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Muffled Audio

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Francois Xavier
Muffled Audio
on Feb 14, 2009 at 6:49:51 am

We shot this film with an EX3 and edited in Premiere CS3, but users keep complaining that the sound is muffled or too low. What are we doing wrong?
Thanks!


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Noah Kadner
Re: Muffled Audio
on Feb 14, 2009 at 9:02:02 pm

Sounds ok to me but I got my headphones already cranked up. There's a massive ambience difference in what sounds like live audio to ADR but that's not a deal breaker if this is just for fun. To what level DB are you mastering to? Maybe you should boost your overall levels a bit for the folks watching on computers.

-Noah

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olof ekbergh
Re: Muffled Audio
on Feb 16, 2009 at 1:45:36 pm

Great video I just finished breakfast, and now I am hungry again.

The audio seems fine level is just low. If you normalized the compressed video stream to 100% it would be good and loud.

I use Squeeze but Compressor will do that as well, this is on a Mac. I know Squeeze comes for PC as well, and I am sure there are other software compressors that do this on PC's.

Olof Ekbergh


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stephen may
Re: Muffled Audio
on Feb 18, 2009 at 9:18:00 pm

A very good way to get back low level audio is to enter the world of compressing the peaks and valleys in order to raise the overall level without clipping. It's a technique that has been overused, I admit, in the mastering stages of pop, but I'd be quick to try this technique over Normalization. Here's the quick of it:

In FCP, if all of your levels are nicely set within the final edit as a whole, then take the sequence from the Browser and drag it into a new sequence, which creates a nest. Ctl click or right click the nested sequence and select Open in Viewer.

Select 'Effects' > Audio Filters > Final Cut Pro > Compressor Limiter. Then in the 'Filters' tab of the Viewer, under Compressor, leave the Threshold(db) at -40, and select a Ratio of at least 1.2 or 1.24 to begin, and (this is the important part; check the 'Preserve Volume' box.

You will now have a large gain increase without distortion and without hot peaks that put you into clip. You can increase the 'Ratio' for even more gain, but try not to go too far, for example over 2.6 or 3. This technique is a fantastic method for re-gaining soft audio from interviews, and I like it because it's best not to mix two different mics, for example, Lav with shotgun. Pick the cleanest clearest track and apply this technique, and you'll be golden. And if not, the last thing I would tell you is that you can always take advantage of summing. Two instances of the same track (make sure they lay in at exactly the same point so they are not out of phase) - will increase the level of the sound. So if you have a clean but very quiet audio track, and you've already applied the Compressor Limiter to the track but it's still not up over -6db (don't mix above -3db!) then you can double click that audi track into the viewer and assign the destination track to a track below it (below the original track), set your in exactly at the head of the original track, and drop it in. Now you have two tracks in sync of the same audio, and the sum of the two instances of the audio results in a higher level of volume, without distortion, and without phase.

Hope this has been helpful. -Stephen

Stephen May
Keystone Media Productions
Freelance Videographer


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