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Tips for adding background music to dialogue driven videos?

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Victor Osaka
Tips for adding background music to dialogue driven videos?
on Jan 2, 2016 at 2:03:34 am

I don't understand why so many film shorts and videos seem to have background music over powering the dialogue. Do you guys find this to the case also?

Are there any guidelines for editing audio background music into dialogue? (other than just lowering the levels).


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Richard Crowley
Re: Tips for adding background music to dialogue driven videos?
on Jan 2, 2016 at 8:50:58 am

It comes down to two major factors:
1) The judgement and perception of the person doing the mix.
2) The ability of that person to properly hear the mix.

There are likely to be problems for BOTH issues. But if they are using inadequate monitoring speakers/headphones, then they can't really hear what they are doing. Many "computer speakers" have extremely distorted frequency response which makes any kind of editing or mixing decisions quite faulty.


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Peter Groom
Re: Tips for adding background music to dialogue driven videos?
on Jan 3, 2016 at 7:48:02 pm

Also, differing speakers make you change the mix enormously.
ie set up a micx in a studio on big Genelecs, then take it and play through a tv. Youll want to adjust a lot.
So if the programme youre complaining about was mixed for cinema release, then it may not translate to tv speakers very well at all.
Peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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Victor Osaka
Re: Tips for adding background music to dialogue driven videos?
on Jan 3, 2016 at 9:13:11 pm

Thank you guys. It's an art or perhaps divine providence to get these things right. I try to avoid putting music in my background. But, I want to learn how to do it for the best overall experience for the listener.


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Ty Ford
Re: Tips for adding background music to dialogue driven videos?
on Jan 4, 2016 at 2:39:54 am

Hello Victor and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

In addition to what's been presented…..

Choosing and using the right music is an art and a science.

It would be helpful to hear examples of what you're talking about if you could point us to some examples.

There are a few guidelines I use. Instrumentals with horns are a problem. Horns frequently occupy the same frequency range as voices. If you REALLY like the track, you may be able to EQ it by pulling down centered around 3 kHz, to make the track less problematic. Other music tracks may be dealt with on a case by case basis.

I frequently use some minor compression and/or limiting on the voices to make them more persistent. Depending on the talent, some people speak with relative consistency while others rise and fall like the tides. Still others seem to run out of energy at the end of every line before they inhale, begin with a peak for the first few words before tapering off. During the ebbs, the music may overtake the voice. A quick look at the wave form may show a rise in music level just as someone "goes soft."

Devices like the Aphex Compellor, a hardware compressor, used to be very effective in smoothing out the dynamics of a piece of music without making those changes audible. Perhaps there's a current dynamic range controlling device that you'll also find effective.

So, a mild combination of manual gain control and compressor uses may give you what you need.

Regards,

Ty Ford
Cow Audio Forum Leader

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


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John Fishback
Re: Tips for adding background music to dialogue driven videos?
on Jan 4, 2016 at 5:57:48 pm

Another way of using a compressor is to apply it to the music track(s) and use side chain keying that "listens" to the dialog track to the compressor. Then, the compressor is keyed by the dialog and "ducks" the music. This can be very effective if used carefully. You don't want to hear the ducking. You want the dialog to fit nicely into the music.


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