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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old April 10th, 2011, 06:31 AM   #1
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Audio Editing?

I've just dug out the video of my own Wedding (1987) from our old VHS tapes, and wish to edit it and place it on Blu-ray & DVD (yes I know the original quality is not going to be anywhere near either format but I'm just thinking of future storage media), the editing will be interesting.

The video was filmed by a friend using a handheld VHS camcorder normally used professionally by Teachers of the Deaf to film from a fixed position hearing impaired children for oral/aural language development. So it wasn't done professionally and the friend made the mistake throughout of singing all the hymns of the ceremony.

The actual filming is very reasonable, and with some careful editing I should be able to produce a good result ready for our looming 25th Wedding Anniversary next July, but I need some sort of pointers to try and edit the audio.

How do I remove or at least reduce the volume of the friend singing hymns? Is there any software I should be using to process the audio separately to achieve this?

Obviously in a professional capacity some of you will sometimes get a client wishing to transfer their treasured VHS onto other media, and I'm not looking for a freebie here, I just need pointing in the right direction, or at least an indication that its possible to remove this singing.

This will be the only wedding I'm ever going to sit an edit, but the 'client' is quite demanding, ahem!
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Old April 10th, 2011, 12:37 PM   #2
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Re: Audio Editing?

Our videographer's association in the San Francisco Bay area (BAPVA) recently had a program dedicated to audio for video editing techniques. I shot it and posted it on Vimeo. You may find some useful information in it.

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Old April 10th, 2011, 10:44 PM   #3
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Re: Audio Editing?

Interesting lecture Jim, interesting to me as a Radio Amateur anyway; there were some bits of information they barely mention, on which I know a lot more, such a RFI shielding techniques for audio, Radio Interference, and antenna theory, and it was good to tie the different strands of knowledge together.

There's a few pieces of NLE software it looks like I'll need to invest in too!

Thanks for the video link.
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Old April 12th, 2011, 10:53 AM   #4
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Re: Audio Editing?

Wayne, Good luck with your project. Let us know how you did with it.
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Old August 5th, 2011, 02:15 PM   #5
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Re: Audio Editing?

I've decided not to edit out the person who was operating the camera and was singing whilst recording, for two reasons, firstly she was a Teacher of the Deaf who taught Natural Auralism and I've subsequently reviewed the material and decided it wasn't so bad (she didn't sing all the time anyway), and secondly, this teacher has since died due to aggressive throat cancer which involved several operations, including the removal of her tongue.

I have digitised it, from VHS Tape to MiniDV (JVC SR-VS30EK), then imported it to my MacBook.

There has been some small edits required to the video for the sake of continuity, and have levelled the audio through out the recording to avoid having to turn up the volume to hear the words, and turn down the volume during Hymns while viewing the recording.

In addition, she seems to have left the camera recording whilst not actively filming at the Reception, and the Video is unusable, but the Audio isn't, plus she lens capped it for a period of time while it was still recording and left on the table, and then started recording again!!!

One thing, due to her being a Teacher of the Deaf, she decided to focus her attention on another Deaf Member of my wife's extended family, and all but missed the cutting of the cake, put it like this, she pans away at a critical moment, and then pans back again during...

Overall, it's not going to turn out too bad, and the additional audio footage of the reception is going to be useful at the end of the tape during the choice Wedding Photos I'm going to include as a Slide Show.

This has been the first time I've looked at the VHS in twenty years or more, and the bits that are missing I know were due to it raining on the day, we have no footage of the Bride getting out of her transport and walking up the church path with her father, and none of her leaving the church with me, the Groom, via the same path due to only operating one camera. Also I assume a professional Videographer would these days be at the rehersals in the church prior to the Wedding, and would have told us to wait for the Bridesmaids and Page Boys to follow us down the isle away from the altar as the newly married couple. I seem to sprint, ok not quite, but we could have took our time a bit more.

Once it's finished I may opt for a Vimeo Free Account and post it for criticism (water off a duck's back), playback is less than an hour, because it seems she stopped recording during some Hymns due to worrying about battery life, where I've made small edits these use a standard fade out/in transition, nothing fancy as I don't like 'fancy'.

At least you'll have a real video that shows where things can be amateurish, even when wielded by someone that uses it professionally, and we have to remember this video is 1987, maybe the tripod was too heavy/big to fit in her car and that is why one is not used throughout?

I should also point out that the Teacher of the Deaf doing the filming, was Lady Mayoress of Shrewsbury at the time of her death a few weeks ago, and the Mayor has appreciated my creating MP3 Audio Files of her Singing a Hymn, and saying the Lord's Prayer, especially having not heard his wife's voice for several months during her illness.
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Old August 5th, 2011, 04:39 PM   #6
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Re: Audio Editing?

Wayne, although you seem to have a pretty good idea of how you want the finished piece to look may I offer a couple of suggestions?

First though a small correction to your preception of what we do. Very few of us organise or hold back the couple (there's quite enough photographers doing that already) but organise ourselves or our cameras to capture the bits you noticed are missing.

But to my main point. Have you decided who you're making this new programme for? My guess is perhaps next next generation or maybe the one after that (your grandchildren). If that's the case may I suggest you make a version which includes a 21st century voice over commentary by you reflecting on what was happening, perhaps filling in salient bits that were missed, and even an unscripted discussion between you and your wife on what you remember now or have remembered thank to the video of your wedding day.

Regular readers here will recognise a technique I've used and suggested before when there are incomplete programmes but I thiunk it could work just as well for you - perhaps even add a new dimension to the original programme.

The key is to have in mind (not necessarily stated) who you're talking to, who your intended audience is.

If you're very lucky it isn't necessary. I've just finished transcribing a 3-hour 2-camera shoot of my cousin (very well known in sailing circles) describing and reminiscing on his solo circumnavigation of the world 20 years ago in a small boat he built himself, with just a compass and a watch. Fortunately he is a compelling speaker, is very effective just talking to the main camera, without a script, not even notes. With some good, very good b-roll, it could make a special interest broadcast programme or sell-through video but for now it's just a family archive. Interestingly he asked in an email the other day, "I wonder what our grandchildren will make of it".
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Old August 6th, 2011, 04:36 AM   #7
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Re: Audio Editing?

Interesting ideas Philip, thats given me a new direction to consider.

What I think I'm going to do is create a basic DVD and while playing this back to my immediate family, possibly on separate occasions, with different generations, I'm going to record reactions to the video.

I'll then create a finished DVD & Blu-ray, using all available material, along broadly the lines you've mentioned, including ideas of my own.

Unfortunately, I now see at least two versions of the edit being required, since in addition to keeping some family history, I have plans to have a garden party on our 25th, with a large screen and projector erected, and I can see that one edit of the video won't translate to well to such different requirements. The latter likely to be a highlights video rather than the whole wedding, and afterwards I'll probably need to create a continuous slide show on yet another DVD for the photographs.

This is looking like a lot more than a few hours effort at this point, but at least I have 12 months to perfect it!

Thanks, I think.
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