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Blog Posts (8)
- Creating a powerful magic spell sound effect
Following Randy Thom's instructions. Hey there,I’d like to talk to you about 2 things - Power and magic in films and video games. I came across an interesting question in the sound design group on FB: So what’s interesting here is that Randy Thom replied. Randy Thom is the director of Sound design at Skywalker Sound. Skywalker Sound is one of the leading audio post production studios in the world. Randy thom has started his career working on ‘Apocalypse Now’ and ‘Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi’, which is pretty amazing, and later worked on blockbusters like ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom’, ‘Cast Away’, ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’, and lots of other hollywood movies we’ve all seen. So, you can be sure he really knows what he is talking about. I’m not a millennial, and I didn’t reach my 30’s either, but I really think it is mind blowing that you can just post a question and someone at the level of Randy Thom replies and gives you advice on how you can improve your work. So let’s read his answer: So what we are going to do is to try and create a sound of a powerful magic spell, following Randy’s instructions. The first thing would be to create the sound of a big transformer hum. I started by recording my guitar amp, and just by touching the PL plug with my finger, it gave me this nice buzz sound that I can use as a basic layer for my transformer hum sound. I used an Orange amp and a Rode Ntg4+ mic, but you can really use any amp and mic you want. Then I duplicated the sound, and by layering it and changing the layers Eq , and adding Distortion, and Reverb, I managed to have a more full and rich sound. It was quite good but I was missing the sound of electricity sparkles, like a big transformer would have (I guess). So I used Massive for that. But this still wasn’t electrical enough. So I researched online and found that you can also make the sound of electricity with a duct tape. I didn’t really know what to do with it so I started using tools that I would usually use to make a sound more electrical like ‘Voice Designer’ and ‘Distroyer’, Which are Nuendo Plugins. Then, I used a high pass filter and a very high notch to make the highs stand out. This is the result: Now, it sounds like a nice electrical hum. When Randy talked about power, he mentioned Thunder rumble, to add a feeling of power in the sound. I could just go into my soundly application, write “Thunder” and just drag it into my session but I wanted something original I didn’t want to waste precious time trying to create a thunder rumble sound from scratch or waiting for the next thunderstorm to record it, so I just tried to use what I’ve just recorded to create a low rumble sound. I took the duct tape recording, changed its algorithm, and stretched it drastically. And that was it. I had a nice low rumble that I can use as an additional layer. Let’s continue to the next part, the magical sound. Randy suggested using a glass wind chime sound. I searched online for this and I wasn’t really able to find this specific item easily and quickly, so I decided to use synthesis instead. Nuendo and cubase have this amazing media searching tool where you can just write a term and it will give you all the relevant presets of different instruments and samples that are related to your search tags. So I searched for wind bells and found two presets that was quite good for a magical sound layer: There was still something missing. I needed that power filling that an Impact could give me. So I went to my library of impact sounds that I created for Artlist.io (Link in the description), and added 2 impacts sounds. Check out my Impact Library at Artlist.io With those two additional layers, it suddenly had the right feel, the sound I wanted all along. So let’s play all the layers together: Conclusion: Using your imagination is always useful when trying to create a new sound from scratch. Try using regular items and tools that you have around the house, record them and test different plugins you've never used before. Using DAW plugins can be an excellent way of getting familiar with new plugin effects you've never used before. remember, you don't need expensive high end equipment to create some really cool and interesting sounds. You just need a basic equipment (I used my Rode NTG4+, which costs around 370$), imagination, and lots of trial and error till you get the right sound.
- Quick audio noise removal guide for video editors
Our industry is a psychotic technology marathon where video editors must be multidisciplinary and know how to do far beyond their primary occupation. Clients today often expect video editors to have basic sound editing skills in a world where everyone has a simple microphone in their pocket and hundreds of cheap recording devices available for purchase online; you will often need to use technology to reduce recording noise and enhance poorly recorded dialogue. Luckily, there are quite a few tools on the market that can help you improve the sound of the project you're working on. How does It work? In general, noise reduction tools work in such a way that they "learn" the noise: at this stage, you should select a piece of audio without dialogue, just background noise, so that the algorithm can sample it. Then start playing with the parameters while listening carefully - the more noise you reduce, the more the dialogue will be affected accordingly. Be careful not to exaggerate! If you get to the point where the noise is completely removed, your dialogue will likely sound dull and strange. Because the human ear is very sensitive to the human voice, noise reduction is about finding the delicate balance between removing the noise and maintaining a clear and natural dialogue. Tip - always do A/B testing: once you finish cleaning the noise, switch between the original sound and the processed sound a few times to maintain perspective. I always prefer a bright-noisy dialogue to a muffled-quiet one. Premier Premier has a nice in-the-box set of tools for audio repairing. Make sure your clip is selected, go to the ‘Audio’ tab, and choose ‘Dialogue’ under ‘Essential Sound’ (right side of your screen). You can find a deep explanation about this in the manual and also here. We will focus on the ‘Repair’ and ‘Clarity’ tabs: Repair Reduce noise - Obviously, this determines how much noise will be reduced. Keep the dialogue's clarity in mind! Reduce Rumble - Can help you get rid of low-frequency rumbles (from a distant train or low wind noise, for example). DeHum -Reduce noises from electrical interference of a single frequency in the 50-60Hz range. DeEss - Very helpful! Cheap recording gear can sometimes produce a high frequency, very annoying noise called ‘Ess,’ which is an excessive prominence of sibilant consonants. Reduce Reverb - Use it when dealing with dialogue recorded in a big hall or an empty room, where the echo is noticeable and exaggerated. Clarity Dynamics - This is a compressor. It will enhance the overall level of the clip. You can use it if the volume level is too low. Keep in mind that a compressor function is to reduce the dynamic range, meaning that it will probably increase the noise level compared to the speech (That’s why you should record at a ‘healthy’ level - not too low, not too high). EQ - To increase the dialogue's clearance, choose ‘Vocal Presence’ from the dropdown menu and start increasing it. Don’t over-process it, or it will sound small and thin. Enhance Speech - You can choose the type of voice (Male or Female), and the algorithm will enhance the correct frequencies. Audition If you have Audition installed, you can use its advanced Noise Reduction tool to reduce background noises. We mentioned the need to "sample" the noise so the algorithm will know what exactly to reduce: Left-click on the audio clip and click ‘Edit clip in adobe Audition.’ Once Audition opens, select a part with no dialogue in it. Go to ‘Effects>Noise Reduction/Restoration>Capture Noise Print’ (Shortcut: Shift + P). Now, click anywhere on the timeline, then go back up to ‘Effects>NoiseReduction/Restoration, and hit Noise Reduction(process)’ (Shortcut: Shift + Command/Control + P). The Noise reduction effect will open up. Start playing with the ‘Noise reduction’ and ‘Reduce by’ parameters and listen to the sound changes. Be careful not to over-process it! Once you think the sound is good enough, click ‘Apply’ and then press Command+S to bring the clip back to the Premiere timeline. Advanced options: I won’t go into an in-depth and detailed explanation about this here, but you could achieve a better result by exploring two things: 1) The ‘Advanced’ tab (in the Noise Reduction effect window) 2) Clicking on the ‘Spectral Frequencies Display’ (Shift+D) will open a display where you can select different parts of the sound, repair and eliminate noisy elements if necessary. Audacity You’ll first need to have Audacity installed on your computer. You can download it for free from here. Once installed and opened, import your clip into Audacity. Then, find a part in the clip that doesn’t feature any dialogue and select it, where you can hear only the background noise. The algorithm will learn the noise pattern and then know what frequencies to decrease in your audio clip. Go to Effect >> Noise Reduction... Click on “Get Noise Profile”: Click Command (Control for PC users) + 'A' to select the whole clip, and re-open ‘Noise Reduction. First click ‘Preview’ with the given parameters. ‘Preview’ will play the audio file with the noise reduction effect but won’t apply it yet. Listen to it, and decide what to do next. If there is still a significant amount of noise, start tweaking the parameters under Step 2. My suggestion is to change ‘Noise reduction (dB)’ - this number signifies the amount of reduction that will take effect, and ‘Sensitivity’ - Controls how much of the audio will be considered noise. Once you’re satisfied, click ‘OK,’ and the noise reduction effect will be applied to your audio file. Finally, export the file to your computer (File>Export>Export as WAV/Mp3). Mask the noisy audio with music Sometimes, the only way to reduce the damage is to mask the audio issues with a background track from music libraries like Premium Beat, Artlist, Audio-Jungle, etc. Try to do as much as you can with the noise reduction tools available to you, and then add a background track. Use volume automation to make the dialogue stand out when needed, and most importantly - Use your ears! You can even get more creative and try to use sound effects to mask specific noises. For example, if you have to deal with dialogue from a busy street, and suddenly someone is shouting in the background, you can add a honk sample to mask the shout. Find tones of free professional sound effects here. Hire a sound editor Sometimes you’ll find out that it is not that easy to remove noise without destroying the dialogue. If you have the budget, it’s worth outsourcing the work to a professional sound editor who can make a chirurgical removal of all the little sounds that make the dialogue noisy and use the advanced tools that are available for sound editors, like Izotope RX, for example. We sound editors also use EQ, Compression, and volume automation with advanced accuracy that allows us to be extremely precise when cleaning and editing dialogue. Contact us for more information. Buy an advanced noise reduction plugin. If you can invest some money and use more advanced tools, there are easy-to-use plugins for premiere pro like SoundSoap 5 and Accusonus ERA that can make your life easier.
- [Video Content] 4 ways to make your mixes sound better
I was asked to work on an interesting project that required a lot of sound design and Foley work, so i couldn't help myself from screen recording the entire workflow, and sharing my views and ideas. Here are a few tips that will enhance realism and speed up the workflow in your post production sound design and mixing: 1) Use reverb for bigger, majestic and god-like VO Depending on the style of the video and voice over, sometimes you'll need to make it sound HUGE, like god is speaking from the heavens. I used Valhalla room reverb to achieve that sound: 2) Use playlists for foley recordings: When doing Foley recordings you'll want to use Playlist Comping Features - a relatively new Pro Tools feature that allows you to easily record, choose best takes and edit them. Use those shortcuts to speed up your workflow: Step through Playlists - Shift+Up/Down Arrow Show Target Playlist - Shift+Right Arrow Toggle current/previous playlist - Shift+Left Arrow Copy to Target Playlist - Option+Shift+Up Arrow or Control/Start+Option/Alt+V Move to Target Playlist - Option/Alt+Shift+T 3) Telephone Effect Combine Drive and Eq in your process to receive a more realistic phone effect when dealing with phone conversations: 4) Layering Use lots of layers to create realistic and powerful sounds that will bring the picture to life: Watch the full session:
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