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audio filter to kill hollow sounding dialog?

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Mark Howe
audio filter to kill hollow sounding dialog?
on Oct 26, 2010 at 2:30:42 pm

I have some dialog I am putting into a project and the room the dialog was recorded in made it sound hollow and almost echo-ish is there an audio filter to make it sound more crisp? I have a mac and FCP 5 thanks, Mark


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Kylee Peña
Re: audio filter to kill hollow sounding dialog?
on Oct 26, 2010 at 2:53:12 pm

You can try to EQ it to get rid of the echo a little bit and make it less apparent, but honestly echo is pretty impossible to kill. The only real solution is re-recording.


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Dave LaRonde
Re: audio filter to kill hollow sounding dialog?
on Oct 26, 2010 at 3:27:56 pm

I agree: trying to fix a bad recording containing room reverb is a exercise in futility; I'll assume you don't have cash in four figures lying around to pay for a real audio pro who still wouldn't be able to guarantee 100% success.

Your best bet: re-record it.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Jean-Christophe Boulay
Re: audio filter to kill hollow sounding dialog?
on Oct 26, 2010 at 4:26:14 pm

Actually, the audio pro 100% guarantees he won't be successful. We can remove many things from a recording but reverb emanating from what should be the main sound source is not one of them. You can diminish the room modes a bit with EQ or with some really far-out tricks, but it will never be clean. If you don't really know what you're doing and start playing with the dynamics with gates and expanders, you're more likely to worsen the result. It's better to have a constant room than one that comes and goes. ADR'ing it is your best (only?) bet at clean audio. The miracle department is currently closed.

Whoever invents the "echo-remover" plugin is going to make a fortune!

JC Boulay
Technical Director
Audio Z
Montreal, Canada
http://www.audioz.com


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Mark Suszko
Re: audio filter to kill hollow sounding dialog?
on Oct 26, 2010 at 3:42:26 pm

Not at all an expert at this, but I assume if you could have re-recorded this, you wouldn't need to ask the question, so you're stuck.

My first stab at limiting the damage would be to play with gates, adjusting the attack and release times, to try and kill some of the echo.

Then perhaps try to fatten up the mid-level frequencies with parametric EQ, and just for giggles, play with applying Chorus to the result.

Some of these tools are in Garage Band, some you can access directly in the audio filters section of FCP, but Soundtrack Pro within your FCP suite is the main tool to try here. This kind of sound manipulation is the kind of thing folks spend a career learning to master, so our casual noodling will only take us so far. You might consider sending the file out to someone who is a specialist.

Best of luck with it, and if you come up with a working combination, please post back here to let the rest of us know what worked.


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Mark Suszko
Re: audio filter to kill hollow sounding dialog?
on Oct 26, 2010 at 7:25:15 pm

It may be the poster can't do re-recording or ADR, and will have to fix this the best they can, with what's on hand. In a small shop, you often have to do everything yourself, or it won't get done.

Repost the Q over in the audio pros forum; perhaps one of those guys there will take pity and suggest some settings to get you started.


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Mark Howe
Re: audio filter to kill hollow sounding dialog?
on Oct 26, 2010 at 9:13:33 pm

Thanks for all of your advice unfortunately my footage was given to me and I have to do with what I have. I'll do what I can with what you all have told me thanks, Mark.


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Michael Gissing
Re: audio filter to kill hollow sounding dialog?
on Oct 27, 2010 at 2:01:30 am

Room ambience (not echo unless there is a big early reflection) can not be de-convoluted at this stage. One day we will have a tool to do this and it still won't perform miracles.

Forget gates on sync dialog. You will hear them opening a closing and the room tone will fluctuate in a noticable way. A well applied downward expander is better but still unlikely to give a satisfying result.

Boosting lower mids will probably make resonant frequencies worse. With EQ, find the worst of the dominant resonances. Do this with a parametric EQ. Set a narrow Q (higher numbers are narrower). Add gain, sweep the frequencies up and down to find areas where the room resonance is worst and then apply cut to remove the worst offenders. Most rooms have dominant resonances between 100- 500 Hz. This creates that muddy boxy sound.


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Doug Cabot
Re: audio filter to kill hollow sounding dialog?
on Feb 6, 2012 at 3:38:23 pm

This is a great suggestion -- thanks. Obviously it's not going to turn a high school auditorium into a voice-over booth, but it does get rid of some of the worst standing frequencies in the room. In my case I set the Q to about 17 and found three separate frequencies that seemed worst -- 220, 440 (stands to reason), and 520. Apply all three frequency cuts (-10dB) by stacking all three EQ filters onto each audio clip, and the difference is very noticeable.


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