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Should the Music Score be Compressed?

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Debbie King
Should the Music Score be Compressed?
on Jul 12, 2014 at 11:38:47 pm

Hi Everyone:

Thank you so much for your suggestions on which noise reduction software to use in my sound edits. I came across an article that read that the music should not be compressed, because it will reduce the effect it is supposed to have.

Would anyone know anything about whether music should be compressed in a movie?

Many thanks,

Debbie


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Christopher Griego
Re: Should the Music Score be Compressed?
on Jul 13, 2014 at 2:21:27 am

It is generally advisable to not compress audio before an edit. This is because the rendering process will degrade the quality of the stream if you're using a lossy format for encoding.


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Stephen Mann
Re: Should the Music Score be Compressed?
on Jul 13, 2014 at 4:26:54 am

"Would anyone know anything about whether music should be compressed in a movie?"


How are you distributing? If on DVD or BluRay, then the audio *will* be compressed.
But, in general and including video, you shoot and edit in the highest resolution available to you. Only compress at the last step.

Steve Mann
MannMade Digital Video
http://www.mmdv.com


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John Rofrano
Re: Should the Music Score be Compressed?
on Jul 13, 2014 at 12:25:46 pm

As the others have said, keep it uncompressed until you compress it for final delivery. If that's DVD or Blu-ray you should render to Dolby Digital AC-3 to be placed on the disc. If you are giving it to someone else to take care the final delivery, give them uncompressed PCM audio.

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com



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Kevin McCarthy
Re: Should the Music Score be Compressed?
on Jul 13, 2014 at 2:38:02 pm

If you have a music only video with no narration I would compress and then normalize the track to about 90% as the final action. Normalization will bring you audio to a set level, in this case 90%. It boosts all levels in the same amount, so, if the loudest part gets raised by 15db to get to the 90% level, the lowest level will also be raised by 15%, so it will not affect the dynamics of the music. It simply bring the overall level to the most efficient level for replay.

I very seldom ever compress anything more that 5:1 ratio. Above that level, compression will make any file start to sound "muddy"

If you are doing music videos you should do this separately for each song. That way the volume level will be close to the same for each song, making it easier to listen to. The listener will not have to adjust the volume level for each song to his/her preference.

If your video includes a narration and you are speaking of compressing only the music bed, I would say no to compressing it as a separate track.

Compression "averages" the high and low dynamic peaks. It will therefore change the perceived volume level for the music track and you will probably find that you will have to remix the narration with this new level.

Compression will "thicken" the sound of an audio track and in the case of a narration, give the voice more "balls". This will make it seem to have a more constant level. I compress a voice track after doing any needed noise level reduction. (if you compress and then try to remove noise it won't work as well because the noise level will be "sucked up" by the compression making even harder to remove the noise levels) I then normalize the audio to about 90% a to give me a more consistent voice level. That will make it much easier to mix my music levels.

In that scenario I don't compress the music at all unless it has really wild dynamic peaks. But, if I did a good mix, I probably will not have to do that anyway.

When I have the mix I like I simply do another 90% normalization if needed to set my final levels.

Think of compression as putting your thumb over a garden hose to increase the distance the water will squirt. It doesn't really change the amount of water coming out of the hose, it simply squeezes it into a different pattern.



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Debbie King
Re: Should the Music Score be Compressed?
on Jul 16, 2014 at 6:24:53 pm
Last Edited By Debbie King on Jul 16, 2014 at 6:29:09 pm

Hi Everyone:

Thank you so much for your responses. I always wondered about that, since I am compressing the dialogue after clean up.

John, what I meant was during the mixing process, do I compress, since everything else will be compressed?

What I believe everyone has been saying is to wait until I determine where I will be using it, and then decide whether compressing is necessary. What I am doing is preparing this film for festival exhibition. I will be using the DCP format and possibly Blueray in other occasions.

Many thanks,

Debbie


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Bob Peterson
Re: Should the Music Score be Compressed?
on Jul 13, 2014 at 1:57:04 pm
Last Edited By Bob Peterson on Jul 13, 2014 at 2:00:55 pm

I think you are referring to using something like the audio compressor in Vegas. If that is the case, the video guys do not quite grasp what you are talking about. They are talking about video compression that occurs during the rendering process.

I generally do not compress music because you will lose the dynamic range that music is intended to have. However, I think most of the music we hear today is compressed to give it a lot more "punch" and to sound better. You have to consider both aspects of that question. I am usually concerned that very quiet sections of the music may need some compression so that the music can be heard in most real world situations, but that is a trade-off you have to make.

Dialogue or lectures are a very different story. I always compress that material to insure that it can be clearly heard. I become very irritated when the dialogue in movies drops so low in volume as to be unintelligible. That strikes me as very amateurish work.


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John Rofrano
Re: Should the Music Score be Compressed?
on Jul 13, 2014 at 8:09:48 pm

[Bob Peterson] "I think you are referring to using something like the audio compressor in Vegas. If that is the case, the video guys do not quite grasp what you are talking about. They are talking about video compression that occurs during the rendering process."
You know I never considered that Debbie might be talking about audio compression and not encoding compression.

So now I have to ask: Debbie... which did you mean?

('cuz you always want to use some audio compression to tame the mix)

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com



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