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Approach to editing b-roll audio

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Sam Halmarack
Approach to editing b-roll audio
on Oct 20, 2011 at 4:39:29 pm

I'm editing a promotional video for the organisation I work for and I'm trying to improve my audio post-production. Im'm trying to work out the best approach for the audio from b-roll that accompanies a voiceover. I know taking it out altogether definitely detracts from the film. But some of the ambient audio from the b-roll definitely interferes with the voiceover. Are there different approaches?

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John Fishback
Re: Approach to editing b-roll audio
on Oct 20, 2011 at 7:25:00 pm

Are you able to lower the gain of the b-roll audio track? What NLE are you using? You might also consider changing the character of the b-roll audio through EQ or noise reduction.


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Noah Kadner
Re: Approach to editing b-roll audio
on Oct 20, 2011 at 10:50:29 pm

Unless someone is talking in the b-roll and you want that sync sound- don't consider the original audio sacred at all. Redesign it with your own sound effects and ambiences. That's the art of the thing...


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Sam Halmarack
Re: Approach to editing b-roll audio
on Oct 24, 2011 at 1:35:32 pm

Thanks for your responses.
Still trying to work out if key sounds are best left in, a child kicking a ball, a cue hitting a snooker ball. That's what I ended up doing in the end. Suppose it's just a taste thing or whether it adds anything to the scene.

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Bill Evelyn
Re: Approach to editing b-roll audio
on Nov 4, 2011 at 7:26:27 pm

Hey, Sam

Always good to ask these audio guys, but let me toss one more thing out for you: timing. I always record audio on all b-roll and use it as much as I can throughout the edit, mixing with music, narration, etc. But when you have a specific sound, like a child kicking a ball or even a short phrase of nat sound you particularly want, just time your VO so one doesn't compete with the other...they instead compliment each other.

Something like:

VO: "Children stay healthier when they play outside..."
Audio Up on Nat Sound of child kicking the ball, and under...
VO: "...and they have a pretty good time, too..."
Nat sound bite: "Great kick, Johnnie..."

It's not that hard to do, makes for a nice tight edited piece and gives a little more sense of presence to your story. Just mix carefully so it's not an audio rush up & down like you hear on too many news pieces, but instead seems natural.


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