I shot a video testimonial recently with a less than desirable audio setup. I only had one mic for three interviewees, the mic was too far from the subjects which introduced room noise and a slight echo and there were kids playing in a nearby room down the hall. How did I fix this in post? I won’t go into extreme detail, but I’ll give you an idea of what I used and how I used it to accomplish the goal of cleaning it up and making it sound professional. I’m always interested in how others accomplish this task, so I thought I would pull back the curtain and show you how I do it in these situations. Leave me a comment and let me know how you do it. Enjoy!
I have had the pleasure of recording some metal guitar work for a local band this past holiday weekend. It’s always a thrill to record good musicians. This was to be used as a guide for the rest of the band to learn the songs. In turn, the working relationship seemed to go quite well and we will be adding bass and drums as a result of how well the session went. I was impressed by this guy’s playing and look forward to hearing the whole band. They are in their late teens/early twenties and they play old-school metal. How cool is that?
As a side note, their rythmn guitarist was present as well and she can play piano. So, my newly purchased organ/leslie got tickled by someone who has skill. That was a nice treat. In hindsight, I should have recorded it. Oh well, perhaps I’ll have her back over for that specific purpose.
Without further ado…
As I record and mix the rest of the band, I’ll post up samples.
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…
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.
Recently finished up a song I’ve been diligently working on for quite a while. This was the song that I decided to cut my teeth on in regards to perfecting my audio engineering prowess. Okay…so I still have a little ways to go.
At any rate, in this sample I recorded everything, did the audio editing, mixed the tracks and mastered the finished product to bring the levels up to commercial quality. I am in the midst of mastering some more audio and will have those up shortly as well. As with everything in life, the more I do it…the better I seem to be getting at it.
Today I want to share a voice over project I have been working on for an educational flash game. I performed audio editing, the voice over and mixing on this sample. Perhaps I can provide some voice over work on your next project.