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Old June 19th, 2010, 09:26 AM   #1
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Adjusting audio volume

I have a very simple clip to put together, one complete piece of audio and video, no edits at all, approx 20 mins long.

The clip contains various speakers but the camera was positional a little too far away and only relied on the on board mic. I've increased the track volume and i'm now happy with the level.

The problem....there is lots of applause throughout the entire clip, which is now far too loud. Is there a simple way of highlighting each bit of applause and lowering the volume as its going to be rather longwinded to cut each section of appluase out and put on a seperate track with a lower volume.

I'm using Vegas 8.0c by the way.

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Old June 19th, 2010, 03:56 PM   #2
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Shift+V and add points where you want to control your volume. Just drag it up to increase audio and drag down to reduce audio.
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Old June 19th, 2010, 06:50 PM   #3
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It's a while since I used 8c but I believe it has an audio compressor in it which might do the job after you spend time adjusting the settings. Set the ratio to 20:1.

Depending how far back the mic was and the difference in levels it might sound compressed but try it. Cheers.
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Old June 19th, 2010, 09:29 PM   #4
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Get the Four Points script written by Edward Troxel.
It'll make your life a LOT easier when doing things like this.
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Old June 20th, 2010, 07:15 AM   #5
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As Alan said, using a Compressor would probably be the quickest solution. But you can definitely manually do it with the Volume Envelope for which you've gotten plenty of additional advice.
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Old June 20th, 2010, 01:13 PM   #6
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Thanks guys, in the end i've bitten the bullet and upgraded to V9, the ducking tool is perfect for the job.
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Old June 20th, 2010, 03:09 PM   #7
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Hola my friends,
it has been a while....
How does the audio compressor exactly work?
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Old June 20th, 2010, 03:18 PM   #8
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Hola Marcus .. basically it takes loud audio and reduces it and quiet audio and raises the level.

There are various controls to do this and it takes some experience to get a result so that no one notices that it's compressed. There's audio compression on most everything.

Cheers.
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Old June 20th, 2010, 03:57 PM   #9
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Hi Allan,
thank u 4 the quick reply!
I have a tape with a very very low volume of an interview. Your best bet would be:
a- Properties/normalize
b-play with the volume kf

Which values should i set on the track compressor to raise it up?
Is there any noticeble difference between the audio modified with "normalize" and setting values on the track compressor?
I would like to understand how the values on the compressor works...
Thx for taking the time to answer my questions
MM
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Old June 21st, 2010, 08:37 AM   #10
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Think of it this way, the compressor will knock down the loud parts. Basically, as the audio gets louder, the compressor makes it have to get really louder in order to get a little bit louder. There's several presets on the compressor, check them out and you can see what the various settings do.

By default, the Vegas compressor does adjust the audio to also bring up the volume after knocking down the loudness. However, that's not required but I've found it typically helps to let it do so.

If set properly someone can go from almost a whisper to a loud speaking voice with very little "volume" difference - but you can still hear the inflection differences so you still hear that intensity has changed.
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Old June 21st, 2010, 08:40 AM   #11
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BTW, the "Normalize" function in Vegas is basically worthless. It simply takes the loudest spike, moves that to a set volume, and adjust everything else the exact same amount. So if the loudest point needs to be raised 6db, everything will simply be raised 6db.
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Old June 21st, 2010, 05:38 PM   #12
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Hi Edward I actually wrote this last night and didn't have time to post it .. I have different angles so with respect here they are.

Marcus .. you'll have to experiment and if the 'low level' stays about the same volume throughout the interview then try 'normalise' to raise it all up so the loudest part reaches zero on the waveform. I use normalise a lot, not for low level voices but in post for low level live sound effects when you don't know how loud they are going to get and you don't want to distort them when recording. The best prevention for this is to have an audio limiter in the recording chain which my Canon A1 doesn't have.

After you normalise your voices you'll probably have too much tape hiss .. so then you should use an equaliser to turn down the high frequencies around 6kH. Your aim is to have voices that are intelligible .. if the track ends up with some hiss just leave it and remember to check your audio levels before you start next time.

If the voices have a big dynamic range, loud to soft .. you could try a compressor. When properly adjusted it should raise the soft parts and lower the loud parts .. even it out. If the dynamic range is huge, try the 20:1 ratio ie: for every 20dB peak it reduces it to 1dB output.

The only way to really understand a compressor is to work with one .. don't get carried away with the knobs and over compress things.. listen to it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl Barlow View Post
Thanks guys, in the end i've bitten the bullet and upgraded to V9, the ducking tool is perfect for the job.
Carl, I don't think the ducking tool is the right tool for your job.
You have to have one track (the audience) that will automatically duck under the speakers voices (another track) so you'd have to split your audio to 2 tracks before you start. That's a lot of work, I'd try a compressor first.

Cheers.
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 01:12 AM   #13
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A few tips for adjusting the audio manually:

"V" - brings up the audio level envelope
Double clicking on the envelope - add a keyframe
Shift + drag left mouse button - allows you to draw curves in the audio level and it will automatically create keyframes.

There is also the script someone mentioned which allowes you to add four keyframes at once - giving you a quick way to make the audio level decrease gradually, level out, then increase again.
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Old June 22nd, 2010, 07:50 AM   #14
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Allan, I don't think we really said anything different. I still consider the normalize function in Vegas basically worthless. Just upping the volume on the track header or with a volume envelope will do the same thing (unless it's really, really, soft and there's no "peak" somewhere). Either way, you're raising the noise floor as much as you're raising the volume of what you want to keep.
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