The Butcher or the Baker

Let’s start off with a children’s poem, shall we?

No… Of course not, what do you take me for? Jeez! Anyway, this is where we will dive into the post audio where you can either take the sound ingredients and make something delicious, or you can take a visual masterpiece and hack it to bits. See what I did there?

What you see and what you hear

In Part 9, we looked at the importance of capturing good audio for your video and making sure the room was as good as possible. The problem, though, is that it’s not always possible. In our interview setup, it was not a problem, so, again, let’s look at another example; and for this we’ll turn back to our old friend, Merkel Dergler.

This ad was shot out at a park in Lubbock, TX, where Hamil Bros Studios is based. The problem with shooting video, and audio, in Lubbock, is that it is almost always windy. Now, if you’ve ever shot outside with your camcorder at your 12-year-old’s football game and there was any wind at all, you know what that sounds like. It’s horrible and pretty much unlistenable.

So, give this a listen. This was the audio we captured on set.

That’s just horrible! I thought you guys were professionals! What about getting good sound on location?

Yeah, yeah… We know. But, we’re not normally dealing with hundreds of thousands of dollars in our budgets. But, we knew this going in. We knew that the audio was going to be virtually useless from the shoot. And, we were prepared for it.

ADR

We used ADR (or Automatic Dialog Replacement).

Guaranteed, most of what you hear in movies is ADR as far as dialog is concerned.

In this case, we had both actors come in and read their lines to be synced up with the commercial which resulted in this:

Much better, right? Right! But, there’s still much more to be done.

If you noticed, there was nothing else in the audio and it just sounded awkward, weird, and just plain sterile.

So, what’s missing? Well, let’s add some more and see if you notice it.

Starting to sound more natural. What we added here was mostly foley, or the sounds the characters generated.

Still not quite there though, so let’s do some more.

Almost There

Now, we’re really getting somewhere. What did you notice different this time?

It was subtle, but, we added in ambient sounds. If you step outside and just listen, what do you hear? Wind, trees, distant traffic, etc. Our brains are so used to hearing these things that, when they’re not there, we know something’s missing even if we’re not consciously aware of what it is.

The final step, here, is adding music. For this ad, we had it easy. We’ve been using the same music for Merkel since the beginning. However, we didn’t just throw in the first music we found, Jacob searched until he found something that we really felt fit Merkel’s entire existence: goofy and clueless.

Now, listen to the whole thing again:

It all makes sense and works together to really suck you into the whole experience.

Now, there’s a lot more to doing audio than just what we’ve skated over here, but, it get’s really technical really fast. You have placing, fixing, mixing, and polishing. That’s probably all you need or want to know. Just know that every single piece of audio that ends up in a Hamil Bros Studios video has gone through some kind of processing and/or tweaking.

You can check out last week’s post here, and next week’s here, available 02/13/17

If, at any point, you have any questions, please email us at info@hamilbrosstudios.com or you can find us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Hamil Bros Studios is a high quality video production company based in Lubbock, TX. Their work spreads throughout West Texas, Eastern New Mexico, and beyond.

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