Noise Reduction Fun

AuditionScreenCapture

Hello,

I’ve been fortunate enough to acquire some mixing projects from a Southern California marketing company in the past few months or so. It’s been quite a learning experience in many ways, but I couldn’t ask for a better client to drop in my lap. Essentially, they make vignettes (marketing videos) for local companies. They film the footage, record the voice-overs and interviews, add their background music and send it to me. I then fix the audio and polish it up and mix the VO and music together for the vignettes.

The key element here is; I fix the audio. What exactly does that mean? Well, when they go to film/record the client for the vignette, sometimes background audio gets in the way. It could be a bird, a fountain or anything that’s not pleasing to the ear. When I polish that audio up and raise the volume level, all of that noise becomes very apparent and essentially ruins all of their hard work. So, before I can even mix the VO and music together, I have to get rid of that noise.

The weapon of choice for my noise removal is Adobe Audition. I basically find the frequencies that are causing trouble and tell Adobe Audition to remove those frequencies and only those frequencies in the exact spots I tell it to do so.  I wish I could say that it is a one button operation, but the truth is that a person has to use all the tools available in the software to fine-tune the process so as to not affect the voice-over itself. I’ve enjoyed the learning curve associated with noise removal. Every project is different and so one must put on the troubleshooting hat and get to work.

I thought it would be fun to show a snippet of what I have done in regards to removing the noise and mixing the overall audio on one of the projects sent me. So, let’s begin.

This first clip is the raw audio given to me. There appears to be a low-level hum in the background and you can tell he is most likely sitting in a very large room due to the amount of echo flutter.

 

This clip is after the noise removal has been applied. I was able to reduce the amount of echo flutter and what echo is still there has little in the way of decay. Also, the low level hum has been completely removed. I also punched up his voice with some some EQ and compression… not to mention some other little goodies the Cali Dingo has up his sleeve.

 

Finally, I mix that clip in with the music provided.

 

 

Thanks for checking out my latest post. I hope you found it either useful or entertaining.

Till next time…

David (Cali Dingo)

 

 

 

Spare Bedroom? Let’s Make A Home Studio! – Part 3

This is the final submission to my little Star Wars-esque trilogy. I quickly realized that pics and text weren’t going to do it for showing the final result of my treatment installation in my home studio. So, I opted for a video. I probably ramble a bit, here and there and I realized afterward that I don’t seem to have a “good side”. So, please be kind. I’ve never done something like this before. 🙂

But, I think it is clear that the treatment (and studio in general) work very well. I am pleased with the results.

Here are some before and afters to help show the impact that the treatment has when recording voice-overs. I’m using the raw files, because I think they showcase the echo quite prominently. The final, in my opinion, is far better than the first one. I was thrilled when I did my first VO in the treated room. Money very well spent. Check out the comparison.

Without Treatment
[audio:http://dl.dropbox.com/u/2926250/PCV-RAW.mp3]

With Treatment
[audio:http://dl.dropbox.com/u/2926250/APC-RAW.mp3]

Well, without further ado, let’s watch my directorial and acting debut showcasing the new home studio.

Thanks for sticking around through the series. I hope it helps someone out there attempting to do the same thing.

Till next time…

David (Cali Dingo)

 

Incidentally, you may notice these nice little “sharing” buttons on the bottom of the posts. Feel free to use them. Share away as much as you like. 🙂

 

 

Spare Bedroom? Let’s Make A Home Studio! – Part 1

So, as I have stated/mentioned in prior posts, I have long had a “home studio” in a spare bedroom in the house. I used the room as is, with just my furniture “cleverly” situated in odd areas. As an example of my odd layout, I decided to put my desk in a corner of the room. Why? Don’t ask me. I guess I was trying my hand at eccentric interior design? Not sure. Plus, I had no acoustic treatment, which didn’t affect the layout, but it did affect the “sound” of the room. As a graphic design / web design office it was just fine. As a music studio? Not so much. Needless to say, over the course of me recording, mixing and mastering audio, I began to realize this room was dishing out all sorts of problems. For instance:

Recording – Too much ambient room noise, and not the good kind. When recording voice overs, echo-flutter was all too apparent. It became a nasty problem once I was in the processing phase, because once I added any compression that echo-flutter was very, up front and center. It made me work harder in the editing phase, attempting to knock out the noise wherever there was a pause in the vocal. I still do this when editing, but I had to get real surgical when dealing with all the echo-flutter. Talk about time consuming, not to mention the echo was still somewhat present during the voice over. Maybe no one else heard it, but I did and I’m the only person that matters…  besides my wife. 😉

Also, when attempting to record, my room had… well, no room, thanks to my eccentric interior design (I wish I would have taken “before” pics. I always forget to do that). The layout was horrendous which led to me pulling cords outta my guitars or knocking over my preamps. I looked like one of the Marx brothers when trying to record.

Mixing/Mastering – This is where the acoustic treatment was badly needed…only I didn’t know it for quite a while. Being that I’m married and my studio is in a house that my wife lives in, I typically use my monitors, KRK Rokit 5s, for referencing only. However, the acoustics in my room made referencing a bit more daunting. The mix from my monitors sounded totally different from what my headphones were telling me. This would lead me go back to the mix and try and fix what the room said needed fixing, only to go back to the headphones and find out that the changes I just made, based on my monitors, sounded off. Once I studied up on acoustic treatment the light bulb went off and I began to understand that my room was playing a dirty trick on my ears.

So, I sat down, did some research and discovered that I needed to change the layout and add some acoustic treatment. Upon realizing how much work was going to be involved I decided to also change the color of the room. You see, I made my home studio in a kiddie bedroom. It had a baseball-themed light fixture and powder blue paint. Perfect for a little boy. But, it has been annoying me since I took the room over as my office/studio. Now was my chance.

Let the work begin…

Getting Ready 2
The tray is filled. Really liked this color on the swatch sheet and liked it in the bucket. I was hoping I'd feel the same once it was on my walls.

 

Old Paint Color
Here is a view of what the old color was like (with patched holes to boot). This is the closest to a "before" pic that I have.

 

Got the first coat on and this pic shows a good example of the color difference. Good call on the color, eh?

 

Here's a better view of the new color. I forgot what it was called.

 

It was cold outside and hot inside my room. Had to fight the moisture monster as the paint up against the window kept running..

 

Finished 1
The "almost" finished room. The walls and trim are all painted and the furniture and gear are all moved into place. Much better use of space, I say. I can actually access the closet. My drum kit was blocking the right closet door before.

 

Finshed 2
The corner where I used to have my desk.

 

Frankie's picture is yet to be hung. I acquired a Paul McCartney painting from my artist brother that will be hung above my desk.

 

Better use of space and the acoustics should be much better with this layout once I apply the treatment. That is the theory at least.

 

My Assistant
Finally, all of this would not have been possible without the undying support of my fearless assistant. He's on salary.

 

Whew! It was a lot of work, but I love the results. Part 2 will cover the addition of acoustic treatment to the room. Let me know what you think so far.

Till next time…

David (Cali Dingo)

 

 

Voice Over Sample 1

Recently I did some voice over work for a cartoon I’m creating for an interactive PDF that my job will be publishing. This sample I’m presenting here is a very, very small snippet showcasing myself and my wife doing the voices for 2 little characters that will be instructing students on how to use a math activity. I created the background music in Garageband which I’ve found works wonders when making little jingles for these types of situations.

On a side note, I was surprised at how much interest there was on how I go about doing voice overs. So, I thought I’d compile a little series demonstrating how I record, edit and process the voice overs as well as the creation of background music and anything else I find that might be useful to anyone who cares.  By no means is my way the only way or even the “best” way. But, it works for me and as always, there is more than one way to skin a cat.

At any rate, here ya go!

Voice Over Sample

Feel free to leave a comment. Till next time…

David (Cali Dingo)

 

 

Animation Sequence 2

Have been hard at work on another Flash Animation for an educational interactive PDF. Here is a sample of one of the many animations that will appear in the PDF.

Animation Sample

This one was heavy on the lip-syncing. I’m getting a better understanding on how we perceive lip movement with words. It’s tricky to….trick the eye? At any rate, I personally see improvement, I hope you do too. 😉

There are more animations to come, so as I pop them out, I’ll be posting.

Comments are always welcome. Feel free to leave a lil’ somethin’ below.

Till next time…

David (Cali Dingo)