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Techniques For Editing Speakers and Conversations

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Steve Crow
Techniques For Editing Speakers and Conversations
on Sep 30, 2011 at 6:18:59 pm

Okay I am just looking for some general guidance on effective way to edit problem dialogue.

The first situation I encounter is the "fast talker/no breather" - I only want to use a portion of what they are saying but when I cut into it - the result is a clearly edited piece of video....you can hear it and in some cases see it. Is there some nifty editing trick to edit the words of people who don't seem to take a breath?

Maybe there's a technique to slowing their speech down without it being obvious to the viewer?

Second question - when editing a group conversation - should you put each person's audio on a separate pair of stereo audio tracks or maybe just use one mono signal for each person speaking and placing THAT on a separate track?

Thanks in advance for your guidance!!! :-)


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Andrew Rendell
Re: Techniques For Editing Speakers and Conversations
on Sep 30, 2011 at 10:55:07 pm

I find that you can usually get in at the start of a word within a sentence without too much difficulty, as long as the word is spoken reasonably clearly. Very often you need to do a fast fade up, FCP's audio rubberbanding is frequently adequate, but sometimes you need an audio editor that goes to sample accuracy to cut finely enough. The end of a clip is usually a far bigger problem as you need the last word to be spoken as if it's the end of a sentence. The only way that I have to do that reliably is to cut to the last word, or sometimes just the last syllable, from somewhere else in the conversation where it is spoken with the right inflection. Having an accurate transcript of the conversation is invaluable for that task as you can search for suitable substitutes without having to listen very carefully to every second of a recording. Again, having fine enough control of the edit point makes doing that in an audio editing program better than a video editing one, but whatever kit you're using this takes quite a lot of practice to "get your ear in".

Once you've got the audio sounding right, you then have to either cut the vision slightly off the audio cut or go to a cutaway. Occasionally putting a speed ramp on the vision over the edited sound can work, but you may have to juggle how the interpolation is done to get it to work (it takes a lot of practice to be able to judge when that trick's likely to work for you).

With a group of speakers, I go for a single track for each speaker. There's no advantage to be had from using stereo pairs unless the audio was mixed to stereo on location (which is very unusual in my experience).


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Steve Crow
Re: Techniques For Editing Speakers and Conversations
on Oct 1, 2011 at 1:45:43 am

"With a group of speakers, I go for a single track for each speaker. There's no advantage to be had from using stereo pairs unless the audio was mixed to stereo on location (which is very unusual in my experience)".....


That's interesting...what I have been doing is taking my mono signal from the wireless lav, duplicating it into 2 tracks and then setting it as a stereo pair within FCP....seems like you are saying this step is unnecessary.

I can see that with your technique I could play with the controls that determine if the sound is coming from the right or left speaker for each audio track (each person speaking) to give the soundtrack more of a sense that one person is sitting to the far right, another is in the middle somewhere and then there's one person seated on the left.


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Bret Williams
Re: Techniques For Editing Speakers and Conversations
on Oct 1, 2011 at 2:40:26 am

He's just putting them on separate tracks for organization purposes. There is no reason to have mono sound duplicated onto a dual stereo track. All you do is increase the volume.


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Andrew Rendell
Re: Techniques For Editing Speakers and Conversations
on Oct 1, 2011 at 9:07:21 am

yes, duplicating the tracks in that way is the same as centre pan and add 6dB of gain to a single track.

On an organisational note, I stick to one track per person, e.g., Bob on track 5, Fred on track 6, Sue on track 7, etc, and don't put anything else on a track that's been designated to one of the contributors. When you have lots of audio sources on a timeline it really helps to keep things as logical as possible, so use as many tracks as you need but don't add them unnecessarily.


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John Fishback
Re: Techniques For Editing Speakers and Conversations
on Oct 3, 2011 at 7:23:44 pm

Another technique to cover an audio edit is to show a reaction of another speaker. Cut-in a second of two before the edit. You can add a bit of room tone so the edit is properly paced. You might be lucky and the reaction comes from the person speaking next. If you cut in some reaction shots here and there even when you don't need them it sets the style so when you need the reaction to cover an edit it doesn't stand out.

John

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