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A classic audio demonstration

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Nick GriffinA classic audio demonstration
by on Jan 22, 2011 at 7:22:15 pm

On one of the cable news channels last night the host was reporting about a series of videos for a politician which had been done by an overly enthusiastic aide. The clips shown were a few handheld videos, obviously intended to be "professional." The biggest problem was the audio was obviously camera mic only, and as such, distant, low-level and hollow room sound.

The joke came when they switched back to the host in studio for follow-up comments, only this time his audio wasn't coming from his lav or a boom, but from an open mic which had to have been 15 to 20 feet away in the studio. His explanation of how professional the politician's videos are went on this way for 20 - 30 seconds before going to a break.

Classic. I only wish some of the "we do it all ourselves" prospects could see it.

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Richard CooperRe: A classic audio demonstration
by on Jan 24, 2011 at 7:33:14 pm

CLASSIC!! Would have loved to have seen this!

Richard Cooper
FrostLine Productions, LLC
Anchorage, Alaska

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Mark SuszkoRe: A classic audio demonstration
by on Jan 24, 2011 at 8:17:58 pm

You HAD to see it... because you couldn't HEAR it! :-)

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Bill DavisRe: A classic audio demonstration
by on Jan 25, 2011 at 8:46:33 pm

I am CERTAINLY not defending bad audio practices here, which every experienced video maker knows is the DEATH of any production effort.

I'll just note that once upon a time, I volunteered to do sound for a young filmmakers initial effort.
I submitted quality audio field tracks. So, imagine my HORROR when I discovered that the young fellow (in editing his own work) had managed to put the audio on stereo tracks with just enough offset that when summed to mono all the dialog phase-cancelled into a barely intelligible MESS.

The audio in the presentation theater sounded GOD AWFUL. And there was my name as the "sound recordist" on the credit roll.

Just a reminder that there are a LOT of things that can ruin audio. Some you can't even HEAR until you get to the final output stage. In the end, it's the responsibility of the video maker to TEST and re-TEST as necessary - particularly in the ACTUAL playback conditions to insure that your hard-won quality is maintained.


"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Conner

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Ty FordRe: A classic audio demonstration
by on Jan 29, 2011 at 2:58:20 pm

Bill, Nick, et al,

The democratization of technology has made publishers of us all. In any area of our trade you wish to look and listen (or run screaming so you don't have to look or listen) you will find the good, the bad and the ugly.

Even outside the borders of Hollywood, there used to be "studio systems"; employment filters through which apprentices began their careers, learning as they went. A person literally couldn't get his or her hands on cameras and mics to do the sort of mangled work we discover these days.

I salute these folks, because, were it not for them, my work would not sound or look as good as it does by comparison. They make my job easy. The only problem is that the learning curve has shifted from the practitioners to the clients. By that I mean that the clients now have to separate who the capable folks from the not so capable. They are not as discriminating. They usually don't know exactly why something sucks. They write the checks and decide what's "good enough."

And, yes, Bill, someone else can mess up a perfectly good audio track without half trying. I'm guessing that's a little easier to do with audio than with video, but I may be wrong.

-Ty Ford

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

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