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filtering out noise and improving dub.

COW Forums : Audio Professionals

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timfiltering out noise and improving dub.
by on Mar 15, 2004 at 9:46:27 pm

I've just finished a 36 minute film shot on a Panasonic DVX 100, sound recorded with a Senheisser shotgun and AT lavs, run through a Wendt mixer. I am editing on a Mac with Final Cut Pro 4. There are 2 scenes where the audio is giving me problems. One in which I had to dub the dialogue between 2 actors walking down the street. I recorded the dub inside and it sounds a little boxy. The other is a conversation between 2 actors where it begins to rain and the background rain "hush" noise is distracting.

Question - can you tell me if there are any audio filters in FCP4 that I can use to reduce these problems? I have tried a few but with no luck.

Thanks,

Tim


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MatteRe: filtering out noise and improving dub.
by on Mar 16, 2004 at 12:19:11 pm

PART 1, the Filter:

Bias SoundSoap at about $100 might help with any CONTINUOUS background noise (the rain?).
Otherwise you're pretty-much stuck with what you've recorded.

PART 2, the Lecture:

You hardly ever see questions from shooters who want to "change the background" of their VIDEO
("I shot my actors in a warehouse, but I want them to be in an amusement park. What FILTER do I use?")
If you follow me, I'm saying its just so much BETTER to set up the audio situation/gear and get it right when you RECORD it.

You say you have "boxy" audio? Didn't you HEAR that when you recorded it?
Wouldn't you have re-shot or changed locations if the VIDEO had included unwanted elements (like seeing cars driving by in a supposedly deserted town... or an "extra actor" gawking into the lens during an important scene?)
The audio is just as much of an art to capture as the video.

In the case of looping the "outside" actors, you could have close-mic'ed the actors inside as they were facing into lots of insulation or fluffy blankets to absorb any reflected sound (or just looped them standing OUTSIDE.)
At this point, try to add enough outdoor "ambience" sound effects... wind, dog-barks, crickets... whatever seems appropriate... to help mask the roomtone.

The best audio tool you can use is GREAT headphones (i.e. Sony MDR-600.)
WEAR them every time you intend to USE the audio you are recording.
If you hear something you don't like... you can re-shoot it until it IS right.



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timRe: filtering out noise and improving dub.
by on Mar 16, 2004 at 1:03:53 pm

Right, thanks for the lecture.


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Jake TolbertAMEN !! Matte !!
by on Mar 16, 2004 at 3:39:11 pm

[Matte] - "You hardly ever see questions from shooters who want to "change the background" of their VIDEO ("I shot my actors in a warehouse, but I want them to be in an amusement park. What FILTER do I use?") If you follow me, I'm saying its just so much BETTER to set up the audio situation/gear and get it right when you RECORD it."

Someone finally said what we've all been thinking. Thanks Matte !! I feel you. But, that being said, let's try to be kind to our brothers and sisters behind the camera, after all, if not for them, a lot of audio engineers wouldn't have jobs...

As novice shooters become seasoned DPs and Directors, they will come to realize how valuable a good audio team is. George Lucas always says sound is 50% or more of his films...

Cheers

Jake Tolbert
PFS Multimedia
Steinberg Audio Tools &
Audio Professionals
Forum Leader


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timRe: AMEN !! Matte !!
by on Mar 16, 2004 at 6:41:52 pm

Boy do you guys love yourselves. It's not worth the time to respond any further to either of your comments. The quality of the feedback on the audio forum is so far below what is available on the FCP4, DVX100 forums there is no reason ever to visit your corner of the site again.


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Jake TolbertRe: AMEN !! Matte !!
by on Mar 16, 2004 at 7:14:52 pm

Tim,

There is no reason to be rude. Matte was probably a little harsh with his comments. However, he is correct. You just can't fix everything in post.

But, with tools such as SoundSoap, or the more expensive Waves Restoration Bundle plugins, you can somewhat remove background noise, and other types of interference, by taking a "noise print", at points where no dialog or action is taking place.

The "boxy" sound you are experiencing shows your experience in audio recording, so you really have no place calling anyone's advice here sub-par to anything. The boxy sound is cause by recording in a space with lots of parallel surfaces, and hard corners, causing "room modes" and "flutter" echo. This all feeds back into the mic, and adds a "comb filtering" effect. In the end, in additional an unbalanced frequency response, you get harsh harmonics in the audio, which makes is sound "canned" or "hollow" etc.

Although, with creative EQ, or using sonic maximizer type plugins, can "warm" it up, or as Peter suggested, cover it up with reverb, in general, it will still remain a bad sounding recording.. Just like bad camera work, bad audio recordings are only repairable so much... That's the point Matte was trying to make.

Audio Professional, it's not beyond the scope of this forum, to not only give advice how to fix your audio mistakes now, but how to prevent them in the future. Take a cue from some of the others on the Cow, have a sense of humor. And, if someone goes too far, let them know politely, without attacking everybody in the group... You are making generalizations which are simply not true.

There is lots of good advice floating around in this forum, give it a chance.. (Intelligent, well thought-out and friendly posts get more attention than vague, over-broad, assuming posts) And, remember, everyone here is volunteering there time, there is no obligation to respond to every post.


Jake Tolbert
PFS Multimedia
Steinberg Audio Tools &
Audio Professionals
Forum Leader


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Peter PerryRe: Ouch (nm)
by on Mar 16, 2004 at 7:29:54 pm

Ouch


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MatteRe: filtering out noise... PART DEUX
by on Mar 16, 2004 at 9:19:18 pm

Sorry to have sounded "harsh".
Let me simply EDIT my above post and see if it sounds softer.

[Matte] "Bias SoundSoap at about $100 might help with any CONTINUOUS background noise (the rain?). "

[Matte] "its just so much BETTER to set up the audio situation/gear and get it right when you RECORD it. "

[Matte] "In the case of looping the "outside" actors, you could have close-mic'ed the actors inside as they were facing into lots of insulation or fluffy blankets to absorb any reflected sound"

[Matte] "At this point, try to add enough outdoor "ambience" sound effects... wind, dog-barks, crickets... whatever seems appropriate... to help mask the roomtone.
"


There... I didn't change a word.
I just left out the parts that could actually be USEFUL the NEXT time you record.
I hate to simply give a "hardware answer" to a "technique problem" as I myself learned from some "hard-nosed pros" in the business, and I know I'm better at my job today because of it.
If I only had gotten "yes and no answers" back then (and no lectures) I'd probably still be a cable-puller.


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Scott C.Re: filtering out noise and improving dub.
by on Mar 18, 2004 at 3:06:22 pm

I don't mean to be contrarian because your sermon speaks to me, but...

"You hardly ever see questions from shooters who want to "change the background" of their VIDEO
("I shot my actors in a warehouse, but I want them to be in an amusement park. What FILTER do I use?")"

If you were reading the video forums you would see questions like this quite often... beleive it or not. And it is kinda funny that a person who calls himself Matte would say such a thing.


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MatteRe: filtering out noise and improving dub.
by on Mar 18, 2004 at 3:53:30 pm

[Scott C.] "If you were reading the video forums you would see questions like this quite often... beleive it or not. And it is kinda funny that a person who calls himself Matte would say such a thing. "

Very good, Scott

LOL.

But you left out a rather important point in your slant on this.
If the the intent was to matte-in the amusement park, the shoot would have been set up for this in advance (i.e. chroma-key screen.)
I, of course, was (broadly) referring to deciding to alter the setting AFTER the fact, as a way to "fix" the video.


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Scott C.Re: filtering out noise and improving dub.
by on Mar 19, 2004 at 3:04:53 pm

Yes, quite right.
But when you work for a client or producer who stores his head in his nether region, they will, out of ignorance or poor planning ask for this kind of thing after it is in the can. As annoying as it is, I can't complain because wild desires like his have propelled the technology into some amazing places!


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Peter PerryRe: filtering out noise and improving dub.
by on Mar 16, 2004 at 4:47:40 pm

I'm not too familiar with Mac stuff, but if you had Peak, I betcha that would have a good noise reduction filter in it, you could sample the rain and use that to reduce some of the rain sound, it might help a little. Using Peak again, you could add a little reverb to help relieve some of the boxiness on the other dub track...there is probably a preset that would approximate outdoors....and add some sfx also to bring it to life.
You've already had your lecture, so I'll shut up now.
Peter


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stevesherrickRe: filtering out noise and improving dub.
by on Mar 16, 2004 at 8:34:11 pm

Wow, I spend some time on those forums that Tim mentioned and I don't think this one is any harsher than those can be at times. I learned a nice lesson long ago. Listen to what people have to say, and then take it and use what you can from it. Even if you don't think it's correct, there may be something in there that helps you. By letting ego get in the way, you can miss the little gems ok knowledge that are out there. These forums have lots of little gems. Keep up the good work guys! I'd rather hear a "lecture" than not hear anything at all. What you guys do is an important part of the process.


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Jake TolbertEverybody cool now?
by on Mar 16, 2004 at 10:42:43 pm

Everybody cool now? Let's not let this get "Too Hot for CC" (creative cow) hehe !!

I'm getting out of the line of fire now either way... Cheers

Jake Tolbert
PFS Multimedia
Steinberg Audio Tools &
Audio Professionals
Forum Leader


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