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Fixing Hollow/Echoing Audio in Premiere?

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Jake Huddleston
Fixing Hollow/Echoing Audio in Premiere?
on Sep 14, 2012 at 3:52:39 pm

Hi there. Like many video editors out there, audio still frustrates me. I am trying to learn the basics, but it is still very difficult and there is still much I don't know. What I have is an audio track that was recorded over someone being interviewed. The mic was a Zoom H1 mounted directly overhead, just out of frame, about 2 feet above the speaker. I've done recording like this before, but this time I encountered a significant amount of echo, or hollow-sounding audio. Here is the link to a sample from the track:

4660_memorybearsaudiosample.mp3.zip

What might be causing this? The type of mic? Distance from the speaker? The room? I am wondering if there is a way to fix this audio, and if possible, do it in Premiere Pro? I am willing to use other software if need be, I'm just not an audio expert so I cannot pinpoint what the problem is or what to do to fix it. If anyone has advice and making this audio sound better, it would be much appreciated. Thanks!

Jake Huddleston


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Chris Tompkins
Re: Fixing Hollow/Echoing Audio in Premiere?
on Sep 14, 2012 at 9:26:33 pm

Usually in these cases all you can do is EQ it to help some. You will not find a cure-all for the problem you have.

Chris Tompkins
Video Atlanta LLC


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Vince Becquiot
Re: Fixing Hollow/Echoing Audio in Premiere?
on Sep 14, 2012 at 10:23:05 pm

Like Chris said, not much you can do in post. With the EQ, you can drop frequencies around 2-3k, that should help a bit. If it was really bad, you could use a soft gate, but I can't see that doing much here.

As far as avoiding it in the first place: If you can't rent a sound stage, you will need to surround the talent with either packing blankets, or use velour drape. We made our own using thick velour fabric and a few sets of background support kits. It's always a big job, but there's no free lunch here.

As far as mic placement, you just have to improvise every time and pick the best spot, pointing down or up with a shotgun.

Lavs usually have slightly less reverb since they are closer.

Vince Becquiot

Indigo Live
San Francisco - Bay Area


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Mike Squires
Re: Fixing Hollow/Echoing Audio in Premiere?
on Sep 15, 2012 at 3:56:25 pm

To the OP, I feel your pain, as I learned this the hard way.

I was hired to shoot, direct, and edit a pilot of a restaurant/traveling show. They hired their own audio technician, which used a boom (above and below the talent), but used no dampening material.

The audio turned out to be hideous, sounding quite like your sample. The worst was during shots in the kitchen, nearly (and I would say) unusable.

I've always personally used lavs, and never have had any major issues.


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Jake Huddleston
Re: Fixing Hollow/Echoing Audio in Premiere?
on Sep 18, 2012 at 4:19:41 am

Thanks for the tips guys, I guess we all learn the hard way at one point or another.

For at least making the audio sound a little better than it is, you guys mentioned EQ. I've not had to adjust audio EQ or frequencies much in the past, but what would you say is the best way to adjust the EQ at this point? Should I raise or lower the high frequencies? Low ones? Mids? Vince you mentioned adjusting around 2-3K...could you explain this a bit more?

As for avoiding this problem in the first place, I'm wondering what the best way is to avoid the hassle of the blankets/velour...Lavs were a great tip. What about shotgun mics? The mic I used was a Zoom H1, not very directional. I have some friends who do professional video all the time and they never use any absorption material, only a directional shotgun mic on a boom mounted above the speaker. Would a highly directional mic reduce the need for absorption material?

Thanks for the info guys, it is super appreciated!

Jake Huddleston


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