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ADR matching on set audio

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Brad Bogus
ADR matching on set audio
on Jan 31, 2009 at 11:14:56 pm

Hi everyone,

Let me begin by saying audio is not my strong suit. I am currently finishing editing a movie on Final Cut's Studio 2 and am having some real audio troubles. I am adding ADR'd audio to the final cuts I've made, and am having the hardest time with 2 things:

1. When outside, the ADR sounds fake and inside
2. The ADR was recorded with a studio condenser mic through a PreSonus pre-amp, and the on set audio was recorded primarily with lavs and a little boom.

Obviously whoever ADR'd this wasn't either thinking or knowledgeable, so I'm stuck trying to fix it in post. I'm using FCP primarily, but have and use Soundtrack Pro (although I'm not that advanced with this program). The ADR audio sounds way too close and clean. I've banged my head against the desk for the last week trying multiple filters and EQ's, this and thats, and read every forum I could find on the subject, but they don't offer enough advice (at least for a layman) for me to gain anything useful.

Can anyone offer any assistance here? I'm in dire straits.

Thanks,

Brad


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Jordan Wolf
Re: ADR matching on set audio
on Feb 1, 2009 at 4:50:40 am

Adding some reverb will help it sound more open; whether or not it sounds like the on-location audio depends on how much time you have/are willing to spend working on it. Also, if you have room tone/noise that you captured, that helps A LOT. Ambient noise is fantastic at letting thigns et nicely in a mix.

Take a look at



; I was the audio person for it (on-location, post-production, etc.). I screwed up the audio by not checking my settings, so we had to ADR one scene. See if you can find it.

(Anyone else can play, too) I'll take any and all constructive criticisms! :-)

Wolf
<><


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Brad Bogus
Re: ADR matching on set audio
on Feb 2, 2009 at 11:58:51 pm

Thanks for the reply Jordan. I'm new to this site so my responses are unfortunately moderated and taking waaaay too long to post. Anyways, I reviewed your clip, and my guess is the ADR sound is the two waitresses talking in the coffee shop near the beginning?

I'm willing to take time to get it, I just need to know a basic direction in which to go with that time. Right now I'm taking my time getting nowhere, so I'm just wasting away! Sometimes I have room tone or outside tone to use to make it match, and when I don't I am replacing the background with samples provided in Soundtrack Pro of natural ambience.

Even after mixing in the ambient sounds, the ADR audio still sounds extremely close up and full, and there's just no amount of mixing I've been able to do to remove that quality from the voice. Any suggestions? Even just letting me know which filters to use and what to do with them in a very basic way will get me miles farther than where I'm at.

Thanks!

Brad



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Jordan Wolf
Re: ADR matching on set audio
on Feb 3, 2009 at 2:56:54 am

Frankly, there might not be any way to get it to sound like you want it to. My first choice is to have the actors come in and record them again while you are present, listening*. I don't know if this is an option for you or not. That would keep you from using your precious time in search of the sound you want and put it right there in front of you.

If that's not an option, you might try using some filters, as you said before. A High Pass (aka Low Cut) Filter can be used to take out some of the low end (you wouldn't have too much of that on-location due to wind and handling noise). A frequency or 80Hz-200Hz is normal and a slope of 6dB-12dB per octave isn't out-of-the-ordinary, either. You might also want to add a little "air" or "sizzle" to the voiceover (usually a Peaking Filter with a broad Q or Bandwidth in the 6kHz-12kHz). I know those are subjective terms, but I think you'll get the point when you hear it. You might also do a small cut (-3dB to -6dB) somewhere between 250Hz and 600Hz using a Peaking Filter with a narrow Q/Bandwidth.

Those three things should remove at least some of the "boxiness" of the audio without compromising too much on the quality of it.


* - When I do voiceovers for scenes needing ADR, I usually try and duplicate the microphone type and placement that was used on-location. Since it's a more controlled environment, I am able to crank the gain if needed and get a really hot, strong signal without worrying about picking up too much wind noise. Basically, I listen to the on-location audio and try to duplicate how it sounds by moving the mic(s) around until I achieve the desired sound.

Other than the above suggestions, you might try experimenting with your editor's EQ functions - there might be a "Match EQ" or similar in there somewhere. Soundtrack Pro's Match EQ function comes to mind. I haven't tried it yet, but I'm going to get a LOT of experience once the shooting is done for the film I am currently working on.

Best of luck and I hope I've helped a little.

Wolf
<><


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Ty Ford
Re: ADR matching on set audio
on Feb 1, 2009 at 2:31:46 pm

Hello Brad and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum,

A forum is a tough place to communicate what knobs to turn when you want to get from point A to point B and without hearing what you have.

From what you say, I'd start by finding which low frequencies to reduce on the ADR track. Adding various kinds of delay or early reflections (not reverb) might get you closer to simulating the room sound.

If this is important, I suggest you find a good audio person who knows the ropes and can dial in something that sounds right.

How may minutes of problem audio do you have?

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Brad Bogus
Re: ADR matching on set audio
on Feb 2, 2009 at 4:28:36 pm

Thanks Ty! I realize this is a difficult way to seek help. You guys can't hear my source audio or my ADR audio, and therefore can't just crapshoot on what will work the best. I am being hopeful more than anything!

My biggest problem is on outside scenes where reverb and room simulation aren't a factor. The quality of audio taken outside, as you know, is vastly different than inside, where that simulation is a little easier for me. Regardless of the eq work I've done, I can't make the audio not sound inside and close. If it helps I can post some of my audio I'm working with, but I may need a little instruction as to how I can do that =). I'm new to this as you know!

As far as amount of audio, it's a lot. Some scenes are fully ADR'd, some are just partially. Even the fully ADR'd scenes (which are much easier on me) sound inside and a little fake after I've gotten them as good as I can get them. I can post one of those for you, but could use a little tutoring on how! The partially ADR'd scenes are nearly impossible for me, and in the end may just be impossible, I don't know.

So, basically, on a hunch, is there any advice on how to match an inside recording on a studio condenser with pre amp to an outside recording on lavs? Even pointing me in the right direction in terms of which filters and effects will be the ones to work with gets me further than I am right now! Haha. Or I can post some of what I have so you guys can take a stab at it.

Thanks again Ty!



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Ty Ford
Re: ADR matching on set audio
on Feb 3, 2009 at 12:05:49 am

Hi Brad,

Sorry, I have never had any success in trying to do what you're trying to do. The only times I have read about any success is if the voice is recorded in a totally dead room. I have not heard the results, but I did read the comment.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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John Fishback
Re: ADR matching on set audio
on Feb 3, 2009 at 3:07:01 pm

You've gotten very good suggestions so far. I'd summarize by suggesting you make the adr cues more muffled which to me is a characteristic of recording with lavs vs. boomed or studio mics, especially if the lavs were buried in or under clothing. You can do that by rolling off some higher frequencies. Also, build an outdoor ambiance with a mix of distinctive outside sounds. Then keep that track a little louder than usual in your final mix to "sell" the exterior. Your audience doesn't know where the audio was recorded so give them plenty of audfio "hints" that it was outdoors.

John

MacPro 8-core 2.8GHz 8 GB RAM OS 10.5.5 QT7.5.5 Kona 3 Dual Cinema 23 ATI Radeon HD 3870
ATTO ExpressSAS R380 RAID Adapter, PDE Enclosure with 8-drive 6TB RAID 5
24" TV-Logic Monitor
Final Cut Studio 2 (up to date)

Pro Tools HD w SYNC IO, Yamaha DM1000, Millennia Media HV-3C, Neumann U87, Schoeps Mk41 mics, Genelec Monitors, PrimaLT ISDN


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Ty Ford
Re: ADR matching on set audio
on Feb 3, 2009 at 3:13:02 pm

Nice one John!

Ty

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Brad Bogus
Re: ADR matching on set audio
on Feb 3, 2009 at 6:34:20 pm

Thanks John. Using Jordan's suggestions and yours should definitely help me get the job done right. That muffling issue is something I've been having to deal with, and didn't know what to do to accomplish it. The outdoor simulation is something I'm very good at actually. It's the tweaking of sound that I'm not that great at doing. Thanks again.



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Jeff Friah
Re: ADR matching on set audio
on Feb 3, 2009 at 10:03:43 pm

Hi, guys. Just dropped in on some searching because I had my own personal audio hell on a MOW project I just wrapped up that I must admit, had some pretty 'out there' ADR.

We (audio pro's) all wish there was a quick click-n-go plugin/fix for problems and you already know: it ain't gonna happen that easily / you gotta use your ears and the tools at your disposal.

That said...and budgets being what they are...and clients and deadlines saying "we gotta have this done NOW!", we fly by the seat of our pants.

Yes, without hearing the stuff, I'd personally have to also say if you're trying to match ADR to location sound, the rule I live (and die) by is "try to make the ADR sound 'like production sound'" in the most general sense and not in any way a slight at location mixers. It is simply reality of audio physics: outdoor (or indoor/ on-set) environment vs. studio recording with good quality mics in a quiet/dead area. Making indoor ADR close-miked sound like a lav or a wide-boom in an outdoor scene is always one of my favourite challenges.

Usually I say "I have to go warm up my tea" and then am never seen again.

Joking aside: yeah, you wanna try to make the 'good' quality ADR recording (not always the case...I've done enough features and TV where the ADR quality is wayyyyy noisier and mic'd from who-knows-where) sound like a muffled lav. I'd start by using rolloffs on both hi and lo and, barring any noise floor/background noise, I'd use a frequency analyzer/EQ that shows you a display.

That's a good starting ground. Then, people always talk about notching certain frequencies. I find I often have to ADD 'crappy' frequencies to the ADR to get it to approximate location sound.

Personally, for me, harmonics of 200-250Hz are general notes to look for and deal with. And sometimes I add or subtract the 'brittle' sound up in the 2.3kHz-3.6kHz range. Often I take out/shelf some 5-6kHz and pretty much ALWAYS have a set EQ at my favourite "15771Hz" (16k) which I use to deal with the infamous "TV squeal" from those still using tube TVs and monitors in their ADR sessions (or...even on location sound from nearby monitors or a TV on in the scene).

I'm still one of the lucky ones after 13 years of doing this that I still have 16k in my range, hahaha.

And, yes, ambiences and fill are your friends. So is creative use of reflections and reverbs. Keeping in mind sending TO a reverb is not always the best, when your aux input has 100% wet and you're simply sending to it. I've often hard-processed sound files with a mixed reverb on it so it 'sounds like it was recorded in a similar room/locatoin'.

As well---trade secret but: try (if you have the tools) pitch-shifting a bit either way. Often can help match or 'improve' a performance a bit. Because one BIG part of ADR is the performance and delivery. Trust me...I did it every day for 3 years with many actors per day. Good thing I have my Psychology degree!!!

Good luck, and any questions, drop me a line. I'd help you tweak if I could, but sounds like (always...) timelines are tight

-Jeff

"Sounds good!....I think?"


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Ty Ford
Re: ADR matching on set audio
on Feb 3, 2009 at 10:16:49 pm

Jeff,

Thanks for your thoughtful and generous reply. We all learned something from it.

One other non-ADR plan that may help people is in situation where you have multiple takes and there's a problem with the "keeper" take.

Vocalign software, either stand alone or plugin can make a "keeper" out of a bad take. If the problem is just a small section of the "keeper", you may be able to use a portion of the audio from another take. Vocalign will analyze the "keeper" and apply time compression and expansion to the target take to make it match the timing of the "keeper." It works scarily well a lot of the time, but there are limitations.

I interviewed an LA post house (Doc Kane, I think) and he said Vocalign reduced their ADR by about 70%.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Jeff Friah
Re: ADR matching on set audio
on Feb 3, 2009 at 10:31:22 pm

Yes, I forgot to mention that...as we were talking about the 'sound quality'. Doc is 'the man'!!! Alt-takes from within production sound and ADR takes are a great thing to have in your back pocket (if you have access---just did a project where all I had access to were the offline/picture edit tracks, and what the DIA editor had in place [usually the same unless he/she has changed it]---clients were asking for different reads and I didn't have 'em.).

Vocalign is a great tool---use it all the time!

As always: it is a TOOL. Sometimes tools work. Sometimes they don't. I've had to carve up entire lines, timestretch/compress, change pitch, insert a word of ADR, a word from an ALT-take...all in a day's work. (well...all in about 20 minutes' work).



"Sounds good!....I think?"


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Brad Bogus
Re: ADR matching on set audio
on Feb 3, 2009 at 11:09:13 pm

Wow, you guys are a wealth of knowledge. I've made amazing leaps and bounds today over my previous week's work. There are some terms I didn't quite understand completely, but I got everything beyond workable, so I consider it a major success. Just a basic understanding of what frequencies to play with took hours out of my workload, let alone the rest.

This is what I've been doing as a process, and let me know if this is good, can be improved, whatever advice:

I'm using Soundtrack Pro (their users didn't offer any advice!) and adding a Space Designer Reverb (the plugin comes with the program). I'm using about 2-3 dB of wetness only, and turning the reflection down quite a bit, so as to not have much of an echoey effect. Just touches.

After that, I add a Channel EQ, roll of the most of the frequencies below 80Hz, take about 2-3 dB out of the under 200Hz range, and for the guys, I'm pulling just a dB or less out of the 750-2000 range. When the scene is outside, I am adding the +5kHz as much as 2dB. For the women, same out of the lows and mids, but adding as much as 3dB to the +5kHz and keeping it in that range up into the 10-15kHz range.

That seems to get them as close to the natural sound that my video-editing self can muster. I'll give the pitch a little shift on some of the women. The quality of the ADR makes them almost sound like two completely different ages compared to the location sound. There's still a touch or more of the spacial closeness I described, but not nearly as much as I had before.

If you want (and can tell me how) I can post some of the samples up for you to hear, but other than hearing them, does my process sound pretty right on? It's at least better than before, that much I know!

Thanks for all of your priceless help!



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Jeff Friah
Re: ADR matching on set audio
on Feb 3, 2009 at 11:21:12 pm

Congrats (on finding some words of assistance in all that you've read)!

As for your process---not too familiar with Soundtrack (though I hear the Match EQ is a nice feature) but what you've described 'could' work (because you have to trust your own ears and those changes may work up against what you have, but not in other scenes/locations, for example).

If it is better---congrats!

If you had a server or webspace (or youtube...if you think it is 'ok' for 'public consumption' until you take it down), you could use something like FileZilla to post to.

Or bounce out a short video clip in stereo and create an mp4 (too technical?).

I'd be curious to hear your before and after, for sure.



"Sounds good!....I think?"


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Brad Bogus
Re: ADR matching on set audio
on Feb 4, 2009 at 12:19:39 am

The Match EQ function is really cool, but way too involved for my file setups. I am trying to match an ADR track to an on set audio track, and they're in different tracks, so the work around to match them is very tedious, but very effective, I think. I was adding the reverb to my ADR session first before EQing it, and I think doing it the other way around may have been more effective, but was still very tedious. I preferred just the old EQ approach.

I wasn't sure if I could post directly to the forum. I can easily export something for you guys to hear it, but not for a few days at least. Still have a lot of meat to cut through. I will definitely do that though, since I'd like to get whatever professional opinions your ears can pick up over mine.



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Jeff Friah
Re: ADR matching on set audio
on Feb 4, 2009 at 3:47:58 pm

There's no hard 'n' fast rule for the sequence of what you do to a piece of DIA (or any other sound). EQ first, compress first, de-ess first, etc. There are some things that tend to work better ( I de-ess my DIA last, after my compression and EQ correction/boosts in the top end for example--no sense de-essing first and then boosting those same freq's).

Go with what sounds best to you (and your clients).

I've been bitten more than once by reverbs and the low/hi freq tailoring, often having to re-eq a piece of DIA after the verb gets it.

Just depends...

yeah keep in touch when you have something for us to listen to!

-J

"Sounds good!....I think?"


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