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Raymond Smith
on Sep 27, 2007 at 4:08:27 pm

I recently recorded a wedding in a very big church. The priest used a microphone, but the echo around the church is terrible. What is the best way (I am using Vegas4) to try and cut down this echo?
An urgent reply would be appreciated.

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Kerry Brown
on Sep 28, 2007 at 2:35:32 am

Would it be possible for you to get the priest in for a ADR session?
Echo is basicly impossible to fix.


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Mark Suszko
on Sep 28, 2007 at 2:25:37 pm

Trying to fix echo is very hard, no answer is perfect. But something you mighty try if you have Sound Forge or similar DAW program, is to set a noise gate on the audio with a rapid attack and decay time. You are going to have to fiddle with the knobs quite a bit to get a setting that clamps the reverb without hurting the rest of the sound too badly, but it can help.

What this gating in effect does is duck the audio down immediately after the initial instant each word is said, as the gate detects the slightly less loud echo part's level. As the next word is said, the gate rapidly detects it past a preset threshold and brings the level up within a microsecond. The gate does this over and over for every microsecond of audio.

Don't expect a miracle. Try a gate and maybe some downward expansion on some of the lower frequencies, then play with EQ to sweeten the mids and highs a little. Don't know what these are? Check the help files or wikipedia.

Next time you're shooting in a big, echoey church space, prepare ahead. Go to the rehearsal and shoot test footage and listen to it. Check for hearing assist: If the minister or rabbi or priest is on a mic, chances are the church or temple has an assisted listening system for the hard of hearing members. These are pocket sized radio receivers with disposable earphones, usually your standard mini jack in mono. Buy a $2 cable at radio shack to connect mini-male to your camcorder mic input, and boom, you have wireless reception of every house mic in the church. Bring plenty of AA alkaline and 9 volt batteries BTW, usually the units in a church are not changed out too often and you don't want to run out of juice in the middle. By recording the close-miced sources, you avoid trying to capture from a distance in a very "live" room. This worked surprisingly well for me a couple of times, and it avoids getting any difficulties from a difficult officiant regarding your mic placement (though I would always mic the groom with a wireless hidden in the lapel regardless).

Other mics that are somewhat noise-cancelling include Boundary type "PZM" mics that are relatively easy to hide on or around a lectern or altar.

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