audio_work

Hi there.

While redesigning and updating my website, I decided to introduce this blog section. At this time its main purpose will be to repost and collate articles (news, tutorials and so on) I find of interest, to act as a sort of bookmark archive that’s easy to search. I’ll also add my own tips where appropriate, and perhaps very rarely some personal updates on projects I’m working on.

At the moment my editing work is done in Premiere Pro and the Adobe suite, so the majority of articles will probably revolve around them. However I do use Final Cut Pro X from time to time on personal projects, and have recently installed Avid’s new Media Composer | First with the intention of learning it. So articles regarding those programs might also pop up.

Please feel free to post questions and comments, or to follow the blog if you find it useful.

Cheers!

30-band equalizer

I’ve met a number of video editors who neglect the audio effects because they don’t know what they do. Or maybe they have dodgy audio they’d like to fix but aren’t sure how to go about it. I always point them towards this article from VashiVisuals, and it’s one I keep coming back to time and time again for its handy tips. It features a number of fixes for common problems using two audio tools every professional NLE has included as standard; the 30-band equalizer (or EQ) and a Parametric EQ.

All the tips are fantastic, but the one I use most often describes how to use a Parametric EQ to make a “hole” in the music track to allow vocal audio to come through clearer. Writes Vashi:

Once music or score is added to the edit, the dialog can get lost in the mix as they both occupy the same sonic space. The first step an amateur takes is to boost the volume of the dialog. Just make it louder right? This is a recipe for disaster as your mix will eventually get out of control and enter into an escalating volume war. Before you boost something…consider cutting something else first. This maxim applies to all EQ philosophies; it is the push and pull of audio mixing. Learn it and live it! So instead of raising the dialog…cut into the music and make a hole for the dialog to live in. Use the Parametric EQ at 1250hz with -18db and Q=4. This cuts the music frequencies that are in the heart of the human voice range. Notching out and lowering is a much more elegant solution than boosting and avoids the volume Armageddon.

This is a great tip that can really help the vocals cut through your overall mix. I’ve found -18dB to be a little extreme though. Even -4dB or -8dB can be enough to give you the room your vocals need.

This tip works well for a video where you have many different speakers covering a large portion of the audio frequency spectrum, but let’s say your video has vocals from just one person who has either a very deep or very bright voice. The hole you create at 1250hz may be ineffective, as it’s not creating space at the correct frequency for your vocals. All you’re doing is losing some of your music’s frequencies without helping your vocals to cut through. To fix this, place an effect on the vocals which allows you to monitor the frequency range during playback (like the Multiband Compressor or Mastering effects within Premiere Pro). As the audio plays you will be able to see what frequency range your specific vocals cover. You can then substitute the 1250hz value with the midpoint value of your speaker, thus giving you a more targeted hole in the music.

For other tips, including how to save distant and dull audio or make your vocals sound better, check out the full article over at Vashi’s blog.

By this stage of the year, calling what we are experiencing in 2020 ‘strange times’ is beyond cliche, but that doesn’t make it any less true. It’s been the oddest of years and as such it’s given us the opportunity to pause a little, have a look around and take stock.

A couple of obvious questions that have popped up are where is the video production industry going, and where does Stanley & Morph fit within that?

I mean, who knows? Haha. If this year has taught us anything it’s that nobody knows anything!

Having said that, our industry, like most, is at the mercy of where technology leads us and on that front the last couple of years have seen some truly exciting developments that are pointing the way to where the future of video production may be headed – there’s a couple in particular we are really excited about.

ROBOTICS

Robotics, or more specifically referred to as Motion Control has been an integral component of big budget CGI led cinema for the last 15 years. However, more recently this technology is becoming more accessible to smaller budgets and as such is being used to great effect in all manner of video production all over the world including right here in Melbourne.

One of the pioneers of this technology in its relation to high end marketing videos is a fellow named Steve Giralt who hails from New York, USA. Steve calls himself a photographer, videographer and (our favourite) visual engineer. He’s been behind huge campaigns for a bunch of ‘table top’ products; all manner of food, drinks and make up. What makes Steve’s video production techniques so innovative is the use of robotics to capture his incredible images. Often, he and his team will use multiple robots, one controlling the camera, while two or three others control the elements in the shot, whether it be a glass that has to be slid into a perfect position while another robot arm might control a vessel that is to pour liquid into that glass at just the right angle – the use of robotics allows the team to control every single element to the nth degree.

This motion control, paired with a super high speed camera shooting at 1000 frames per second gives Steve and team the capacity to create insanely intricate, perfectly timed, highly dynamic video with very high production value. It’s awe inspiring stuff.

With this same technology now available here in Melbourne, we look forward to being able to create similar high end content for our own clients.

See Giralt in action the video below:

AUGMENTED REALITY

Augmented Reality is Virtual Reality’s less flighty, more solid cousin. As the name suggests it looks to augment reality rather than build it from scratch. And while so far its most popular iterations have been in gaming and entertainment (who can forget the hysteria caused by Pokemon Go a couple of years back) more recently it’s being used in other fields. AR is being used in marketing, education, retail and to great effect in training and education.

AR can be far more accessible to a potential audience as it can utilise the tech we already carry in our pockets; our phones, rather than having to wear a full headset. Research shows that a twice as much of the new work in AR is in industrial applications as opposed to consumer products and software, so there is no doubt that this form of video production and animation is an exciting, growing sector. It’s set to be a huge player in the next decade as more and more people embrace it and we as an industry fine-tune its powers.

All this gives us plenty to look forward to in regards to the future – there’s no doubt that there’ll be some exciting times ahead and Stanley & Morph will be at the forefront of the tech creating tasty videos and compelling content for many years to come!