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Audio Problem in Wedding Video, Can Anyone Help Me Out?

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Bob Weekes
Audio Problem in Wedding Video, Can Anyone Help Me Out?
on Sep 9, 2009 at 1:43:37 am

Hi, I posted this over on the Final Cut Pro boards, but I figured I might get some other ideas over here as well.

Over the weekend I shot a wedding with my DVX100b. During the reception, a live band played. In order to avoid clipping and peaking, I adjusted the mic input. The loudest audio present was the vocalist singing, so I used this as a baseline to make the adjustments. At the vocalist's loudest, the recordings were well below the distortion zone as indicated by the meters on the camera. When I went to capture the footage in Final Cut, the levels appeared to be perfect in Final Cut's audio meters. However, the actual audio itself as some issues. While the actual instrumentation and ambience sounds great, whenever a vocalist opens their mouth, the audio buzzes a great deal. It's odd, since the actual vocals sound like they've been recorded well, but over the top of the vocal audio there is a continuous buzzing noise, that sounds much like the way a stereo buzzes when you've boosted the bass too high, though the bass doesn't sound too extreme in the clips. And again, the levels within Final Cut don't seem to be identifying any actual "clipping." The further away from the vocalist the camera is, the less the prominent the buzzing. This occurs ANYTIME someone sings into the mic, even softly, no matter what the dB level. To make matters more confounding, I had someone recording extra shots here and there on a low-quality minidv camcorder as a backup, and the vocalist audio quality on that (other than having ridiculously loud ambience and background noise) sounds FAR better...I am not giving my hopes up and know that the audio level may have just been too intense for the mic to take regardless of of the input level. However, I was wondering if there is ANY audio filter in Final Cut (or anywhere for that matter) that might be able to adjust the issue or smooth out the buzzing. If anyone could help me with this, it would be greatly appreciated.


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Ty Ford
Re: Audio Problem in Wedding Video, Can Anyone Help Me Out?
on Sep 9, 2009 at 12:31:06 pm

Hello Bob and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

I think you are probably right, the mic was overdriven. When that's the case, you're pretty cooked. I'm guessing you weren't wearing headphones. As clunky as they may make you look, they will save your butt. You might try "in ear" phones in the future. http://www.etymotic.com/ They are less noticeable.

Izotope, among others, makes a declipper tool. I have no idea what it would do to your distorted audio, but the package is handy for other noise reduction chores.

Sorry for your pain.

Regards,

Ty Ford

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






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Jordan Wolf
Re: Audio Problem in Wedding Video, Can Anyone Help Me Out?
on Sep 10, 2009 at 2:48:07 am

I agree with Ty and recommend that you use some sort of headphones or earphones to monitor your audio. I use Shure SCL3 earphones because they isolate me from the environment so as to let me hear ONLY the mix coming into the camera. If you prefer circumaural (around-the-ear) headphones, look into isolation headphones for drummers (specifically ones made with the Sony MDR-7506 drivers).

Prices will range from $60-$200.

Wolf
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Bob Weekes
Re: Audio Problem in Wedding Video, Can Anyone Help Me Out?
on Sep 10, 2009 at 4:23:06 am

Thanks for your advice guys. I know, not wearing headphones was an amateur mistake. The issue was that it was my first "professional" wedding job and I was already stressed and bogged down with equipment, so I just didn't want to add to the clunkiness. The headphones you brought up sound like a great solution though, and I will definitely look into it for the future. I think I pretty much "solved" the problem: I ran a AUlowpass filter on the clip through Final Cut, cutting the frequency off at 4000. This seems to greatly undercut the buzzing noise. The audio sounds more tinny of course and not nearly as deep, but at least the buzzing is pretty much entirely gone. As far as I'm concerned, some less than stellar audio is better that unusable audio. I was wondering if this means anything to anyone, does it indicate what the problem may have been? I'm assuming the buzzing was occurring as the volume of the vocalist mic hit a higher end frequency.


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Sam Mallery
Re: Audio Problem in Wedding Video, Can Anyone Help Me Out?
on Sep 10, 2009 at 7:18:45 pm

The loud speakers of the PA system in the reception area were overloading the physical microphone elements on your camera. I believe this has to do with the SPL (sound pressure level) rating of the built-in microphones on the camera.

When microphone elements get overpowered it doesn't always mean that the actual level of the signal being recorded into the camera is going to appear to be too hot. This is why just looking at audio meters does not suffice. Next time I would use a pair of Sony MDR7506 headphones, and if possible, use a decent quality external microphone mounted on the camera.



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Kaye Woods
Re: Audio Problem in Wedding Video, Can Anyone Help Me Out?
on Sep 12, 2009 at 2:57:04 pm

this might sound like a simple over look, but it has happened to me. You say the levels in FCP aren't clipping... do you think it could be the speakers you're playing out of on your computer or edit suite? I have had that happen to me. My speakers were out putting more than they could handle because the bass or something was too high. The actual audio in the video was fine. Try playing the audio on different speakers or adjust the speaker levels. :)


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