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Old May 8th, 2007, 06:08 AM   #1
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Making Good Audio Sound Bad?

Hi Everybody!

I'm editing together a piece, and I've run into a bit of a problem.

I'm cutting from one scene to another. The first scene has pretty poor audio - a lot of fridge noise in the background. The second scene is outside and has lovely audio. The trouble is, it's too lovely. It sounds so perfect that it feels unnatural. Because there is very little background noise (it was shot in the middle of the night outside on a completely dead street), it sounds as if it was ADR'ed in a studio.

How can I make the footage sound more real? I've added an atmos track, and that helps, but the dialogue still stands out as if it wasn't recorded on location.

Any tips?

Thanks!

Chris!
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Old May 8th, 2007, 08:17 AM   #2
 
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You might consider adding some very distant traffic noise, some bugs, air conditioner whine, plus your bed of atmospheric.
FWIW, I can't recall even the most simple scene in a dramatic piece that ever left here with fewer than 4 tracks including dialog. Generally, the more audio and subtlety you can bring to a scene, the better it feels. Keep it mixed to the point that the second you notice it, it's too loud. It's more a "feel" thing than a "hear" thing.
Clean up the fridge.
Then consider using some subtle sound element to "help" transition from noisy to near silent. Or, just use the silence as part of the drama. Silence is usually a very good thing, if you want to build tension or soften out a moment.
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Old May 8th, 2007, 11:03 AM   #3
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As always, good advice from Spot.

I'd try to use a little noise reduction on the fridge noise--not too much, or you'll end up with those "computery" artifacts on the dialogue. You may be able to lower the fridge sound by a few dB this way without greatly affecting the dialogue, and this might make it easier to mix the two scenes so that the transition between them is at least a little less harsh.

The lesson here for the future is to always, always (when possible, at least) turn off refrigerators, air conditioners, etc. when you shoot (that is, if you actually shot these scenes and are not in fact editing someone else's footage). You can then record these kinds of noises separately in case you decide that you need them in order to build up atmosphere in post, and you'll be able to adjust their levels independently from the dialogue.

It's easy to forget to turn a fridge back on after shooting, so don't forget. A trick I've always used is to put a lens cap or something else you're not likely to forget in the fridge when you turn it off. Then you're guaranteed to remember to turn the fridge on when you come back later for the lens cap.
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Old May 8th, 2007, 11:11 AM   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarrod Whaley View Post

It's easy to forget to turn a fridge back on after shooting, so don't forget. A trick I've always used is to put a lens cap or something else you're not likely to forget in the fridge when you turn it off. Then you're guaranteed to remember to turn the fridge on when you come back later for the lens cap.
THERE is a trick I gotta remember! Put all GSM cell phones in fridge. This way, batteries don't trickle even when off (JK) and if someone forgets to turn it off, it likely won't be heard, and no one leaves without turning on the fridge after they retrieve their cell phone.
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Old May 8th, 2007, 11:39 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Douglas Spotted Eagle View Post
THERE is a trick I gotta remember! Put all GSM cell phones in fridge. This way, batteries don't trickle even when off (JK) and if someone forgets to turn it off, it likely won't be heard, and no one leaves without turning on the fridge after they retrieve their cell phone.
LOL! Not a bad idea at that. You'd also be cutting down the possibility of RF interference from any switched-on phones. Talk about killing multiple birds with a single stone.
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Old May 8th, 2007, 11:40 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Spotted Eagle View Post
THERE is a trick I gotta remember! Put all GSM cell phones in fridge. This way, batteries don't trickle even when off (JK) and if someone forgets to turn it off, it likely won't be heard, and no one leaves without turning on the fridge after they retrieve their cell phone.
I know one guy posted that he puts his car keys in the fridge to remember to turn it back on after the shoot. But I like the cell phone idea. Killing two birds with one stone.

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Old May 8th, 2007, 11:44 AM   #7
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Also keep in mind that putting your keys in the fridge only works if you're actually driving that day. If not, you're liable to get dropped off at your house and realize that you're locked out because your keys are miles away in someone's still-turned-off refrigerator. :D
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Old May 10th, 2007, 08:41 AM   #8
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Thanks for all your comments & suggestions everyone!

You're right - layers and layers of sound are the way to go. I'll get onto that.

In this case I couldn't turn the fridges off (for specifics see my previous post).

Chris!
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