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Old March 20th, 2014, 02:31 PM   #1
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Audio - lowering only loud parts?

I must admit, audio editing is a real weakness of mine. Here's the thing - one problem that's always plagued me and I keep thinking, there must be an automated solution!

An audio track which has both quiet vocals from speech and then occasional loud cheers and applause.

I want the speech to be louder, but the applause is already loud as it is.

Surely you don't have to selectively raise and lower throughout the timeline??

Tell me there's an 'effect' please!

P.S. Im a Vegas user.
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Old March 20th, 2014, 02:35 PM   #2
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Re: Audio - lowering only loud parts?

Choice of a couple of effects depending on what you're using for the software.

The usual ones are compressor (which can compress the loud and possibly boost the quiet, though be careful of also boosting the noise floor) and Limiter which does similar things but also allows you to limit the over all db levels rather than just increasing or decreasing in relative terms.

If you're in Premiere Pro you can also apply an over all hard limit to the track volume and therefore boost everything without having the already loud bits getting any louder. These are all found in the audio mixer section (twirl down menus).

Sorry, I'm not familiar with Vegas but I'm sure it will have a compressor at the very minimum.
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Old March 20th, 2014, 05:01 PM   #3
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Re: Audio - lowering only loud parts?

Like Dave says, but it also occurs to me you might in future just use AGC when recording (most of us turn it off, or, if you've got the facility, record two mono tracks, one with AGC, one manual)
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Old March 20th, 2014, 08:56 PM   #4
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Re: Audio - lowering only loud parts?

Hi Clive

It would be nice if Vegas could do the audio edit for you wouldn't it. I'm assume you do use the Audio Volume Envelope on your track ?? That way going thru the audio track is fairly quick and you can just "rubber band" louder sections like applause and also lift audio where the bride says her vows in a tiny whisper. A full ceremony doesn't really take that long.

Modern Pro cameras do have AGC and it's a lot more developed now compared to the old days camcorders that used to pump the level up and down whenever there was even a very brief amount of silence ...they tend to work as limiters now but work both ways both dropping and lifting audio levels so flipping one track into auto might be worth a try. My Sony cams have awesome AGC and they control levels very well indeed!!

Chris
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Old March 21st, 2014, 12:59 AM   #5
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Re: Audio - lowering only loud parts?

Read up on the" Levelator."

It's a free download from

The Levelator from The Conversations Network

I have used in many times and in most cases it's worked well. Once your edit is finished render out a WAV file from the timeline, drop it into Levelator and process. Levelator will create a new WAV file that you can drop straight back into Vegas onto a new set of audio tracks. Mute you original tracks and you should be pretty ready to go. Worth a try at least.

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Old March 21st, 2014, 04:37 AM   #6
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Re: Audio - lowering only loud parts?

Just use the Compressor in Vegas. Try saving some of your own settings within it. The audio envelope is also useful but can be time consuming if you get frequent short changes in the volume.

And as already mentioned auto-levels on your recording device may be the best solution.

Apart from that tackling the issue at the point of recording by being able to monitor the levels can work well. I'm using three Senny G3's. The speakers are lav'd obviously. The 3 receivers are plugged into my Zoom H4n which in turn is clamped to a tripod leg so I can see the actual levels on the 3 channels I'm using. I'm only needing to set the levels to around 50% when in combination with the internal settings I'm using with my G3's and this gives me a clear speaker recording and usable ambient whilst not letting any loud ambient audio lead to clipping. Whereas if I use tabletop recorders I need to set the levels to around 80-90% and that can give me clipping.

The G3 is an expensive route at around 500 per kit but it may be a better return on investment than the latest and greatest cam.

Pete
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Old March 21st, 2014, 05:14 AM   #7
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Re: Audio - lowering only loud parts?

I had messed around with the compressor in Vegas, but it couldn't get the hang of it. (I was guessing too much - should have looked for a tute online!)

But the Levelator looks like a decent option.

But for the audio portion of a video file, would I need to open and export audio to a file, or does Levelator rip the audio portion off movie files?

I do use the volume envelopes, but honestly, why would you go to that effort if software can do this?

Got to 2:30 to see before and after waveforms.

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Old March 21st, 2014, 05:41 AM   #8
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Re: Audio - lowering only loud parts?

I prefer to do as much as possible within Vegas and avoid going out to third party apps - though I have got the Levelator.

Here is a pre-set I use in the Compressor in Vegas for really nasty cases:

http://www.ashtonlamont.co.uk/images/comp-01.jpg

Pete
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Old March 21st, 2014, 07:19 AM   #9
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Re: Audio - lowering only loud parts?

Thanks Peter, I'll give that a go.

Do you see the change in the waveform out of interest?
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Old March 21st, 2014, 07:51 AM   #10
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Re: Audio - lowering only loud parts?

Audio is also something I want to adapt on myself.

I shoot live wrestling events and someone suggested levelator to me, to help me level my commentary audio. While it works ok, it does some annoying things sometimes, like you can hear it boosting in between the commentators talking, and I don't like how it sounds, but I find balancing audio a challenge with wrestling events.

Basically, my audio set-up contains of a Zoom with two headsets for the commentary, then I use the camera sound from the two cameras. I try to lower the levels of the two cameras and I use levelator on the commentary track to level out the difference in volume between the two commentator's voices.

Maybe, I should consider using levelator afterwards once I've edited like someone suggest above?
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Old March 21st, 2014, 07:58 AM   #11
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Re: Audio - lowering only loud parts?

Hi Clive

In Vegas you would have to ungroup the audio and video files of your clip, delete the video then render the audio as a WAV file ...Let the Levelator do it's thing and then import the audio file back into Project media and drop it onto the time line. The only issue would be geeting the audio track back in sync but if you start with the main clip (still grouped) and drag it hard against the timeline start before you ungroup the file, you can then ungroup, process, (leaving Vegas open), import and drag the new file back to the start and it should be in sync! Then you can group the two again and you have a good file. I just wondering if bringing back a WAV under the video would cause any issues??? I don't think so.

I still think it might be a little more effective than the compressor or am I wrong?? It would be great for vows too where the bride's vows are often softer than the grooms. I might try it on an old wedding.

Chris
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Old March 21st, 2014, 08:24 AM   #12
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Re: Audio - lowering only loud parts?

Just a little update - Chris, the Levelator is flipping brilliant!!! You are a genius for finding it.

I opened an old ceremony in Vegas where the celebrant was a bit soft as was the bride so there was HUGE variations in levels...split the file and render an audio WAV file and run it thru the software and it does an amazing job ...all the low level audio is lifted and all the high levels are dropped ..my only tiny complaint is that it seems to set the level to 0db but that's easily rectified by simply reducing the track level by -6db!! It also does it in stereo so if you export both your channels it will level both of them and in Vegas you can then switch and use whichever works for you. It's also non destructive which is great so you always can go back to the original clip if you mess something up. Because I used the complete clip starting a zero sync was perfect too.

I doubt whether the compressor could match this at all and doing the export/import is done in minutes. One word of warning? It's designed for speech so don't use it for the dancing as you will lose a lot of low frequencies but for vows it's magic!!

Chris
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Old March 21st, 2014, 09:16 AM   #13
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Re: Audio - lowering only loud parts?

I'm looking forward to getting home and trying it now!
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Old March 21st, 2014, 10:25 AM   #14
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Re: Audio - lowering only loud parts?

I've gotten good results from the Levelator too!
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Old March 21st, 2014, 11:57 AM   #15
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Re: Audio - lowering only loud parts?

A quick before and after with the Levelator.

The spoken audio is from the master of ceremonies who is actually very far away from the recorder hence the background noise.

password: levelator
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