Archive for the ‘ Audio ’ Category

Benefits of Silence when Editing

I know on my last audio-related post there was some debate over the value of editing with soundproof headphones.  Well, I went ahead and made my pair, using the guide I posted, and they work great.  And guess what?  I quickly found out that my audio on Issues, which sounded balanced on the computer, was in fact a bit too far to the right.  Seems my camera/sound man recorded the right channel a bit louder than the left.  I thought it was negligible, but it’s quite noticeable now.  And that will need to be fixed if we ever intend to put Season 1 onto a DVD.

So, while you should definitely preview your sound over the medium it’s going to primarily play through, it does help, in my opinion, to do some editing in a soundproof atmosphere with separate sound feeding to your right and left ears.  I couldn’t pick up the difference on my laptop speakers, or my desk speakers, which are pretty close together.  But isolate the right and left channels from the rest of the world, and you find a problem that would have absolutely ruined a DVD if it was played in a decent home theater system.

I love my home-made soundproof phones because the quality is good, they were dirt cheap, and as a passive system, they never need to be charged.  That means they can come with me anywhere, as long as I don’t mind people looking at me slightly oddly – they are a bit large since they cover the entire ear.

Another benefit to editing in that otherwise silent environment – I picked up on some background sounds that escaped my notice earlier, but would become distracting if I played with the sound level at all.  I’ll now know to clean those up moving forward with my re-edits.

Oh!  Keep your fingers crossed for me everyone!  We submitted Issues for the 2010 Streamy Awards, and the nominees are supposed to announced sometime in the next couple weeks.  The awards are in April.  I’m really hoping we receive a nomination somewhere!

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Creating an Editing Enviroment, Pt. 1

Despite what you may hear, you can’t just edit anywhere.  You may be able to throw a rough cut together just about anywhere you can set up your computer, but if you’re going to make that near-perfect final edit, you’d better have a space that will facilitate that work, and not make it more difficult.  Let’s start with the obvious: sound.

Hopefully while you’re editing, you’re adjusting sound levels as they need to be to ensure an even sound level from clip to clip.  However, if you’re sitting in your living room editing (like I need to) with someone watching television or listening to music, this can be a problem.  So my first tip for creating an ideal editing environment is to invest in a worthy pair of noise canceling headphones.  My tip, be as cost effective with them as you can.  Howcast.com has a video on how to make your own for about $20.  I’m seriously considering trying it myself.  A lot more affordable than the set of Shure headphones I’d been considering.

If rigging up your own isn’t your thing, there are two types of noise-cancelling headphones you can buy.

The first, and by any measure, more cost-effective option is passive isolating headphones.  These are the kinds of headphones that have comfy little silicone tips that sit in your ear.  The silicone makes a tight seal in your ear, effectively cutting out sound from the world around you.  With the proper type of tip and proper fit, these headphones can be very effective.

The second option will cost you a bit more.  These are the active isolators.  BOSE is the most well-known of the active isolators, with their very popular QuietComfort headphones.  These headphones sit on or over your ear and are powered by a battery.  The headphones study the sounds coming towards them from the outside world and emit the exact opposite frequency into your ear.  Those frequencies cancel each other out, and you hear nothing.

Of course, if you’re lucky enough to have a space at home or work that can be made completely silent, you may want to forgo the headphones and instead rig up to a good speaker system.  You’ll want to do this anyway for test screenings, but in the right setting, difficult as it may be to find if you don’t have a studio space open to you, they can be your primary means of sound.  I’ll be continuing this series in the future with more tips.  Keep posted.