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Dumb question from a video editor

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Dumb question from a video editor
on Jun 9, 2006 at 2:16:28 pm

I'm sorry I have to ask you guys this, because I've looked at the forum and found a few similar questions from other video guys, but here we go...
I just got some footage from a concert and the levels look and sound terrible. From the waveform, it seems like the audio that was fed to the camera input was completely in the red and the cameraman just adjusted his levels to compensate. To put it a bit clearer, I have no peaks whatsoever.
I only have Soundtrack for audio. I've tried different combinations of limiters and clip distortion effects to try to clean it up, with limited success. Does anyone have any other ideas for me?

Thanks in advance,
Travis Johnson

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Stephen Muir
Re: Dumb question from a video editor
on Jun 9, 2006 at 3:42:11 pm

If the audio's clipped, then its clipped. Once you run out of ones and zeros, there's no going back. All you can do is try to minimize the damage.

Rolling off some of the highs with an EQ can soften the edginess a bit, but not much.

Talk to the sound reinforcement mixer from the concert. If you're really lucky, they may have recorded the board output to a DAT or CD.

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John Fishback
Re: Dumb question from a video editor
on Jun 9, 2006 at 3:43:59 pm

There's a post about this a bit down this forum:

The solutions mentioned there require unclipped audio to either side of a clip in order to synthesize replacement audio. From your description it sounds like your audio is totally clipped. If this is the case, IMO there's not much you can do.

This is another example of the need to use a sound professional on a shoot. It'd be nice if a cameraman would pick up an audio problem like this, but it's not what they're being hired to do.


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Brian B2
Re: Dumb question from a video editor
on Jun 26, 2006 at 10:32:06 pm

This is probably a little late but.
I have had luck using Bomb Factories "Clip Removal" plug-in within Protools. its a free plug-in on digidesigns website if you have Protools LE.

I used it on a couple of scenes that had really bad clip'd audio and it took care of some and masked some other's. I had to do alot of tweaking to get to that point, but it fixed a majority of it.

Brian B
Avid|DS Artist
Protools Editor

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Pixel Monkey
Re: Dumb question from a video editor
on Jun 9, 2006 at 5:13:04 pm

...yeah... Audio folks sure do love us video editors... don't they... Especially when we have suggestions! Oooh, they looove that... My favorite response to a question I had was to go to and order him an Easy Button.

As the world's biggest offender of forgetting about the processes of audio design, I remind myself by thinking about the Photoshop way of restoring an old photo that's been badly damaged (something I spend hours a week doing). It's done by stealing - or "cloning" - other parts of the same photo, of other photos, by drawing new lines and painting new textures, staging new photographs and superimposing parts of them over irreparable areas, and so on. The result looks beautiful and is completely believeable to the audience. Thinking through the eyes of the original photographer though, it's a complete farce - removed from reality entirely.

So YES, fixing distorted audio is totally possible... and so is removing certain noises in roomtone... by employing the same (foley) tactics of cloning, stealing and re-recording. However, it has little or nothing to do with the original audio clip.

Fix it in post? No. Figure out what to reshoot in post. Or, get it right the 1st time... that's what my audio Yodas have taught me thus far.

`(=)`/...Pixel Monkey

Just finished editing "Frank Lloyd Wright's Buffalo" - see it on PBS Sept 4, 2006 at 10pm.

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Ty Ford
Re: Dumb question from a video editor
on Jun 10, 2006 at 3:53:32 pm

Adobe Audition claims to have a feature that will lower the level and redraw clipped peaks. I have no experiencce with it.


Ty Ford

Ty Ford's "Audio Bootcamp Field Guide" was written for video people who want better audio. Find out more at

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Re: Dumb question from a video editor
on Jun 12, 2006 at 8:33:40 am

Thanks guys, I have been able to improve the audio a bit using your suggestions, but seeing as how we have no possibility of re-shooting, I guess we're just stuck with what we've got.
Again, thanks for the help.

Travis Johnson

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