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A mic too distant

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Kevin Knutson
A mic too distant
on Oct 25, 2010 at 6:42:19 pm

Hey Guys,

I've been handed a lemon, and I'm not so naive that I think I can make lemonade, but I need to make lemon flavoured water at the very least here:

I've been given some interview footage (recorded on sony EX3) and the guys on set placed the lav mic waaay to far from the subject. You've all heard it, hollow sounding, slightly reverbed, low fidelity stuff.

I am very aware that I wont be able to get this sounding great, but was hoping for some SPECIFIC ways of making it sound at least better. My searching around online has lead to some enormously profound advice like, "Tweak some EQ levels". No kidding.

Example audio found here:

https://files.me.com/promotionarts/liffav.mov

And I'm not trying to be a jerk, but I know how these forums can be, so please dont patronize me with shame ridden tips like, "Next time, make sure the mic is closer". I contracted this out, wasn't on set, and there you have it.

Thanks!


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Peter Groom
Re: A mic too distant
on Oct 25, 2010 at 9:50:16 pm

HI
Unfortunately there really isnt much you can do.
Id
1) Boost the levels to get it up to a sensible level regardless of how bad it sounds at that point.
2) play with extracting some frequencies that might reduce the apprent roominess. Try lo mid. Itll be a trade off between it sounding a bit thin, or roomy.
3) Try adding some music. This might absorb some of the room sound if you keep it a sensible level.
4) Isotope rx ight be able to remove some of the constant hash youll have at higher volume, but be careful as it can start to sound watery if you overdo it

The rest im afraid youll need to chalk down to experience.

Peter



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Kevin Knutson
Re: A mic too distant
on Oct 25, 2010 at 10:34:20 pm

Thanks Peter,

Yeah, not much to be done it seems. There will indeed be music to cover some of it, however, the thorn is, this gentleman's clip will be surrounded by other high fidelity, great sounding audio from other interviewees (shot separately). I'd drop him form the edit, but of course he's the founder of the organization (the Client). What a pain.

Is Isotope rx similar to Soundsoap 2? Been using that with great effect when removing room tones and HVAC, but doesn't handle too great for this clip.


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Ty Ford
Re: A mic too distant
on Oct 25, 2010 at 10:56:34 pm

Hello Kevin and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

As Peter suggests, there are few if any real solutions to this problem. It's the equivalent of being slightly out of focus. You can use sharpen filters, but you're not going to get home free.

You might try getting the CEO to do a nice clean VO and pt it over some B-Roll of him or the company cat or whatever. You know, reinvent the situation.

BTW, thanks for pre-handling the note about what not to do next time. It keeps me from suggesting for the many others who will read the thread and won't have thought it through.

Regards,

Ty Ford

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






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Kevin Knutson
Re: A mic too distant
on Oct 25, 2010 at 11:15:37 pm

Haha, the shady Audio Forum, where no video professional has gone before.

Spot on analogy of the 'out of focus' footage. I am very aware of the difficulties of fixing poor audio, but ya know, just hoping there might be a few tricks of the trade.

And, seriously, was not trying to be a jerk about the 'dont patronize me' business, but you know how forums can be. Everyone is quick to tell you what you SHOULD have done, and reserved to tell you what you COULD do.

Thanks for the tip about VO. I've had to do worse fixes than that before, so we'll see what flies after rough cut.


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Ty Ford
Re: A mic too distant
on Oct 25, 2010 at 11:40:38 pm

Kevin,

In my experience, this audio forum isn't very antagonistic to "outsiders." The "old us vs them" thing is pretty much gone, but I have run into it in Cow video forums occasionally. It's stupid and childish and I call people on it pretty quickly if it happens.

I've been shooting and editing for about 5 years, myself, but have been doing audio for 20. Many of the people who hang out here have similar stories. All the lines are fuzzy now.

Your CEO over a pretty sequence of beauty shots cut to music. Nailing the corporate message. That's what I'm thinking.

Regards,

Ty Ford

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






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Peter Groom
Re: A mic too distant
on Oct 26, 2010 at 9:43:41 am

Hi Kevin.
Plenty of video folks here too. I can edit on AVID, FCP, Linear sony 9100, as well as audio stuff.
Peter

Peter


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Kevin Knutson
Re: A mic too distant
on Oct 27, 2010 at 10:53:01 pm

Right, I know there's almost no such thing as a one trick pony in creative media anymore, I was just making light of the "welcome to the audio forum" comment.

;)


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Bill Davis
Re: A mic too distant
on Oct 26, 2010 at 8:00:36 pm

Another approach nobody's mentioned is to simply OPEN CAPTION the footage.

If everyone can read what he's saying on the screen - then the message is delivered with all his emotional cues preserved via the video.

People have mostly all seen this technique before and it just tells them that the audio recording sucked and that you're making sure they get the content.

Just another approach to consider.



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Kevin Knutson
Re: A mic too distant
on Oct 27, 2010 at 10:54:13 pm

Thanks, something to consider.


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Brian Reynolds
Re: A mic too distant
on Oct 26, 2010 at 7:14:17 am

If you go down the EQ, path try this.... with the parametric Equalizer BOOST the gain [to the maxium] then do a sweep of the frequency and Q curve and make the sound the worst you can. This now give the exact pinpoint of the problem then adjust the gain to negative, and hopefully it gives what your after.

Boosting to find the problem frequencies is often used in tricky broadcast situations, as its easier to hear additions rather than reductions.....

The difference between Knowledge and Wisdom is... Knowledge is the knowing of facts.... Wisdom is the sensible application of good quality knowledge...


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Kevin Knutson
Re: A mic too distant
on Oct 27, 2010 at 10:55:58 pm

Thats an interesting, and logical approach. I'll give it a try. Thanks.


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Terry Mikkelsen
Re: A mic too distant
on Oct 26, 2010 at 12:33:50 pm

Is the lav mic the ONLY mic that was recorded? If there are other lavs, camera mics or shotguns you might be able to use some phase cancellation from those other sources.

Another (far out there) option, is to try and recreate the room noise with a software reverb, using another clip that has "good" sound. Then take these reverb settings and apply them to the "bad" clip but out of phase. Its a long shot, but it may provide just a little bit more of an acceptable sound.

of course still use the subtractive eq-ing as mentioned

...a little bit of this and a little bit of that mixed in with another suggestion and it may all work out.

The best though, would be to re-shoot, ADR or VO.

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


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Kevin Knutson
Re: A mic too distant
on Oct 27, 2010 at 10:58:32 pm

Lav was on channel one, and cam mic was channel two. However cam mic was recorded so low it might as well have been a mic in the next room over.

Unfortunately, pick up shooting is out of the question, so here we are.


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Bob Kessler
Re: A mic too distant
on Oct 28, 2010 at 4:52:15 pm

I've never used any of these, really know nothing about them, but here goes:

http://www.tacsystem.com/en/products/softwares/000563.php

http://www.spl.info/index.php?id=463 (Lot's of positive buzz on this one and I'm demo-ing next week)


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