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Adjusting uneven audio levels

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Kaye Woods
Adjusting uneven audio levels
on Jul 21, 2009 at 11:29:26 pm

Hi,

I do video production and I am a one man (woman... girl... whatever) operation. I do the producing, filming and editing, and video is my strong side. When it comes to audio, I'm lost. I have a church youth message that I filmed, and the guy speaking gets loud in some parts and soft in others. I know there is an easier way of doing this other than going through and manually adjusting each point where it changes. I tried compressing it in soundtrack... but maybe that wasn't the correct filter. If it is the right filter, I don't even have a clue what each individual adjustment means. Does someone have a preset of settings for this filter or whatever filter I'm looking for? I could use this on a regular basis. This is for DVD production if that makes any difference. Thanks!


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Terry Mikkelsen
Re: Adjusting uneven audio levels
on Jul 22, 2009 at 2:21:56 am

Yes, its more time consuming to manually adjust the levels, however, it will always be superior to any filter/plug-in/preset. If compression is used, try to do small amounts at a time, layering the filters as needed.

Tech-T Productions
http://www.technical-t.com


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Peter Groom
Re: Adjusting uneven audio levels
on Jul 22, 2009 at 2:24:38 pm

Id say get your fingers on the faders and ride the levels before compression. push the quieter up and drag the louder down until the dynamic range of the piece is creatively dynamic rather than just too quiet or too loud. Then apply a small amount of compression (no more than 6 db on a ratio of 3:1 and apply a little make up gain to put things back where they were peak wise.

80% of audio post of "recorded dialogue" is correction of what should have been recorded better!

NB Youre about to discover why sound engineers use mixing consoles and not on screen faders and keyframes for mixing.

Peter

dubbingmixer

Peter


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John Fishback
Re: Adjusting uneven audio levels
on Jul 22, 2009 at 4:30:11 pm

Peter is right about hands on being easier than using a mouse to pull on screen faders. If you're going to do a lot of this kind of work, look for a control surface that works with Soundtrack and/or FCP. Here's a nice one: http://www.euphonix.com/artist/products/mc_mix/

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, 24" TV-Logic Monitor, ATTO ExpressSAS R380 RAID Adapter, PDE enclosure with 8-drive 6TB RAID 5
FCS 2 (FCP 6.0.5, Comp 3.0.5, DVDSP 4.2.1, Color 1.0.3)

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: Adjusting uneven audio levels
on Jul 23, 2009 at 1:09:32 am

Hello Kaye and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

Terry. Peter and John are right. Once you get used to "rubber-banding", that's hand drawing mix automation with the mouse. Providing you can see the waveform, you get the hang of it pretty easily.

It's a much better way to do level adjustment than ANYTHING Soundtrack Pro has to offer.

Regards,

Ty Ford



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






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Peter Groom
Re: Adjusting uneven audio levels
on Jul 23, 2009 at 9:05:31 am

Just to add 1 last thing.

I appreciate that your primary skillset is away from audio. This is the case for MOST video professionals. However Id encourage you grasp the learning curve that this project represents with its audio. Good audio is rarely noticed by the lay viewer, but bad audio wrecks the entire production.
Television is an "Audio-visual" medium. Thats 50% of the phrase is audio and the importance, and impact it can have on the end product should ever be underestimated!
Arn yourself with the skills to ensure
1) When you make the recordings you make good recordings, with well chosen and placed mics and enough coverage to capture everything required in the mix.
2) Then the post production end of things will be so much less painful and audio will become less of a pain that always feels like a struggle.

I dont mean it to sound like a lecture.
Cheers
Peter

Dubbing mixer

Peter


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Kaye Woods
Re: Adjusting uneven audio levels
on Sep 2, 2009 at 3:15:22 am

thanks everyone! I looked up the mixer from the link provided in a previous post. It is expensive. Is that for post production mixing? I looked on B&H and found this http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=NavBar&A=getItemDetail&Q=... to use during recording. Would this fix my uneven audio levels during recording?


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Ty Ford
Re: Adjusting uneven audio levels
on Sep 2, 2009 at 3:30:25 am

Hello Kaye,

As long as your extension cord is long enough...maybe. Being able to grab several knobs to ride gain on several channels is important. The form factor on this mixer looks problematic. Alesis doesn't have an amazing rep for build quality. It does have firewire, which is interesting, but not many cameras I know of input audio via firewire.

There's a reason why special tools have evolved. If Hollywood COULD do it cheaper, they WOULD.

Regards,

Ty Ford

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






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Kaye Woods
Re: Adjusting uneven audio levels
on Sep 12, 2009 at 2:50:00 pm

would you say this is necessary for great audio? Would this eliminate room noise/wind and other ambient noises? I'm always plugging directly into the camera, but is the mic really SUPPOSED to be plugged into something else?

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=NavBar&A=getItemDetail&Q=...


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Ty Ford
Re: Adjusting uneven audio levels
on Sep 12, 2009 at 3:08:27 pm

Hello Kaye,

Supposed? Well lets just say many entry level folks don't use a mixer between the mic and camera. Once they get into it a bit they realized how useful (and important) a good mixer is.

The Sound Devices MixPre you have a link to is very good, but only feeds line level. If your camera accepts line level, then you're good to go. If it only takes mic level, then the Sound Devices 302 does mic and line level.

A good mixer won't eliminate room, wind or ambient noises. Those problems require other gear and techniques.

Good reasons for mixers...

1. They let you vary volumes without shaking the camera or getting in the way of the camera op.
2. You may need to do that a lot with some people. I ride gain even if one person is talking if their voice fades on the end of each line. You can only do this in a relatively quiet environment, otherwise you bring up the ambient noise.
3. Mixer preamps (good ones) sound better than camera preamps.
4. Good mixers have input transformers that scrape off RF before it get into your audio.
5. Good mixers have limiters that allow you to record hotter, keeping your audio further above the noise floor without distorting.
6. Good limtiers have EQ that lets you roll of LF HVAC noise before it gets into your audio.
7. Good mixers have mulitple outputs so you can feed more than one camera, or separate recorder simultaneously.
8. Good mixers make your sound better. If they didn't pros wouldn't use them.


Regards,

Ty

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






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