In the last part of our series on post-production in video deluxe, we explained everything about image optimization. Now we want to give you a insight into editing the audio tracks.
In the past to this day, audio has always played a big role in films. Even in the era of silent movies, moving pictures were highlighted with music and even today, Hollywood blockbusters rely heavily on scores and soundtrack songs to enhance the on-screen emotion in certain places.
In video editing, the audio track is basically made up of four components: the original sounds, sound effects, music, and speech commentaries. Three of these components play a big role in post-production, the fourth, the original effects, are of course recorded directly with the video.
Now we’re going to show you how you can best incorporate and stage sound effects and speech commentaries in your film.
Audio Dubbing Using a Sound Archive
Everyone knows the sound of a door creaking, thudding punches or a car door slamming. Such sound effects are added for the viewer later, to get laughs or to make a certain scene seem more authentic. This audio dubbing in post-production is an art in itself. The sounds that come out are made as we’re conditioned to perceive them – and in the process, this perception is simultaneously conditioned even further. If you want to make films like the professionals, you’ll have to accept this conditioning and begin your search for sounds. It doesn’t matter whether the effects sound particularly genuine or not. It’s more about whether the sounds are typical.
The more fictional that your plot is and the more staged that your scenes are, the more that subsequently added sound effects can offer you. Since no-one expects you to use such effects in a documentary. However, you probably won’t dealing with listening around for suitable sounds when it comes to your first film.
Ideally, you’ll be able to construct your own small sound library over time.
This should include as needed:
- City noise (cars, honking horns, voices)
- Chirping birds for nature recordings
- Babel of voices in crowds of people
- Water sounds for scenes with streams and waterfalls
- Other natural sounds: sound of the sea, rain, wind…
Here, you should make sure that you have alternative versions to give your film a bit of variety.
In order to save sounds separately from recordings, you just need to open an area above the object. Make sure to clip the area so that you can only hear the sound Then select FILE > FILM EXPORT > AUDIO AS MP3 from the menu.
MP3 with a bitrate of 192 kB/s is the optimal saving method.
Speech Commentaries in Post-Production
Speech commentaries are useful if extra information is needed in order to understand the images, or if you want to communicate with your audience. A classic example are televised news reports where a speaker comments on the images shown. These commentaries can be live or added and edited in afterwards.
To record a speech commentary, you’ll first need a microphone that is connected to your computer. For a speeech commentary, the cheapest microphones will normally do, however if you want a high quality, you’ll also have to invest a bit more.
- find the place that you want to assign a voice commentary to.
- Write down your commentary.
- In your Video Deluxe project move the playback marker to the place where you want to start your commentary.
- Click on the record button under the video monitor and select AUDIO
- Under AUDIO FILE SAVE AS, enter a file name and choose a file location.
- You should choose CD AUDIO as RECORDING QUALITY, the commentary will otherwise sound tinny or muffled. Otherwise, choose PLAYBACK DURING RECORDING, so that you can see on the video monitor which position you’re currently commenting on.
- Test the peak control before recording. Speaak into the microphone. The volume is good if the left and right channels pass about two thirds of the way. Otherwise click on PEAK CONTROL…and increase or decrease the recording volume a little
- Activate the option NORMALIZE AFTER RECORDING, in order to make sure that your recording will be loud enough.
- Under ADVANCED… you can find more tune-ups
- Set the option REDUCE VOLUME OF OTHER AUDIO TRACKS AUTOMATICALLY Now you won’t need to adjust the volume of the other audio tracks manually.
- Next, click on the red record button in the main menu and say your commentary.
- To end the recording, click on the black stop button.
- Now you’ll be asked if you want to use the recording or re-record it.
- Click on USE to transfer the recording to the Timeline.
- Now repeat these steps at every place where you need a speech commentary.
The technical side to synchronizing – the recording process – is no different to that of speech commentary. However, the extra problem in post-production is that you only have a very exact time frame available for each commentary, if you don’t want the sound and image to become out of sync. It doesn’t look very good when you can hear someone speaking but no-one is moving their mouth!
- Firstly, identify the area that you want to synchronize. Because time plays an important role here,to help you, you could add an in and out point.
- Write out exactly – word for word – what should be said in this area.
- Bear in mind the time that the spoken form will need
- To begin with, read out the text partly and stop the time.
- If you speak out your voiceover track in the same way as a speech commentary, you should mute the original audio track. To do this, click on the small M before the track in the arranger.
So far so good. Preferably go and try it out yourself! If you don’t yet have Video Deluxe, you can try out the free test version here.
In the next article in our series on post-production with Video deluxe, we’ll tell you everything about bringing in music, sound optimization and volume adjustment. Stay tuned!