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Audio Q&A

Lesson 14 from: Creating a Video From Start to Finish

Victor Ha

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Lesson Info

14. Audio Q&A

Audio is scary stuff -- learn from the most frequently asked questions from students like you.

Lesson Info

Audio Q&A

You know, before I move on, do we have any quick questions of what we're doing? I do wanna play some of the clips that we got, just kinda get you geared up into kinda as we move throughout this class, to start thinking about the edit, to start thinking about how these things sounded as they came out of the camera and as they came out of the recorder. Alright, well we definitely have some audio questions and this one's from Michael in the UK. Do you ever use an adapter to convert a monolove mic into a stereo audio signal to make post much easier? You know, I never do that, I never do it. Partly because I'm very scared about doing any type of conversion in production. It's much easier to take a mono track and double it into a stereo track in post than it is to take a mono track, make it stereo in production and then try to use it and then if you mess up, you're toast. So for those of you who don't understand what I'm talking about cus I'm speaking gibberish, a mono signal, so if you ...

cover one ear, that's mono, okay? You can only hear out of one channel, one place. If you uncover that ear, that's stereo. So what the questions was is, is there a way to record something that's mono and convert it so that it becomes stereo? And my response is, well no, I'm just gonna record it in mono and then take that track in post production and copy it over so that I artificially get a stereo track. You guys follow me on that one? So that's like the best way that I can explain mono and stereo in a way that's tangible for all of us cus we've all done that, right? Like, you know, so it's very easy for us to get it once we kind of put it in that framework, you know? I think the thing that I really always, and I hate to hammer this back to always being the same thing, but when it really talk about audio and we really talk about capturing sound and we really talk about getting it good and getting it correctly, one, don't bite off more than you can chew. I know this is really scary stuff, because this, unlike lighting, and unlike some of the other things that we can really lean on as being like, hey, we're photographers, we know this stuff, yeah, go us, I think this is the one area where we get really scared and that's okay. Remember, your first year of videos probably won't involve capturing an interview. And, here's the other thing, right, you could just capture an interview and then bleed in some other shots and use that as a narrative and you can just get a person into a room where you're comfortable, where you can see the levels and record to a computer, I mean, that's how they do podcast, right? I recently, yesterday, was with Casey recording stuff and that's exactly what we did, you know? Don't feel like you've gotta get production sound now if you're not ready for it. Again, it should not be what stands in the way of you capturing and creating content. I got a question back there. Yeah, do you ever record backup audio? So my issue that I have coming up is I may be doing an interview with a mid 90s gentlemen who I know has never used a mic, so if I put a mic in front of him, he's gonna wander away from it, he's not gonna capture it. Would you also lav him, or just get a high end lav and abandon the regular mic. I would do two things, I would lav him twice. So I would stick a lav wireless, beam the signal and then stick a lav into a recorder into his pocket, okay? And then just use a button mic or whatever it is to hide it, he won't even feel the weight to the recorded in his pocket, they're that small, you know? So if you wanna do a back up, that's what I would do. If you wanted to do a back up that hits the recorder and then goes to another recorder, you could do that as well. You know, like beam it wirelessly to your recorder and then just record a second track to another recorder or even the safety track to camera. You know there's a couple options there. What are the pros and cons? If I have two recorders, that means they're recording both independently of each other, if one goes down, I got the back up, okay? That's the best benefit. The con of that is it's double the equipment, double the mics, double the recorders, you know? And one recorder has to be small enough to fit in a pocket. The other way, if I have a signal being beamed to a recorder and then I, basically, copy it to another recorder real time or to my camera, I have two copies of the recording but if that mic goes down, then both recordings will go down, do you understand why? Because it's going to one, splitting off, and well if it's dead, it's dead, okay? So it seems like that's an important person you wanna capture sound from so I would probably err on the side of double recorder to ensure that I would have what I need from it. Cus, you know, there also comes the point where you gotta weigh your cost and benefit, right? If I'm gonna be in this project and I won't have time to re-shoot, then I'm gonna have to err on safety but if I have time to re-shoot, then I can err on move shooting from the hip kinda stuff. You just gotta be very cognizant of the situation that you're in, okay? So I would do double recorder and what you could do is, in lieu of doing double recording to two recorders, you could have two wireless lavs and you could mic the wireless lavs into one recorder and then what you call flushing channels, okay? You can record one mic to one channel, you record the other mic to the left channel, so one's recording on the right channels, the other's recording on the left channel, okay? You still have two mics going, you still have two channels going, and the channels are recording separately. So it's a way of getting track recording by beating the system, gaming the system a little bit without having to buy another track recorder, okay? And that's what a lot, a lot, of guys who capture sound for a living end up doing, is they flush their channels in a way to get two tracks out of it. Cus what we can do, we can always double that mono into a stereo, okay? So that's another really good option, too. Just get a great recorder that's got two XLR inputs, get two wireless lavs, plug the receivers into that, flush your channels, you're set. Kind of in the vain of working with what you have and then travel photography, you're kind of in an idealized scenario where you're able to flush everyone out of the room, and get that, like, I'm thinking travel, you're in restaurants, you're in whatever with lots of background noise. Strategies for dealing with that, with kinda what you got on hand. Cool, that's a great question. So do you guys all watch Anthony Bourdain ever? Yeah. Oh yeah. Okay, right. Anthony Bourdain's production crew is amazing because they have a really great of mitigating ambient sound with whatever they're capturing from him and the way they do that is a lav. That, in terms of like being in a public space, that ambient noise is gonna be that ambient noise. You, honestly, if you were to record a video in a restaurant and have people in the background clearly talking and the only voice you can hear is the guy who's talking, that's creepy, right? It's like, what did you do to all those people? You know, like in what world does that happen, right? It's perception, we are all so used to being in a space and if you provide the context, i.e. in a restaurant, there is a lot of give and take there. Our viewers will allow that sort of audio quality because it's audio quality that we are all used to hearing. I remember reading from someone in the audience about recording live performance and recording like music performance or something to that effect and I think this is a really, really good opportunity for us to talk about that because there's several ways that you can record live performance that can leverage not just your knowledge but the knowledge of the people in the space, as well. But depending upon the level of access that you get, let's pretend it's like a high school concert or it's not like a major, major concert, you can really work with whomever is working on the sound board to get a really nice audio signal from them that's gonna capture the entire night, you know? We use this a lot at weddings, just give the recorder to the DJ and have him record everything, they record all the speeches, all that stuff and then that becomes your timeline, you can sync everything to. In the way of live performance, you know you're gonna need multiple mics, multiple recorders, right? And you're gonna wanna make sure you check your levels and all that kind of stuff but that's a really good opportunity for you to use software like PluralEyes, you know, where you can sync multiple clips from multiple cameras from multiple recorders all into one thing. If you just doing like two cameras and a recorder, you can do that so easily in Premiere Pro. I think practicing capturing sound extends beyond doing it for the interview because if we just listen to the room or like try to imagine walking down a city street and imagine what it sounds like, you know, that's a really good exercise, it's like, how would you capture the sound of rushing traffic or the sound of water, or how would you want specific things to sound like in terms of like a closing door and how would you measure that and how would you get that level and how would you record that? Doing those types of skills will really, really clue you in more than learning about it in my class or anywhere else because you'll learn that when you're in a room and you wanna capture ambient noise, you want to avoid omnidirectional mics, specially if you're gonna be, you're gonna do a person like Anthony Bourdain, right? That's gotta be a directional mic, because then it's not gonna receive as much ambient noise around it but if you want that ambient noise and you only have one mic, then you're gonna want an omnidirectional mic that receives noise from everywhere. So I've done concerts and when you're dealing with a lot of venues, if they already know you're coming to shoot, you can coordinate ahead of time, and then when you get there, you just go to the sound guy, the engineer's board, the front of house board, they'll have an extra set of left and right main out, you plug in all your recording in that, just let it go. Absolutely, and you just gotta pay attention to what kind of outputs you're using or inputs you're gonna be using, if they're balanced or unbalanced, you know, that stuff comes with time. Because how much of the stuff is like travel knowledge victor and how much of the stuff is actually like lists that you did and you kinda like read through. In the beginning, guys, I had notes everywhere. I would have like gaff tape on my camera that would say, white balance, I'd put a sticky over the record button that says, sound levels. I would leave reminders for myself because it's a lot to think about at one time, specially if you haven't done it a lot yet. It's okay to do that because, you know what, at the end of the day, if you look like a fool, that's okay cus you're gonna make a great project, okay. I'm fully okay with looking like an idiot, I do it all the time, everyday of my life. But it's given me a great opportunity to kind of like put my best foot forward, you know? And continually improve as a person who's doing something. I think to round this out, I do wanna just play some of the audio file so that you guys can hear, and it's not something we use in the edits. What you're looking at here is me in Premiere Pro with what I call the fully synced edit, so I laid in an audio track from the recorder and then I threw in, I synced the footage to that audio track and you could see here as I kind of trumped down with the timeline looks like that there's one audio track and you could see visually how we kinda took a break in the middle for like 10 or 20 minutes and then started up again. So we're just gonna listen to this part of the audio right here, just to kinda get a feel for what raw audio sounds like when it's coming off the camera. (background noise drowns out sound) Okay. (background noise drowns out sound) What's that? Yeah, so, right now what's happening is Ivan's the only one who's mic'ed, right, so, yup. Makeup (laughing) oh, shiny (laughing). Oh, shiny. So you could see just rich, right? It's very rich, it's got a lot of base in it and we're just gonna keep letting it play and you're gonna hear like, you could hear like me talking in the background and I'm all the way across the room but he's right here with his lav so everything he's saying, right, so to answer your question from earlier, it's like, how do you avoid all that ambient noise. Well, I have a directional mic. That directional mic captures only what's in front of it, as opposed to everything around me. So you can see here just there's so much, we get trapped into thinking that when we do an interview all of it's great, how much dead space we'll have here? You know, how much dead space? And then you look at something like here, like even now when he's answering a real question, You get trained, right? And it definitely changed it, I mean, I started getting guys that weren't looking for cage fighting. They were looking to do lifestyle martial arts. so you kinda just hear and that's the thing, I got a really, really decent, I captured some decent sound and that sound allows me to really kinda move forward into an edit and later on we'll crank it up and allow you to hear what the hiss and the crackling and the pop, and how you fix that. And I wanna push back a little bit and say it didn't take me like six years to learn sound, it didn't. It just took me a few times to get the hang of it, alright? And it's as easy as, just like understanding levels, just understanding levels, and understanding mic position. Just like how you understand intensity of light and light position. Think about a microphone in the same way you think of a light. The closer your light source is to your subject, the softer the light, right? Two things will soften light, making light source bigger, like making it bigger, or bring it closer. If you can make it bigger and bring it closer that's awesome, that's the best. But if you can do one or the other, that's great. It's the same thing with the microphone. You bring it close, okay, you bring it closer. And that's gonna increase the quality of the sound the you're capturing. I just do wanna stress here that we've taken you guys from planning, the scouting, to pre-production, to the interview aspect of it, to the camera set up, and we're kind of like driving this idea that all of this work happens even before we get to the shoot. How much of the shoot is this class that we talk about? Shoot's like that much, right? It's not just about the shoot, guys. And as we kind of like jump through this beginning to end sort of scenario, we're gonna start to realize that the shoot's this much, the production and pre-production aspect is like that much and then the editing is like that much, right? The shooting is easy, anyone will tell you that. Anyone will tell you that it's the easiest part of bringing a project to fruition, from start to finish. What do you guys think? Like is this something that you see in your daily lives? Is this something that you experience as you kind of go in to create content? I mean, I'm asking here in the audience, as well as on the web too. This is something that really, I think, as we go through this class, it becomes more apparent to everyone that everyone focuses on like the 10% of what's important in an entire production, and ignores the 90% of it that makes it great, you know? I think I'm kinda the same space that Ken is where I've got the hours and hours of the film already, it's what now? What do I do with all the footage that I've already collected and you can't really go back and fix the pre-production part but, going forward now, knowing what to plan ahead and then the editing portion, what to do with all of the awesome footage I already have. What kind of footage do you have? Travel stuff, podcasts, that kind of stuff, and then it's the overwhelming part is the editing portion, to me. Is now knowing what to do with what I've collected. I think a good tip for anyone who's collected a lot of footage, and a good tip for anyone who's kind of like got a lot of stuff in the cam but has never really edited it, is just to spend sometime and just let it play in the background while you're doing something, okay? Let it just play in the background. Find like an old computer, or find a way for it just to play so that you can refresh your memory as to what was shot. Just let it play in the background and while you're doing your normal day. And just let it play, if you've got hours of footage, that's the best way to review footage, in a organic way that doesn't involve you sitting in front of a computer scrubbing through footage. We do that after a shoot because we already know the shots. When you haven't seen something in a while, you gotta let it organically come to the surface. What you will find in doing this is you will find that by letting it just organically play throughout your day, throughout the course of the next few days, because you're the person, I presume, that recorded all of it at the same time or throughout the whole time, it's gonna jog your memory and you're gonna start to feel thematic elements that are gonna pop up. You know you're gonna see repetition, you're gonna start to see things that are similar across different clips and then you're gonna start to be able to kind of like piece those together. Keep a notepad by the screen, take a note, see what clip it is, the name and the time. And just take your note, just put it down, and every time you get to something, okay, take your note. And you may miss stuff, that's not the point. What you're gonna see is a lot of similarity because you're the person recording it all and you have a way of seeing the world, you're gonna actually be able to piece stuff together. Does it make sense? That makes perfect sense and I think that would've helped me with my other issue, is hating the sound of your own voice, that's kinda like an innate human thing and that's the other part of getting to the edit portion is I don't want to listen to myself so I think, maybe, putting it on, just getting used to that sound, being able to kind of ignore it would be really great, too. Yeah, and I think, in the process of editing this video for Ivan, I think I listened to the same statements easily 100 times. Over and over and over and then what's gonna happen as you listen to it over and over and over, something is gonna rise to the surface, and this happens all the time, something will rise to the surface and you're gonna be like oh my god, that's the statement I've been looking for and you move it to the right place in the edit and then it sings and it's like oh my god that's great, you know? So what you're doing here is you're, essentially, doing what we call reviewing dailies. You're taking the footage, you've ingested it, you're watching it, listening to it, annotating it, but you're just not doing it in a very traditional way. As you let it play, you can just listen to things and I think what you're gonna find is when I show you later how to trunk down statements, it's gonna be very, very cool for you to be able to go like, oh hey, well on this trip I said this, and this thing I said this, and this was over here, and then this shot was paired over here, you can begin to see a theme in your travels and a theme in what you're creating and then, slowly, that story's gonna crop up to the surface because maybe what you do in every trip, is you visit old fire houses and you never really knew that until you started doing it, right? Or you, on a trip, always manage to take pictures of red doors and didn't realize it until you saw it, right? So now you start to see this little theme, a thread line between what you do organically and then that's how you get to these great art projects that are one photo of one day of one thing, it's very deliberate. Again, immediacy, right? If we weren't so nose to the screen half the time we'd be able to kind of do other things like listen to our footage, listen to our own voice that we don't like, listen to all these other things that can take up time and space without needing our attention. Because our brains are always working actively as we are listening to things, we just don't realize it, you know? It's funny how you can review some footage, step away from it, three hours later get back to the same footage, and go, oh, I didn't hear that the first time. And that happens every edit, every edit. And that's another important thing, too, is you gotta take breaks, you know? You have to leave yourself some room to be inspired so that you can then approach the work that you just created in it with a different mind set, with a different fresh pair of eyes and a different set of ears, you know? I do have a question that came in about voiceover. So the question is, do you prepare a scripted voiceover prior to shooting and then edit to the voiceover or does it come in a different way? It depends. If you're being hired, or asked or commissioned to do, let's pretend it's a product video. So we're gonna do a product video on this remote. And the person who's commissioned me to do a product video on this remote, I would ask them to provide me a list of the key features. And then I would ask them to explain to me what this remote does, in their own words. And then I would create the script that would be able to describe this remote in a concise and meaningful way. And then I would shoot to that script. I would think of the shots necessary to achieve the message of that script. That's the most easy, plain, simple, straightforward way of doing it. If I'm being asked to create a profile piece of an organization. And that organization has multiple departments, and is expansive and broad and maybe I don't have time to ask them to give me what they want to say or whatever it is, I would go in, doing the research, and make the building or the space my subject. So finding the things in each department that could be illustrative, because I know that what's gonna drive these visuals is the overarching voice that's gonna carry it through. So they're gonna probably be talking about how many floors they have and how many departments and who works in what department and what each department does, right? So it becomes very top-down kind of explanation, you know? It's a very corporate, very type of sterile type of video that pushes forward a message. And those types of projects do, also, exist as well, you know? I think working from a script is always ideal. Sometimes you can't work from a script, so therefore you kinda have to shoot and then tailor the script to that. We don't ever want to be in that position but a lot of times we are.

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Cheryl Winkles

You're awesome, I learnt a lot from you, this is like a must-have first course for anyone who wants to step into video or filmmaking world. Highly recommended and thank you a million Victor Ha.

a Creativelive Student

Fantastic course, Victor is one of the finest instructors I have encountered. Great stuff, I would highly recommend this for anyone who wants to work in video

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