atmos track from scratch. All the "scenes noises" will have to be Foley. It's going to be a nightmare - but there isn't too many options.

After searching around DVi, I actually came across a couple of posts from people who have done ADR successfully in there own homes. One guy went as far to say that he actually likes ADR! So maybe it isn't that bad after all...

Only time will tell!

Chris!
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Old May 1st, 2007, 08:52 AM   #4
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I just went through the exact same thing.
My shoot was in a coffee shop with ice machines, refrigs, etc.

I spent hours and hours and hours cleaning it up in vegas. The Sony Noise Reduction tool worked the best above and beyond. But it tool a lot of tweaking. I added a background music track, looped ambient noise, etc.
So it can be done. I'll try and find time to download the clip and check it out.

ADR wasn't an option because the talent had come from all over, some 6-8 hours away.

one a previous edit I grabbed a adr clip on a laptop relying heavily upon Vegas' take tool.

I've never used an ADR stage so I can't speak to that. But I guess it depends on budget, and of course the close ups are very tough to nail exactly.
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Old May 1st, 2007, 11:12 AM   #5
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Haven't used Vegas, but I don't think you need fancy software to do ADR. It's not helpful to have the talent even view the footage as they speak. You just play them back very short sound clips from the master track and have them parrot it back. At least that's how I was taught to do it. The important thing is to have them match the cadence of the original dialog, not the movement of their lips. Curious to know what's so helpful about Vegas.

Refrigeration units are the worst, by the way. I am always battling that. Best just to shoot somewhere else.
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 05:57 AM   #6
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Thanks for your help & advice guys!

Marco, yeah, I know the location was a bad idea - however, as I said, under the circumstances unavoidable.

If anyone else has any tips, hints or suggestions I'm all ears!
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 07:17 AM   #7
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Reid, is it possible for you to post some "before & after" sound snippets so I can get some kind of a gauge of how good other people are getting noise reduction to work?
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 08:23 AM   #8
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Chris,
I'll try and do this tomorrow. I'm swamped today.
Like I said it's not fantastic, but it's one of those things where you just have to roll with what you've got.
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 10:28 AM   #9
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The next version of Soundtrack Pro coming out this month looks to have major improved tools for ADR work.

For me, the worst part of ADR is relying on your talent to sound natural, match inflection, match sync (or your work can get painstaking). As you might guess, I've had some bad experience with this. ADR requires some skill on the actor's part and some (many) just can't do it.
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 11:54 AM   #10
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I'll try posting this one clip before and after versions.
It's really not much better between the two but I think it's usable... At least I hope because I'm so tired of dorking around on this edit.

BTW, the temp music track in the bg of the after clip is DSE's song from the Vasst free resources page
Attached Files
File Type: wav stoodback_before.wav (955.6 KB, 82 views)
File Type: wav stoodback_after.wav (955.6 KB, 78 views)
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 09:39 PM   #11
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Thanks Reid!

I think that's the trick - adding more noise (i.e. music) to hide the background noise just that little bit...
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Old May 5th, 2007, 03:39 AM   #12
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Hi Reid

I've had similar problems with audio and like a challenge!

I've processed your "before" clip and the results are attached. I converted it to mono as the right channel didn't appear to contain much (camera mic?)

I'd thoroughly recommend a couple of books by Jay Rose - take a look at http://www.dplay.com/book/index.html

They're full of real practical advice and written in an easy-to-understand way.

Let me know what you think of the clip!

Graham
Attached Files
File Type: wav stoodback_grahamrisdon.wav (477.8 KB, 64 views)
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Old May 5th, 2007, 08:03 AM   #13
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Hi Graham,

Thanks for playing with the file.
Yeah , the right channel was unmiked, should be flat but sometimes the camera would accidently turn the mike camera on. We had one shotgun and no mixer. One scene the boom operator and the camera guy actually forgot to connect the mike and half the scene was recorded with the camera mike. Now that was a fun scene to play with.

Your clip did a good job with knocking out the noise, but there's only so much that can be done before everything sounds real metallic. I guess it's a trade off.

I def check out those books, thanks for the heads up.
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Old May 5th, 2007, 11:40 AM   #14
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Hey Graham,

Well done on Reid's clip!

If you've got time, do you mind having a quick listen to the one I posted (see first post)? It's in worse shape than Reid's! The dialogue is OK - but there is WAY too much background noise. As it's a whole heap of refrigerators, it's very hard to use noise reduction software to remove the noise without it sounding like robot-talk.

I actually tried doing some ADR today as a bit of a trial. The sync turned out pretty good. The first couple of takes were pretty horrible, because the actor insisted on watching on vision as he said the lines. But when I turned off the monitor, but they still listened to the original track it was pretty much spot on. Mixing a a couple of takes together and it was very much in sync. However! The trouble is it sounds like ADR. I tried adding a bit of reverb and a atmos track, but it still sounded "fake". How can you make "perfect" audio sound real again? What filters/effects should be added? Can it actually be done? Any examples?

Bob's exactly right I think. Recording in a sound booth isn't the way to go at all (but it is good fun!). Recreating the scene in a better sound location is the way to go - i.e. a garage as he suggested. I'm going to give that a go next time round.

Although, obviously if I can fix the original audio - that would be ideal!

Thanks everyone for all their help thus far! Much appreciated!

Chris!
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Old May 7th, 2007, 02:29 AM   #15
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Hi Chris

Thanks for your comments about Reid's clip...

I've had a go at your clip, and you're right, with noise reduction, it sounds a bit metallic. Also the reverb on the track makes it sound a bit unnatural, although with the picture, it might sound OK.

You'll need to mix a bit of "ambience" (possibly the original track) in underneath at much lower level to cover the pauses.

Let me know what you think!

Graham
Attached Files
File Type: wav Happy_Sundaes_Dialogue_Sample_001_CLEANMONO.wav (1.95 MB, 59 views)

Last edited by Graham Risdon; May 7th, 2007 at 04:14 AM. Reason: Couldn't upload AIF file so it's a WAV!
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