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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...

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Old January 4th, 2012, 03:43 PM   #1
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Audio, Gain, DB

Hi Folks,

Is there a general rule of thumb as to how high I should go with Gain filter etc?

Also, gain filter aside, is there any other techniques in FCP, that could assist with increasing the quality and overall sound of an audio clip.

I've editing the file from a H1, which was placed near the lecturn, but unlike previous weddings, the speakers are coming out much lower, so interested to see if there was a way of improving this in Post

Happy New Year,

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Old January 4th, 2012, 07:10 PM   #2
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Re: Audio, Gain, DB

Soundtrack Pro is your best friend, when it comes to fixing audio though you mentioned that your audios are low. Normalize your audio and set your levels to 0db. and you should be fine.
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Old January 4th, 2012, 07:44 PM   #3
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Re: Audio, Gain, DB

I was under the impression that an audio level going out to disk media should never be as high as 0db..that will blast the speakers when played. I keep my audio around the -6db mark but I have read here that often wedding editors will go right down to -12db.

For me 0db would be way too loud on a DVD but -6db sounds just right. I'm sure others will give more advice. In Sony Vegas I find that a lav mic on the groom's jacket needs to have that track attenuated by around -2.8db before I even start!! Check the audio on a CD/DVD as it stands and compare it to a normal TV program and see how much lower or higher it sounds?

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Old January 4th, 2012, 11:05 PM   #4
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Re: Audio, Gain, DB

I normally have my audio at -9db. For music tracks, which usually peak at 0db, I just drop them to -9db as soon as they are on the timeline. All ambient audio I will adjust (raise or lower, depending on the situation and the audio recorded) so that my average is at -9db but with peaks going up to -6db max.

How far you can push the audio really depends on what you've recorded. If the mic was too far away from the speakers, lifting their voices will also give a noticeable boost to background noise. If the mic was nice and close but they were just speaking softly, you'll likely be able to push it a lot more before background noise becomes significant.
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Old January 5th, 2012, 06:17 AM   #5
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Re: Audio, Gain, DB

Record everything to around -12 so it gives us a bit of headroom should people decide to shout. In the edit we boost everything to -6 and apply a limiter to keep it there. The zoom h4 recording in WAV can boost up audio which is totally flatlined on the waveform to decent levels with no obvious distortion. Love the range of this thing.

Never let any audio go to 0 as it's uncomfortable more than anything else.
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Old January 5th, 2012, 11:13 AM   #6
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Re: Audio, Gain, DB

I try to keep everything to about -12db so I don't blow out anything and if it peaaks up a bit it's generally still tolerable but volume envelopes are my friend. Luckily most music at a wedding reception is usually pretty level so that's normally a simple adjustment. Intros and speeches on the otherhand can be all over the place since the DJ (MC) is mostly a pro and knows how to use a mic whereas the people giving the speeches hold the mic all over the place so even with a mic in front of one of the DJ speakers the levels bounce around. Since I also have a hypercaroid on the camera and am typically pretty close I can still pick up decent sound and spend a few minutes in post adjusting and sweetening as needed but I still go for -12 in the finsihed product.
What do I know? I'm just a video-O-grafer.
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Old January 5th, 2012, 11:41 AM   #7
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Re: Audio, Gain, DB

Gotcha, cheers for the info. Some valuable tips there. I should be sucking diesel the next time 'round.

Having checked the input level on my H1's, I noticed they were down at 50, and peaking at around -24, so based on your advice, if I notch the input level up to around 80 the next time 'round, It should peak at around -12, within the 2ft range

In terms of improving flat audio in post, i'm still lost however, so any tips of your workflow, or how to go about improving audio levels for DVD media would be appreciated.

I'll play around with Soundtrack Pro tonight in any case
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