“Well, whether it’s on film or on TV, you don’t want to throw too many curves at your audio and video guys.” – Rick Moranis. How rightly stated, curves are good for drawing and painting but you would like to avoid them in audio tracks. They create distortions and sound aberrations in your films. When filming videos or downloading them you will frequently feel that at times the audio fails to synchronize with the video. You can hear either the sound leaping ahead of the video or running behind the film.
This takes the skills of audio editing, depending upon the errors, twists, tweaks and noises in the film, you will have to either change a part or the whole section in video that requires to sweeten the sound. This comes with practice and experience, although the sounds can be rectified and re-synchronized by non-linear editing software in totality, it is imperative that you take care of the sound in the first steps of recording. No matter how much you clean up and process the audio track nothing beats the process of getting it right at the start itself. The audio workflow includes changing from multi or dual track system audio recording to eliminating the redundant sounds and noises, cleaning up, sweetening and disaster recovery.
Tools for Audio Auditing
The first step in rectifying sound distortions in the films and videos is to select the right kind of tools and half of your problem is solved. Although the non-linear editing or popularly known as NLE is fine for editing video it is better to use a suitable audio editor. One such fine tool is Adobe Audition which comes with production premium.
The workflow that is required to sync the audio with videos takes place in few steps. The audio files are first synched in Premiere Pro and or Plural Eyes. They are then opened as a multi-track project in Audition that resembles like any non linear editing screens without the video tracks. The clean up and sweetening process is done at the required sections by switching between the tracks.
This efficient workflow of editing, mixing, recording, sweetening and disaster recovery can be perfectly done with Adobe Audition CS5.5 and Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Production Premium software. It is high quality video production software that performs the work at a faster rate. It has some amazing features that can stabilize the shaky videos with a click of the button, like the Warp stabilizer and blazing fast Adobe mercury playback engine
Get the Feel of Synchronization
Filmmakers usually work with more than two cameras and similar separate audio devices at a given point of time. This means that if audio corrections have to be done you would be working with more than two audio tracks. Working separately on these tracks can be done but is time consuming. You can sync the soundtracks by switching between the multi-tracks or dual tracks and cleaning up only those sections that you would want to be in the video. You can also sync the tracks in the audio editor by seeing and scrutinizing the waveforms and carefully listening to the sounds. You can master this art of editing by practice and experience. If you have large amount of tracks to sweeten up and are hard on time and patience, then you can fasten up the process of audio editing by using the application known as PluralEyes.
The wonder tool Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Production Premium provides an advanced audio editing for videos in Adobe Audition. It has a dual system sound support that helps you to edit multi-track projects. The “Roundtrip Edit’ option helps you to fasten the project switchovers with NLE’s or other Avid Pro tools without the need to create new mix downs.
Tips To Avoid Sound Distortions
- When recording, the microphone should be the closest to the subject or the source of your sound. This generally helps in best sound recording and ensures that the background unwanted noises are not their on the track.
- The microphone should not be moved erratically or aimed at areas other than the source of sound. Handling or fiddling of the microphone consciously or subconsciously should be avoided. You can use your onboard shotgun microphone to record and sync the sound.
- To avoid the flattening of music entirely there should not be any live music originating from the auto gain recording.
How to Sweeten Your Recording
The most important gadgets required to rectify sounds are a good pair of speakers. Before going for editing or processing sounds of the tracks it is must to hear them on the speakers. Computer speakers even with a surround system are designed to create immersive experience that are aimed at creating sounds louder than what they really are. It is best to use monitor speakers as they give you the real resonance without being inclined to any particular type of sounds. This helps in making your films tracks sound real and good on any category of system.
A good multi-band compressor when used in moderation can enhance the quality of the sound although overuse of it can mar the audio sounds badly. Most of the audio devices like speakers, microphones and even audio recorder can manipulate the sound and are partial to frequency.
Features of the Multi-band Compressor in Adobe Audition
Each microphone has a different pickup prototype and responds to specific frequencies in a certain way. A lot of professional artists demand for specific microphones that enhance their performance. It is an art to match the right frequency with that of the microphone. This comes for a price and hence is not feasible for personal events. The issue of microphones can be minimized by using multi-band compressor. To avoid lots of sound complications it is best to record uncompressed WAV files with the help of audio recorder to maintain subtlety and steadiness.
During recording of videos there are moments when the sound jumps high and then there are sections where everything goes quiet. This is taken care by multi-band compressors that have a preset of ‘enhance vocal’ that tries to minimize the variations of the quieter and the louder section of the tracks. They also help to fortify the sound frequency of human voice. The levels of sound are also adjusted to give a balanced sound effect output. To separate the voice from the background chatter you would require a frequency range of 200 Hz to 4000 Hz. This can be separated in two areas ranging from 200-1000 and 1000Hz – 4000 Hz and then adding 2dB and 4dB gain to the voice. The consonants are present in the higher spectrum and the vowels in the lower frequency. Adjusting these settings is important to gauge the equipments inclination towards a certain frequency that can bring balance to the sound tracks. A multi-band compressor helps you to save the settings in the preset, as sometimes you need the same type of settings for the equipments.
In emergency situations where the microphones near the sound of source stop working then this system works perfectly well. It can be done by using a filter known as ‘noise reduction’ present in nonlinear editing or audio editor where a pre-recorded unwanted sound is incorporated in it and then this sound is eliminated and filtered from the recording.
Features of the Noise Reduction Filter in Adobe Audition
A lot of times during video shoots not much care is given to the recording of the sounds and a lot of background chatter and invasive noises is recorded during the process. At times even the right things done are of no use. Like placing the equipments or using good quality microphones do not simplify in avoiding the sound distortions. The solution to this is cleaning up the sound with the help of noise reduction filter in Adobe Audition. It helps you to identify the noises in the waveform, isolating it, reducing the noise level, making finer adjustments and creating and using noise profiles. The noise reduction effect helps you to edit sounds quickly and efficiently.
Non-Linear editing is a form of digital editing system that helps you to edit footage of any sequence of any frame in the digital video film. It allows you to incorporate various effects like balancing levels of sounds, fading, transitions and many more. Editing sound tracks in NLE requires a lot of cut and paste of the tracks, if parts of unwanted tracks remain while switching the tracks you can synchronize it by lining it up with the start of the audio track. You can probably link the main camera angle with the sound file and begin your video editing. In NLE you do not lose original sound files or bring modifications to the original sound tracks during editing. It gives you flexibility during film editing with easy access and organizing projects. The feature of mixed down WAV’s helps you to push the normal sound to the next level.
When you finally edit the soundtrack ensure that the audio levels have been regular and steady throughout the production. Keep headroom for adjustment and setting the absolute level value, as whatever system you use they have inclination towards certain frequencies and internal systems to enhance and boost the sound thus hindering the natural sound. It is best to avoid mastering the audio at 0dB
Sound editing is a serious business and most of it depends on the type of equipment you use. As equipment upgrade and evolve frequently, it is impossible for sound designers to keep upgrading the equipment. The best option thus is hire equipment from a company like Mr Video which specializes in audio visual services. Apart from sound editing equipment, the company also rents out video equipment like projectors, plasma TVs and projector screen (www.aa-rental.com) so that the sound enhancements can be timed with the moving images and background. Being in business since 1996, Mr Video ensures that you always get best in quality equipment in perfect working condition. Hire all kinds of audio-video equipment from Mr Video.
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