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It's ONLY Audio?

It always amazes me how visually oriented some media industry pros can be. Years ago, I was working very late sweetening a project at my studio, when the owner of the video post-production company located in the same building peered in, and said "Why are you working so late on that? It's only audio!" Unfortunately, he was only half joking.

Many video pros don't seem to notice audio unless there is a problem with it, or unless it's completely missing. THEN, they notice. A video editor can focus attention for 20 minutes on a 20 second sequence of edits without batting an eye, but can't understand why an audio engineer is taking more than 20 seconds to remove the background noise from a 2 minute section of location audio.

And then there's my big pet peeve: a video editing bay where no expense is spared in getting the biggest and best HD video monitor, yet no concern for the noisy conditions in the room (computer cooling fans are a common culprit), making it virtually impossible for the editor to correctly make crucial audio decisions.

Here are some "quickies" for you Producer/Directors out there. You may have heard these more than once before, but recent experience shows me that they still need repeating.

Check your scripts before a voice-over session, and make sure you don't have a sentence split between 2 pages.

Also, don't forget to provide the audio engineer with a script copy for the session.

When on location, and your audio guy, who has the common sense to closely monitor the audio with a great set of isolating, closed-back headphones, is telling you that there is a ground hum coming through on one of the lavalier microphones, resist the temptation to say "we'll fix it in post", and find the culprit then and there.

Be sure your audio guy uses a "wind sock" on the microphone outdoors on a windy day, and a pop filter in the voice-over booth to tame those popping "P"s, "B"s, "T'"s, and "CH"s.

When you are in a video editing session, and it's the video editor who is editing the music, if the music has a nice composed ending which gently fades on the last note, make sure that the noise level in the edit bay is not getting in the way of hearing when the fade is actually completed. If I had a nickel for every time I have caught a video editor prematurely clipping the ending of the reverb on the final chord of the music track, I would be a wealthy man!

Thanks for listening.


Sherman Sound Suite

About the author:
Based in Orange County, California, Rick Sherman divides his full-time musical career into two very different, yet musically related categories: live musical performance, and music and audio production, including composing and recording music for video, film, and multimedia (as well as providing several other audio services for the media industry). You are cordially invited to explore both sides of composer, keyboard musician, entertainer, sound designer, and recording engineer Rick Sherman at his website