There is a wide range of sounds on a daily basis, and our ears are best able to help us cope with it. Audio systems aren’t the same. If the signals are too large, it becomes distorted because the system is overloaded. If sound is weak, background noise will overrun it. To make the audio clear it must be in the limits of the system. With normal or average sounds the range can be simple to record, but with wide ranges, more work is needed. In this situation the levels of audio will need control.
Microphones Audio Auto Control
Gain control that is automatic and is capable of keeping loud sounds from distorting. When it is automated fully, all sounds that come in go to a level that is preset. This helps to keep the sound level and prevents under- or over-amplification. It increases the quiet sounds while loud ones are toned down. Adjustments can’t be made and results have to be accepted. It can be effective, but if there are extremes occurring regularly, it creates a poor sound.
Microphones Controlled Manually
Continual monitoring of the program and observing the audio-meter level is another option. Here a person must watch the amplification and make needed changes. It is a careful process, where the gain is gently increased in anticipation of weak sounds and held back for loud sounds. This is a fine process and needs a steady hand. It is most commonly done with a bar graph visual display; there are bar graphs that are twin used to monitor the audio. When in the red, the sound is generally distorted. There are two scales: a percentage modulation and a volume unit are used.
Generally speaking, the automatic audio is best for those who have large variations in sound, or need it to be taken care of. When working with sound that is very unpredictable, the manual is better.
Microphones Audio Monitoring
Visual: check indicator of volume by watching the monitor so it’s not seen
Audio: sound quality checks with quality earphones and loudspeakers to keep background noise at bay.
Adjust sound during rehearsals, or ask talent to speak a few lines and make adjustments. Don’t ask for typical ”testing” phrases; instead, have them speak normally. Asking the talent to adjust speech may be necessary, or moving the mic.
Mixers for Audio
If there are a few sources of sound, you’ll need a mixer for blending. A recorder is fed the output. Mixers will have sliders and knobs to adjust. These are faders and pots and have the ability to turn audio on full or to fade it out. There are also instances where a mute button can be used. There may be faders in groups and more than one channel. There is also a master fader that will control audio overall. The large mixers allow personnel the chance to privately listen and make adjustments.
Audio Mixer Use
Audio engineers divide their attention between:
- Audio source output control and selection
- Adjustment of Channel Faders to keep volume within limits
- Staying atop picture and audio program with director intercom
- Audio quality checks
- Video monitor checks
- Mic boom cues and guiding
- Team member coop
- Audio equipment operation
Procedures depend on:
- Live recordings
- When sound sources are cued
- Whether talent is prepped
Sound That is Natural
Most productions are a group of shots in convenient order. Complications can arise. When edited, volume and quality must match so everything sounds right. The background noise can be complex, but easily disappears to someone hearing it on a consistent basis.
It can be difficult, but there are ways to anticipate audio challenges.
- Read the script
- Check prerecorded inserts
- Check equipment
- Check all mics
- Have a microphone backup
- Make sure cable is long enough
Anticipate Your Editing
Considering what you might need in editing can help.
- Continuation: quality assurance can happen through scene matching
- Atmosphere/natural sounds: having general sound available is often good for post-production
- Be ready for questions: make sure both the interviewer and interviewee have appropriate mics
An equalizer is the more flexible filter and can smooth out segments. Audio filters can be adjusted for sound quality.
- Bass cut low for rumble reduction, clarity of speech and background noise reduction
- High-notes cut low for reduction of popping, hissing and other noise
- Cutting these can create an open sound
- Increased bass can cause impressions of grandeur
- Can create a similar sound between different recordings
Account for Reverberation
Remember to take into account the size of the room, any furnishings and other components that will account for sound absorption, as well as reverberation. Taking stock of this beforehand can help to reduce your editing time and increase the sound quality.
The score of a show of film is a critical part of the audio and lends a feeling of being packaged. This may include music, sound effects, and inserted background noise to add a level of reality.
Program Sound Types
Those in charge of sound may work with live sound or prerecorded sounds. Some of these can include:
Sounds that are special effects
- Music in background
- Environmental sounds
- Voices off camera
- Direct dialogue
Most programs have music that helps to identify it. The other general purpose of a show’s music is to add a sense of environment: to imitate, to associate, or to add atmosphere.
Sweetening & Copyright
Working on sound post production is termed ”audio sweetening.“ It can include enhancement, corrections, and added material. In addition, sweetening may mean editing for continuity, bridging, additional effects, or dub-overs.
If material created by someone else is used, a copyright fee will need to be paid. Laws governing copyrights are extensive and varied. Be sure to carefully check source of any material that is not made in studio or gathered from public domain for use.