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Final production of video - audio compression recommended?

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Alf Hanna
Final production of video - audio compression recommended?
on Jun 18, 2010 at 8:07:28 am

I'm wrapping up a six month project of 30 hours of interviewing. I've had to capture in a huge range of locations, some terrible, some fine, some mics lavs up close, some hand held. This has been relatively low budget (they paid for my time to shoot and edit) and no sound mixing by a pro is budgeted (damn). I've been working hard at balancing the audio over this wide range of circumstances,and pretty much have it down to the level of acceptance of my committee of backers. My question is this. When I recorded with a band a few years ago, our studio eng. did compression on the final mix, to sort of even out all the parts, as I remember, if I am stating that correctly. I've not had to (or maybe just didn't understand) compression of audio for video in my previous video projects. I've read through Jay Rose's book, to get a good feel for what's going on with it, but as you all know, there's a lot of possible combinations.

Is compression recommended in most situations like the situation above where it's pretty much just the human voice talking? Should I make some stabs at working through a compression on the audio or just say 'leave well enough alone', given my lack of experience and knowledge, and given the short length of time before shipping final product. If I managed to get it right, is it likely to really enhance the overall level feel with the video? Or is that an impossible question to answer without hearing the audio? What's been your experiences using compression on your interview assignments?

I've used FCP to edit this project, if that matters in the choice.

Thoughts? Thx in advance for any answers you might throw out.

Alf


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Ty Ford
Re: Final production of video - audio compression recommended?
on Jun 18, 2010 at 1:56:20 pm

Hello Alf and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

Music production typically uses compression and limiting to make the mix louder and denser.
Commercial producers do the same. That's why spots are louder than programming on TV.

The audio controls in FCP and STP are not inviting to anyone with professional audio experience. My only guess is that they were created by IT people at Apple who had no experience with pro audio gear, or they purposely chose to ignore decades of conventions. That my be OK for you if you don't have a lot of experience with pro gear.

I find the limiter in FCP works pretty well, if you can figure out where to put the sliders. Just a little control with the limiter keeps the peaks from going onto the red and allows mildly higher levels. Too much and you crush the audio.

It's better to manually adjust the levels than to use compression. Levelator
may help, but I haven't used it yet.

Hope this helps.

Regards,

Ty Ford

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






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Alf Hanna
Re: Final production of video - audio compression recommended?
on Jun 18, 2010 at 2:34:55 pm

Thanks Ty, that's sort of what I thought.I've spent a great deal of time manually setting each interview level. Didn't know if I'd buy better sound (not that it's that bad) with compression.

I agree with your assessment of FCP's sound controls. I also have Protools, which I have never particularly liked, but sometimes use (which is probably why I don't like it). I've recently been trialing Sony's Sound Forge, which I'm checking out because frankly, I just don't love the FCP interface, and find that Vegas does just about everything I need for my workflow easier and faster.

Not sure if you have experience with Sound Forge, but if you do, would love to know your thoughts on it's capabilities. Seems to be plenty powerful. All of these, for daily use, seem to need dedicated media controller hardware devices (i.e. Euphonixs?)for best ease of use though. Would you agree?

Alf


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Ty Ford
Re: Final production of video - audio compression recommended?
on Jun 18, 2010 at 2:51:14 pm

Alf,

I've been using PTLE for my music projects for about ten years and find its controls mirror pro audio gear very well.

I'm a Mac guy and have not used Sound Forge.

When I went with PTLE, I gave up my work surfaces. Some years later Digi and others began to sell hardware controllers. Having weaned myself off of them, I rejected them. In addition, the footprint they require in my work area was a problem. So I have been very happy with mousing around.

Regards,

Ty Ford

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






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Jordan Wolf
Re: Final production of video - audio compression recommended?
on Jun 19, 2010 at 5:10:26 am

Ty,

I don't know if you've seen this, but Presonus makes a handy little controller that might suit your minimalist preference

Wolf
<><


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Ty Ford
Re: Final production of video - audio compression recommended?
on Jun 19, 2010 at 1:38:47 pm

Wolf,

Thanks man I appreciate your thoughtfulness. I am so wed to the screen at this point, a controller is just one more thing to look at. What would be really neat would be have a touch screen computer monitor.

Regards,

Ty

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






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