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Seamless audio for documentary. How to??

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Gary Colon
Seamless audio for documentary. How to??
on Dec 2, 2014 at 4:41:32 am

This is most probably posted somewhere but I cant seem to search the correct keywords.

I want to know how they do the audio for documentaries so that its seamless. What I mean is, if I'm recording video & audio and there are breaks between the recordings. Or after recording there are things we cut out...how do they get the audio to sound clean and continuous as if it was never cut?

If I take a 20 minute scene and cut out parts, the split second of audio skips because its been cut. But in professional documentaries, it seems as though the audio has never been touched as if it were ONE complete and continuous recording.

Help? Thanks!

** Ill be using a Sony VG20 for video and a Rode NTG2 into a Mixer into a field recorder.


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Peter Groom
Re: Seamless audio for documentary. How to??
on Dec 2, 2014 at 8:21:04 am

Hi
If I follow correctly your question re "split second of audio skips because its been cut" you are talking about changes in background noise etc that now dont match across an edit as youve removed a portion.

OK - the solutions are
1) Always have a professional sound recordist on the recording. He will be paying 100% attentionm to the sound and can minimaise the changes youre hearing.
2) Where you have a cut, always cross mix every one unless its completely inaudible. This is where a sound dub becomes invaluable and why it is so important to use a NLE that supports output of OMF2 or AAF files that can go to a dub studio. These formats retain the "handles" (the audio the preceeds the cut or is post the cut but NOT used in the timeline. This is material that the "pros will use to smooth the transition.
3) IF the material in the handle has other unwanted dialogue (quite likely in a n interview, the importance of the wild track becomes evident. Then the dubbing editor will go and find a part of the wild or buzz track that matches, put the 2 sides of the cut on different tracks, add some wild to the incoming and add matching wild to the outgoing and then cross mix those to smooth the transition.
4) If you have no wild or buzz and the handles contain non wanted dialogue then there is always a 12f gap in the interview somewhere while people think, or a sentence gap etc etc wher you can nip it out, and paste it in to your transition to create the handle for a mix.

How much of this are you already doing???

Of course
5) The close attention to the eq and levels is obvious.

Let me know if this helps.

Peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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Gary Colon
Re: Seamless audio for documentary. How to??
on Dec 3, 2014 at 2:26:21 am

Mr. Groom,

Thanks for that reply!

Forgive my lack of knowledge but I'm very novice/amateur and I'm trying to learn techniques.

From what I understand...lets say we have 3 different scenes where the camera & audio stop recording and there are water breaks between each scene. When we begin recording, we allow "empty" time before and after the dialogue begins and then when we put the clips together we mix those "empty" ends so that it sounds seamless?

Would we do fade in/fade out of the audio from 1 clip to the other?

Thanks!


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Peter Groom
Re: Seamless audio for documentary. How to??
on Dec 3, 2014 at 8:38:53 am

Hi
Yes, although Ive never heard the term water breaks, I think those water breaks are what we refer to as handles.
If the interview is cut tight then youd mix between the water breaks as a cross mix.
If there is say a 4 sec gap where music fills then id fade out "from" the cut then fade in "to" the cut
You can use an atmos or buzz track to dress the joins.
Does this help?
Peter

Nb Often at a recording youd shoot the interview with clear air before the content, but then a director or editor might want to start the used dialogue further in and cut off a portion from the front. This would then mean youd go and get that clear air and move it to the new in / out point to dress that join.

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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Gary Colon
Re: Seamless audio for documentary. How to??
on Dec 3, 2014 at 2:19:06 pm

Mr. Groom,

Haha, water breaks as in we are all tired and thirsty and we stop recording to take a quick break.

So this doesnt seem as bad as I thought. I thought there was some big hollywood magic to this.

Is there any specific audio software you recommend for this? And what are "atmos" & "buzz" tracks (ill be googling shortly)?

Thank you sir!


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Peter Groom
Re: Seamless audio for documentary. How to??
on Dec 3, 2014 at 7:22:42 pm

Atmos or buzz tracks are a recording , perhaps 30 secs) using the same mics, mic position and ambient room noise and levels, but no noises or words. This track then becomes very useful for patching and mixing a seamless audio track as you should have it for all scenes.
Often referred to as wild tracks too.
Peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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Gary Colon
Re: Seamless audio for documentary. How to??
on Dec 5, 2014 at 7:10:16 pm

Mr. Groom,

Thank you. This is EXACTLY what I needed to know.

One more question, is there a specific audio editing program you suggest using?

I have CS6 Premier Pro and Audition.


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Peter Groom
Re: Seamless audio for documentary. How to??
on Dec 6, 2014 at 9:12:12 am

Im not familiar with Audition. I dare say that it can manage cross mixes etc so in the context of your question I expect it can cope, but I dont use it.
I learned on the now defunct AMS audiofile platform, and moved across to Pro Tools HD many years ago. It is the "industry standard" pro studio tool (certainally in the UK and globally I expect) but it will be a steep learning curve.
Peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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