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Old December 27th, 2008, 12:27 AM   #1
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Opinions/help from vegas gurus

Here's a link to a short I'm editing. The sound had a lot of problems with mic noises through the boom. I also think the levels must have been too low because there's a lot of hiss. Here's the area that sounds the worst.

Any ideas on how to make it sound a little better? I have Vegas 8. I added some old public domain songs to make it seem like the radio was on hoping it would mask any remaining bumps. Thanks

YouTube - dialogue
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Old December 27th, 2008, 04:56 AM   #2
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Don't know Chris (oh and I'm not a Vegas guru, I'm sure they will step in later and offer advice).

My uneducated opinion would be that: Considering what you had to work with there might not be a lot that can be done to improve the audio.

There are some folks around here though that do know a lot more about tweaking audio than I, so hopefully they will offer some tips.
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Old December 27th, 2008, 07:51 AM   #3
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You will probably get some useful answers in the All Things Audio forum, Chris. Meanwhile, here's my tuppence worth.

For hiss removal I turn to the (rather expensive) Waves X-Noise. Not sure if you can buy X-Noise any more but I see Z-Noise (presumably an updated version) is available for $800. Phew . . . I can't afford Waves plugins but I have two regular clients that can so I save up my noisy audio for those visits!

Alternatively there is iZotope RX that starts at $349 ($1199 for the advanced version). It also gets great reviews but I haven't had the pleasure. I believe that may be more useful for excising bumps and knocks.

There's a free (open source) audio editor that I believe contains noise reduction tools but again I haven't tried it out as I am a long time Sound Forge and Sonar user. Audacity: Free Audio Editor and Recorder

If you want to improve the audio using Vegas only, you might want to start by playing around with the Track EQ settings. Do you have an 'empty' bit of audio that only has the room noise and no dialogue? May be worth playing around with that first, so you get a clear idea of which frequencies are affected the most.

Whenever I have removed some unwanted hiss, I try and put a little body back in the audio - personally I use BBE Sonic Maximiser for that.

Be warned, hiss removal is not a one click job, even with the expensive third party tools. Keep in mind that you will be subtracting useful frequencies as well as the hiss so you need to make sure you aren't distorting your dialogue.

For your bumps and knocks, if the unwanted sound comes in over dialogue I don't think there is a lot you can do. Do you have multiple takes? Can you use the dialogue from a clean take and drop it in? You'd be surprised how much dialogue replacement goes on. My son did all the ADR for the young boy in HBO's 'John Adams' series. In that case, the director didn't like the actor's voice so they replaced it. Fascinating to watch. If you look at 'Star Trek III The Search for Spock' there are several moments where Klingons are seen speaking in their native language, with English subtitles. But if you look at their lips you can clearly see that they are speaking the English dialogue and that the Klingon voice has been added afterwards. The most obvious example is where Captain Kruge (Christopher Lloyd) says "Animal!" as he vapourises his gunnery officer (I can't believe I am admitting knowing this!!).


If an unwanted knock comes at a point when there is no dialogue, try cutting it out and copying a bit of 'room only' audio into the gap. There is at least one other point in the clip where there is a sudden audio cut out that is very jarring. You should plug that gap with some of your room audio as well.

Good luck.
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Old December 28th, 2008, 02:54 AM   #4
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Chris - I've emailed you!

Grazie
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Old December 28th, 2008, 08:21 AM   #5
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Hiss removal

There's a quite good shareware audio editor I use called Goldwave which costs around $35 to register and it has a useful noise removal tool with various parameters to tweak - perhaps the best one is where you select an area of sound that is the noise only and it uses that as a model from which to delete that kind of sound from the rest of the recording

GoldWave - Audio Editing, Recording, Conversion, Restoration, & Analysis Software

As with all shareware, you can download a trial version to play with first - it's a very small download and easy to install.

Regards
Dave
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Old December 28th, 2008, 09:15 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by David Johns View Post
There's a quite good shareware audio editor I use called Goldwave ...
I have GoldWave, but it can be tricky to use to good effect. The problem is that the default noise reduction setting is too aggressive resulting in a fair degree of digital 'warbling' on the cleaned-up sound.

That said, the noise reduction tool is versatile.

However, I find the results from Audacity are exceptionally good (at least as good as Adobe Audition 2), but the tool is less versatile.

Swings and roundabouts...

My preferred audio editors (in order of preference) are Adobe Audition, Audacity, Goldwave.

Whichever you chose, Vegas allows you to link to an external audio editor, so directly from the timeline you can send the soundtrack to the editor, save it, and Vegas will see it as a new 'take'.

Hope that helps,

Ken
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Old December 28th, 2008, 09:50 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian Stark View Post
Alternatively there is iZotope RX that starts at $349 ($1199 for the advanced version). It also gets great reviews but I haven't had the pleasure. I believe that may be more useful for excising bumps and knocks.
I demo'd this software. I had a clip with ambient music playing, giving a great feel to the video portion. Right towards the end, some lady had a brief outburst type of laugh reaction.

This software knocked it out, but where it goes beyond other packages is that it looks at the before and after audio and manages to 'synthetically' smooth over the space where the objectionable sound was removed. Could I tell by listening? Yes, but only because I knew what I was listening for. A viewer that hadn't seen the original video would never have been the wiser. I was very impressed!

Hiss is always hard to remove because it covers the spectrum.

-gb-
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Old December 28th, 2008, 02:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Woolf View Post
Here's a link to a short I'm editing. The sound had a lot of problems with mic noises through the boom. I also think the levels must have been too low because there's a lot of hiss. Here's the area that sounds the worst.

Any ideas on how to make it sound a little better? I have Vegas 8. I added some old public domain songs to make it seem like the radio was on hoping it would mask any remaining bumps. Thanks

YouTube - dialogue
For free, check out Audacity, and Open source audio tool. It has a decent noise removal tool.

For $300, consider Soundforge. I bought sourdforge specifically for the noise removal tool, and it works wonders (to a point). No amount of post can fix bad audio. Audio tweaking is what I have spent more time on in post than anything else. I eventually realized that getting a $1200 UHF audio system was worth my time. Time will tell if that was a good financial decision.

But the "fix it in post" strategy is the surest way to drive yourself insane. :-)
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Old December 28th, 2008, 04:35 PM   #9
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"But the "fix it in post" strategy is the surest way to drive yourself insane. :-)"

Haha! Yes. I'm hearing more, lesser bumps and noises as I repair areas. This has been "trial by fire" for a noivce like myself. I saw the mic in a few takes and it didn't even appear to be on a shockmount of any type. The director had to let sound dictate which take to use---it just shouldn't be like this :(

Thanks for all the helpful suggestions and Ian: I've tried dropping in audio from other takes and that has been pretty helpful.

When I finally shoot my own film, audio will be right, because this is too difficult.

I'll try Audacity. Thanks!
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Old December 29th, 2008, 03:19 PM   #10
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don't "fix" it, just a waist of time, get more or less decent mike and get the actors do the voice over and mix it with the ambient;
even with a few takes it'll take less time and give you better results.
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Old December 30th, 2008, 10:00 AM   #11
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yes, voice over the clips and mix in. Way easier. As much as it might seem a pain in the butt, i found it to be pretty simple and cost effective. We shoot 4 tv shows that often find the color guys trying to speak against engine noises and crowd ambience. Occasionally, we just cant get enough gain to beat the background so we VO in studio and ad it back in. Your situation is even easier because your actors are not facing the camera. You will have some room there to be a little "off". BTW if you dont have a VO studio set up for Vegas here's what we use and its fabulous.

Focusrite Saffire Mic Pre $350, 1394 IEEE straight into Vegas
Any large diaphram tube condenser mic $250-$500

Vegas tracks very well with great support from plug ins that are already in the software. If your VO tracks are a bit weak (wave form will look thin) send them through real time fx processing and use "Wave Hammer Surround" with the "Voice" preset and that will get you closer to unity. Very clean, very easy. When recording any sound into an NLE you want as much mic gain as possible before clip. Hard to achieve without a good mic pre and compressor/limiter chain.
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