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Old November 10th, 2005, 08:37 AM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 13
FCP 4.5 Audio Mixing

Please excuse my lack of experience but here's the problem: I'm editing a short film and there's a scene in which the best audio take from one shot doesn't match the best audio take in another shot. The location is a downtown city street and the audio levels from clip to clip are obviously different. Since there was no audio mixer on set, how to I cut between clips and smooth out the audio as to not distract the viewer when cutting between angles?

I laid down some temp background noise with 0 db audio transitions and it helped a bit, but I'm looking for a cleaner sound when cutting between clips. Obviously, the sound guy made some mistakes on set but I figure this is something that can be fixed. The main problem is the actual audio levels that were recorded (mic was closer to the character in one shot and more distant in another).

Anyone know how to resolve this issue within FCP or at least make it less obvious?
Jason Cunningham is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 10th, 2005, 09:21 AM   #2
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Mays Landing, NJ
Posts: 11,462
I tape our operas on two different nights - wide shots the first night and closeups on the second - then I edit them together. At first I thought this would never work in terms of audio, but with a little practice I learned how to make the audio splices completely invisible.

First, you need to match the levels as close as you can. Then you need to find good places for the cuts. Since I'm dealing with an orchestra and singers this will probably be a lot different than your material. But there are two simple tricks which work well for me.

1. Do not make the audio splice in the same location as the video splice. This helps mask any differences by not providing a clue that something is changing in the audio track. If possible, offset the video and audio track cuts by a couple seconds.

2. If a straight cut sounds too abrupt then do a cross fade. Are you working in stereo? If so then create 4 tracks (2 left + 2 right) on the timeline and place the audio from the first shot on tracks 1+2 and the second shot on tracks 3+4. Now drag track 1 so it overlaps track 3. How much to overlap depends on the material. Zoom the view in to the maxium so you can see each frame of the video. Activate the clip overlay button (zig-zag icon in the lower left corner). Now use the pen tool to place keyframes on audio tracks 1+3. The idea is to fade audio track 1 up as you fade track 3 down within the area where they overlap. Now do the same thing with tracks 2+4. For best results, stagger the crossfades of tracks 1+3 and 2+4 so they don't happen at the same time. Just like the video, I find that this also helps disguise the transition.

Well anyway, this is what I do and it works very well. Since you're editing different material it may not address all your issues (like room tone, etc). But give it a try and see if it helps.
Boyd Ostroff is offline   Reply

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