Audio Solution: Microtrack II + SF Noise Reduction at

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Canon EOS Full Frame for HD
All about using the Canon 1D X, 6D, 5D Mk. IV / Mk. III / Mk. II D-SLR for 4K and HD video recording.

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Old January 30th, 2009, 12:06 PM   #1
Inner Circle
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Camas, WA, USA
Posts: 5,513
Audio Solution: Microtrack II + SF Noise Reduction

One sound solution for the 5D MkII is the M-Audio Microtrack II, a $10 adapter cable and the mic of your choice. We happen to be using the Audio Technica AT815b long shotgun. (Not the best choice for indoor work, but it's what we have.) We have one sound guy (my youngest son), so we're doing a set and forget with the gain, so he can focus on the boom. I'm doing post - a few hundred miles from the production.

After EQ'ing and hand-normalizing the volume, the noise was too high and varied from line to line. There was one shot in particular where I figured that ADR would certainly be required. (The two actors were far apart. In that case it's probably best to get one actor solid, and ADR the second in the same space.) Overall, I figured that I'd be massaging the audio by hand to pull the noise down, and then applying noise reduction line by line, since they varied so much.

On a lark, I decided to try Sound Forge 9's noise reduction globally. I found some exposed noise, sampled the noise print, applied it - and the result was like magic! I ended up applying a -18 dB reduction. The dialog does show a hint of processing, and the noise floor is even and has a natural ambiance to it. It's clear that I need to *add* noise to the 100% silent gaps, then re-process the original, so the little noise remaining never draws our attention.

I've tried noise reduction on a number of sources. Sometimes it works like magic. Other times (like when I've gotten 60 Hz broadband buzz from an unbalanced cable), it ends up making the dialog sound underwater, and still doesn't remove the noise.

Fortunately, I can report that the noise from the MicroTrack II is VERY removable, at least with SoundForge 9's NR. (The other advantage of SoundForge 9 is its mastering tools, so you can mix for the screen, and then master for a DVD and again for the web.)

Sony Creative Software - Easy noise-nuking with Sound Forge 9

And no, I don't work for these companies or have any other financial ties.

I'm just glad that we're able to get a very professional sound with some relatively inexpensive gear. It's clear that our next audio investment should be in microphones, rather than mixers and recorders. The quality of the mic shines right through. The noise from the recorder no longer does.
Jon Fairhurst
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