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Is this Peaked Recording Fixable?

sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
I would have released my film a month and a half ago but when I recorded my ADR my preamp was turned up too high
Can someone tell me if there is a way to fix the popping noises that I'm getting?

The speech itself sounds fine but when the track starts or (if you skip around) or (hit play/pause) there is a popping noise

So the film just sits on the shelf sadly
 

sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
To further clarify it doesn’t peak when he’s talking. It was blinking red and peaking even in silence. I feed too much juice from the preamp
 
To me it sounds like edit pops. Have you tried using a fade-in at the head and a fade out at the tail of the audio clip(s)? The fades can be very short, just a few frames, but may help with your situation.


Roll off the low end, you got some stuff happening down there

That's more of a mix issue, at least in my opinion.
 

sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
To me it sounds like edit pops. Have you tried using a fade-in at the head and a fade out at the tail of the audio clip(s)? The fades can be very short, just a few frames, but may help with your situation.
Thats a bandaid that I applied.
unfortunately if you skip around the audio file it sounds really awful. or play/pause it.

bandaid wont fix that. so i guess i just have to wait for ADR.
Thanks!
 
Lets clarify the issue. Please correct me if I am wrong.

The short clip you posted sounded okay. Is the audio of the other clips distorted?

As far as I can make out, your issue seems to be that the audio clips play fine, but you encounter pops when shuttling through the clips, or starting and stopping clips. Is this correct? If so, it may be an issue with your system and not the audio clips themselves.
 

sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
Lets clarify the issue. Please correct me if I am wrong.

The short clip you posted sounded okay. Is the audio of the other clips distorted?

As far as I can make out, your issue seems to be that the audio clips play fine, but you encounter pops when shuttling through the clips, or starting and stopping clips. Is this correct? If so, it may be an issue with your system and not the audio clips themselves.

Yes this is correct.

My tascam DR-70D was blinking red like it was peaking but it sounded fine in my headphones so i ignored the blinking light. With all my other ADR the MM-1 preamp had its gain turned down lower and there was no blinking red light and the audio sounds great on those other tracks.

For clarification here is a repost of the same bad audio and then good ADR without the popping noises.

Bad Audio:

Good Audio:
 
Yes this is correct.

My tascam DR-70D was blinking red like it was peaking but it sounded fine in my headphones so i ignored the blinking light. With all my other ADR the MM-1 preamp had its gain turned down lower and there was no blinking red light and the audio sounds great on those other tracks.

For clarification here is a repost of the same bad audio and then good ADR without the popping noises.

Bad Audio:

Good Audio:
You got a buildup of crap in your bottom end... so to speak...

Appears as if there was a build-up of sub frequencies causing them to peak (and show as peaked) on your recorder despite the vocal content not peaking.

Original audio side by side:

good vs bad original.png


Good Audio vs Problem audio with a gentle high pass:

good vs bad low end rolloff.png


The High Pass:

highpass.png
 

sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
Buildup of crap in the bottom end lll.
yeah the track was definitely diarrhea.

you know what really frustrates me is I tried to apply a high pass filter in resolve and I guess I didn’t do it right. I really hate every audio interface in resolve as an editor. I gotta switch to premiere pro for my next project.

thanks!! Gonna fix these audio tracks and release the movie
 
I can hear the distortion on the track. Yup, sounds like digital overload.

In the future keep everything on your field recorder barely touching YELLOW.

When I switched from analog (yes, I still miss it in a lot of ways) to digital it took me a while to discard some of my old practices. When using analog tape you always rode into the red. Peaks, if they weren't too high, would get some natural tape compression. The reason for recording into the red was to get the best S/N ratio, as analog tape had a built in hiss no matter what you did. Pushing everything into the red was standard recording studio practice with rock instrumentation as the natural tape compression was actually desired; it was a part of the sound.

With digital recording media pushing into the red means that you are overloading the preamps and/or the AD/DA convertors, and get that horrible distortion. It is nearly impossible to fix digital distortion. I've "repaired" momentary (fraction of a second) digital peaks by redrawing the waveform. It doesn't sound great, but is at least listenable

This is why peak limiters during during the field recording process are even more important now than they were 20/30 years ago.

You should still be doing fade-ins/fade-outs on your audio clips. Every audio clip in my sessions - and for a feature there can be tens of thousands of clips once you include Foley, Sound Effects, etc. - has a fade in or out or a crossfade. It's such a habit that I no longer even have to think about it.
 

sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
You should still be doing fade-ins/fade-outs on your audio clips. Every audio clip in my sessions - and for a feature there can be tens of thousands of clips once you include Foley, Sound Effects, etc. - has a fade in or out or a crossfade. It's such a habit that I no longer even have to think about it.
For the life of me i dont understand why thats not a setting in NLE
you should be able to set a default for how it takes to fade in / fade out and then have it do that by default on every track unless you opt out.

as a computer programmer being forced to perform the sane mundane repetitive task over and over again really irks me
 
If you are a dedicated audio type doing the fades is a part of the gig. Its one of the little automatic chores that you do while working on the clips. It's not a time waster for me; it gives me something to do while "tinkering and thinkering."

As far as an auto-fade function there are, or at least were, a couple of plug-ins out there. They were okay for visual editors and similar folks, but most of us audio editors are meticulous fanatics who hear the difference between different lengths of fades and other seemingly small sonic details, and each clip somehow seems to need a slightly different fade length and/or shape for maximum sonic impact.

There is an auto-fade function in Audacity. Pro Tools has an automatic fade-in/out on each clip of a few milliseconds that does not appear in the time-line so that when you line up a string of clips it doesn't pop between clips. But, as I mentioned, detail-oriented audio folks tend to treat each individual clip as an individual work of art that becomes a part of a greater work of art.

Come on, when you're editing visuals haven't you agonized over "Do I let this clip run seven extra frames or cut it here?" That's how audio peeps approach every clip.
 

sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
If you are a dedicated audio type doing the fades is a part of the gig. Its one of the little automatic chores that you do while working on the clips. It's not a time waster for me; it gives me something to do while "tinkering and thinkering."

As far as an auto-fade function there are, or at least were, a couple of plug-ins out there. They were okay for visual editors and similar folks, but most of us audio editors are meticulous fanatics who hear the difference between different lengths of fades and other seemingly small sonic details, and each clip somehow seems to need a slightly different fade length and/or shape for maximum sonic impact.

There is an auto-fade function in Audacity. Pro Tools has an automatic fade-in/out on each clip of a few milliseconds that does not appear in the time-line so that when you line up a string of clips it doesn't pop between clips. But, as I mentioned, detail-oriented audio folks tend to treat each individual clip as an individual work of art that becomes a part of a greater work of art.

Come on, when you're editing visuals haven't you agonized over "Do I let this clip run seven extra frames or cut it here?" That's how audio peeps approach every clip.
Well lets say you've got 50,000 different audio clips in a feature, you really want to do 100,000 different fade in and fade outs manually ?
God that sounds painful.

My guess is that if you did it automatically you would only hear a problem in 20% of those cases and then you could manually focus on the ones that are actually an issue. it's not that complicated of a problem to ease in for pops.

but to each their own. and yeah i agonize over when to place the audio and how long to let it run.
but eliminating pop noise? not something i agonize over. i get it done and move on.
 
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Late to the game on this one, but oh, well. Most if this is too little, too late, but important for your future work.

First, any time you see peaking on your meters (or even input LED clip indicators) on a mixer or recorder, you need to back everything off a bit. The TASCAM DR-series recorders’ meters tend to show 0dBFS peaking a few dB before actual peaking, likely a safeguard design for non-sound people to keep them from actually hitting digital clipping. Still, it’s to be avoided. That’s a problem you fix when it’s happening, and not in post.

For the MM-1, you now have an extra link in your chain and gain staging is incredibly important. To properly set the gain on the MM-1, you need to find the proper starting point for your particular mic. Look up the manufacturer’s specs and find out the mic’s sensitivity rating. For example, the RØDE NTG-3 has a sensitivity of -30dBV. Match that as close as you can to the preamp gain setting. On the MM-1, that would be 28dB. If that proves too little and with increased noise in the recorder, move to 36dB.

From there, you should be looking at a line-level input setting on the DR-70D.

Well lets say you've got 50,000 different audio clips in a feature, you really want to do 100,000 different fade in and fade outs manually ?
God that sounds painful.

Assuming a pretty good chunk of those are cross-fades between dialog edits, your numbers are way off. Plus, doing this as you go means you don’t have to go back and do all of it at once.

In computer programming, you can run redundant tasks automatically because the circumstances don’t change. That’s what makes them redundant: always doing the exact, same thing. In sound, the edits between any two sound regions will have their own unique circumstances. Your input data change from edit to edit, so the process has to change to match.

My guess is that if you did it automatically you would only hear a problem in 20% of those cases and then you could manually focus on the ones that are actually an issue. it's not that complicated of a problem to ease in for pops.

I’m trying my best not to take that “it’s not that complicated” comment as an insult to those of us who have honed our craft with sound over many years. There are lots of intricacies, as Bob said. Every crossfade has a different reason and rhyme and needs individual care to be effective. These things take time and attention. They aren’t things on which you can just slap a generic fix and call it a day; not to do it well, anyway.

On a big-budget feature, there’s a huge set of sound teams all working on separate pieces and parts individually, and those parts aren’t brought together until nearer to the end of the process, when they’re assembled and mixed for the final print.

On a smaller-budget feature, there may only be 2-3 people working on sound in post, or even just 1 (aside from the composer). They may not get the exact same results as they would if they had the larger budget and team, but they’re dedicated and it makes a world of difference in the final product.

Taking it on all by yourself, editing picture and sound, creating all the visual effects, creating sound design, and the making final mix, is akin to shooting a project alone. If you have to worry about camera, lighting, sound, direction, and all the other issues without anyone there to help, things are going to get glossed over. Your attention is just too spread out, and you may even be taking on roles that aren’t necessarily your strongest skills. It’s one thing to do all your own post on a short (and I’ve worked on many that had dedicated sound design and post mixers), but to take on a feature without someone else handling your post sound is highly ill-advised.

Side note: if you have Amazon Prime, you should watch the documentary “Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound”. Last I checked, it was free to watch. Not sure if that’s still the case, but it’s worth the watch either way.
 
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sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
Late to the game on this one, but oh, well. Most if this is too little, too late, but important for your future work.

First, any time you see peaking on your meters (or even input LED clip indicators) on a mixer or recorder, you need to back everything off a bit. The TASCAM DR-series recorders’ meters tend to show 0dBFS peaking a few dB before actual peaking, likely a safeguard design for non-sound people to keep them from actually hitting digital clipping. Still, it’s to be avoided. That’s a problem you fix when it’s happening, and not in post.

For the MM-1, you now have an extra link in your chain and gain staging is incredibly important. To properly set the gain on the MM-1, you need to find the proper starting point for your particular mic. Look up the manufacturer’s specs and find out the mic’s sensitivity rating. For example, the RØDE NTG-3 has a sensitivity of -30dBV. Match that as close as you can to the preamp gain setting. On the MM-1, that would be 28dB. If that proves too little and with increased noise in the recorder, move to 36dB.

From there, you should be looking at a line-level input setting on the DR-70D.



Assuming a pretty good chunk of those are cross-fades between dialog edits, your numbers are way off. Plus, doing this as you go means you don’t have to go back and do all of it at once.

In computer programming, you can run redundant tasks automatically because the circumstances don’t change. That’s what makes them redundant: always doing the exact, same thing. In sound, the edits between any two sound regions will have their own unique circumstances. Your input data change from edit to edit, so the process has to change to match.



I’m trying my best not to take that “it’s not that complicated” comment as an insult to those of us who have honed our craft with sound over many years. There are lots of intricacies, as Bob said. Every crossfade has a different reason and rhyme and needs individual care to be effective. These things take time and attention. They aren’t things on which you can just slap a generic fix and call it a day; not to do it well, anyway.

On a big-budget feature, there’s a huge set of sound teams all working on separate pieces and parts individually, and those parts aren’t brought together until nearer to the end of the process, when they’re assembled and mixed for the final print.

On a smaller-budget feature, there may only be 2-3 people working on sound in post, or even just 1 (aside from the composer). They may not get the exact same results as they would if they had the larger budget and team, but they’re dedicated and it makes a world of difference in the final product.

Taking it on all by yourself, editing picture and sound, creating all the visual effects, creating sound design, and the making final mix, is akin to shooting a project alone. If you have to worry about camera, lighting, sound, direction, and all the other issues without anyone there to help, things are going to get glossed over. Your attention is just too spread out, and you may even be taking on roles that aren’t necessarily your strongest skills. It’s one thing to do all your own post on a short (and I’ve worked on many that had dedicated sound design and post mixers), but to take on a feature without someone else handling your post sound is highly ill-advised.

Side note: if you have Amazon Prime, you should watch the documentary “Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound”. Last I checked, it was free to watch. Not sure if that’s still the case, but it’s worth the watch either way.
thats great advice about the manufacturers specs

There are plenty of rhymes and reasons for crossfades i agree but i was talking specifically just about the pops.
Of course you do probably end up fading and in out for various other reasons anyway its just strange to me when you hear editors talking about pops sneaking through and i feel like that should never happen if it were opt out instead of opt in.

I did do some pretty cool sound design in my film around the 6 minute mark :)
 
A bit off topic but in regards to the manual fade in/fade out, I interned on a feature this year (just dropped on Prime :D ) and my boss had a command in Nuendo hooked up to a contour design shuttle that would add a fade in/out at the cursor's position. Sped things up a ton. Used the jog wheel to slide where we wanted the fade, hit a button, and fade was in. :)
 
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