2 Pages V   1 2 >  
Reply to this topicStart new topic
Voice Recording
 
tkd27
post Apr 29 2009, 12:02 AM
Post #1


Master Director
Group Icon

Group: Pioneers
Posts: 780
Joined: 21-May 08
Member No.: 1,984



Question for anyone who may have an answer: I use audacity to record my dialogue and end up with a lot of pops and hisses in my recordings. I had assumed it was my mic (although it's otherwise nice quality and wasn't a real cheap mic either), but then I read act3scene24's interview on TMU and he said that he switched to GarageBand for recording for the same reasons.

So - is audacity the reason for my sound woes? And if so, sadly I'm on a PC, so no GarageBand for me. What can I use that will do the same thing?
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Overman
post Apr 29 2009, 1:13 AM
Post #2


Master Director
Group Icon

Group: Pioneers
Posts: 562
Joined: 20-October 06
Member No.: 19



You should be able to get a clean recording with Audacity. Could you send me a sample recording so I can hear the kind of pops and hisses you're talking about? (Pops and hisses can have many sources / manifestations). This is my "field" so to speak, I'd be happy to help.

I'll PM you with my email address, and then I'll reply back here with my findings if that works for you.


--------------------
Phil "Overman" Rice
Zarathustra Studios - http://z-studios.com
You can connect with us On Twitter, On Facebook, On YouTube, and On Vimeo.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
grouchobeer
post Apr 29 2009, 4:59 AM
Post #3


Master Director
Group Icon

Group: Pioneers
Posts: 322
Joined: 28-March 07
Member No.: 264



Audacity sucks. Buy a Mac.


--------------------
NOW PLAYING: SUGAR BABES, Episode 7: "The Old-Fashioned Way Is Still Best"
http://www.moviestorm.co.uk/community/inde...p;vid_id=102176
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Poulet Noir
post Apr 29 2009, 5:37 AM
Post #4


Master Director
Group Icon

Group: Pioneers
Posts: 1,076
Joined: 25-September 08
Member No.: 2,759



I use Audacity, and I get a lot of noise / hiss, and occasional pop.

I'm pretty sure it's a combination of the cruddy microphone and the location of the PC.

However, I find the noise reduction routines work well, especially when followed up by the silencer for those difficult-to-shift 'stains'.


PN


--------------------
"Come back Black Chicken! Leave us an egg or something..." Love at First Bite


Bat avatar used by kind permission of Jon Huckeby. Check out his blog!
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
neut
post Apr 29 2009, 8:57 AM
Post #5


Master Director
Group Icon

Group: Pioneers
Posts: 344
Joined: 1-May 07
Member No.: 378



What type of mic are you using i.e USB, Dynamic, Condensor etc

I find Audacity a bit noisy at times, could be your soundcard, what type are you using?
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
mellowhardy
post Apr 29 2009, 10:16 AM
Post #6


Critically acclaimed
Group Icon

Group: Pioneers
Posts: 169
Joined: 2-February 09
Member No.: 4,123



Make sure you've got a good condenser microphone. Then put a 'screen' in front of it. It's like a mesh and they cost very little. No more pops.


--------------------
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
RUN415
post Apr 29 2009, 2:02 PM
Post #7


Master Director


Group: Members
Posts: 259
Joined: 14-October 08
Member No.: 2,894



========
Hi

Basically, a good mic, stand, sound card and leads should not be under-estimated.
(A good audio editing app won't go astray either.)
But there are ways around it...

=======================
= CLICKS
Very irritating - MUST be eradicated at all costs.
These are usually sound card related - change settings or try another card (or mic?) to isolate the problem.
Also, make sure you're recording with plenty of head room - clipping will give you clicks!

= POPS
Speaking further away from the mic should avoid POPS.
[But this may introduce problems with VOLUME - see NOISE below.]

Use a mic stand. Pretty obvious I know...
but a sturdy stand is essential to judge your input volume and avoid BUMPS etc.

Use a pop filter/screen...which sits between your mouth and the mic to help dissipate air.
(These are meant to curb those pesky 'blown' syllables starting with 'p' and 'b' etc.)
You can make a cheap screen from a steel coathanger and some pantyhose.
(The pantyhose can be used or unused - depending on where you get them from?
I also suggest avoiding the crotch area unless you're into that sort of thing ; )
Er...maybe you'd be better off buying one...as MELLOWHARDY suggests.

= NOISE + HUM
To get your mic active/working (especially cheap ones) you'll probably need to
crank your mic input close to the max - hello loads of horrible noise!!!???
You can 'noise reduce' this out but it's a pain and does affect the sound.
A good way around this, so you can hang back from the mic and avoid POPS,
is to use a pre-amp (and/or buy a more sensitive/expensive mic : )

The idea of a pre-amp is to boost your mic signal so you can drastically REDUCE
the mic input volume on your PC - and thus reduce the noise + hum caused by it?
You could even, in theory, avoid that (hideous) MIC input altogether and use another less sensitive input?
An old 4 track or small mixing desk (with hot mic inputs) or even an amp/EQ could serve as a handy pre-amp.

= REVERB
REVERB can add body and ambience to your sound.
Some sound cards have onboard reverb but you've gotta assign it + set it up.
(Use with caution tho...it's most often better to add it in post...on a copy of your VO track.)
The trick with reverb is to use it sparingly.
Set it up so you can JUST hear its effect...with a very short echo or delay.
If you can easily hear the echo (in situ) then you've probably gone too far?
Also, think of where the character is going to be speaking and the nature of the conversation.
Are they just in a small room...in a long corridor or hall...or are they outside?
Obviously, you can vary the reverb to suit the situation.
A smidge of reverb in the right place will really enhance your recordings.

= EQ
You can pick up a cheap second hand EQ for under 20 buks these days. (Try Cash Converters?)
Chances are you might even have one laying around?
You may need some leads/adapters but why not run your mic thru it?
You could, with a li'l practice...
1) Reduce POPS by cutting the lower frequencies.
2) Reduce NOISE (or HISS) by cutting the higher frequencies
3) Increase general VOLUME - pre-amp! (some EQ's have a handy boost)
4) Do a 'comb' or cut lotsa frequencies to alter your voice for different characters. (Haven't tried it...should work tho? ; )

=================
So, that's my 2 cents worth - hope it helps.
I admit I'm no expert...and a good mic has been on my 'TO BUY' list for about 15 years : )
But I have recorded a lot of stuff (mainly cranked guitar : ) with low end equipment...
...and achieved quite reasonable results.
Basically, if you have crappy stuff, the main thing to use is your BRAIN! : )
=================


--------------------
F I L M S C O R E
GOOD MOVIE MUSIC
And there was much rejoicing...
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Overman
post Apr 29 2009, 2:04 PM
Post #8


Master Director
Group Icon

Group: Pioneers
Posts: 562
Joined: 20-October 06
Member No.: 19



tkd27 sent me an example of the problem he was having, and I sent along my advice via email. He's given me the okay to reprint it here, so here you go:

- - - - - - -
Okay, some good news: you don't need another audio software [or a Mac, lol]. Audacity isn't causing what you're hearing in the example below.

I heard the popping sounds you mentioned around 1:35, and in a few places earlier than that were some milder versions of the same thing. What is happening is: wind is hitting the diaphragm of your microphone, overloading it temporarily and causing a pop. The wind in this instance is coming from your mouth, but if you were recording outside, regular "wind" can do this to a microphone too.

There are some syllables which tend to create bursts of wind (air flow) more than others; these are often referred to as "plosives." Put a hand about two inches in front of your mouth, and make a "P" sound. Or a strong "B". Generally, sounds which involve putting the lips together, and then opening them while release air pressure, these are your plosives. (Notice that "M", "L", and even "F" aren't nearly as windy, using that same test.)

Basically, if air flow of even small direct force strikes the diaphragm of a sensitive microphone (sensitive = good, in general), then it's going to create a pop or a distortion of some kind... one that is terribly difficult to remove from the recording after the fact. So you want to avoid this air flow hitting the mic at all costs.

There are a few solutions. The easiest and most practical is to simply adjust the placement of your microphone when doing voiceovers. Instinct is to put the mic right in front of your mouth when speaking, and this is when those problems arise. Try placing the microphone even with the tip of your nose, pointing straight at your face. Unless you have a massively deep voice, you'll be like most people in that your whole face cavity is actually a resonance chamber which amplifies your voice, so this will often pick up the same or very similar sounds to what you'd get pointing the mic at your mouth... except you're out of the air stream so there should be no pops. If you find that your recording sounds a little muffled ("S" emits high frequencies, and makes a good tester for this), then keep the mic at that same elevation, but angle it down a bit toward your mouth. Play with the mic position a bit until you find something comfortable but out of your vocal air stream, and you'll be in great shape.

Another solution is to buy (or make) a windscreen. Essentially, this is a piece of nylon (think panty hose) stretched over a circle or square shape, which you can hang in the air between yourself and your microphone. This windscreen will stop most of the air flow with little to no impact on sound quality... but even with a windscreen you probably want to avoid putting the microphone directly in the airflow path as a strong plosive can overpower even the best windscreen. (I said "make" because I've seen people make windscreens out of pantyhose and a coat hanger, if you're so inclined... or you can buy one from most any music retailer that sells microphones).

There are also windscreens that are like a foam cap you put on the top of your microphone. These are useful for outdoor situations because the wind is coming from multiple directions, but I don't recommend them for indoor voiceover because their impact on high frequencies (loss) is noticeable.

You mentioned a hissing; I didn't notice any in the movie example you gave me, music would obscure most of that anyway. But in general, hiss is caused by one of the following: 1) Noise in the room (air conditioner, computer fan, etc.), 2) Lower grade microphones, 3) Bad connection somewhere between the mic and the PC, and 4) Recording at too low a level (this is rarely an issue when recording to digital). Hiss is much easier to remove afterward, though if you can eliminate hiss in your original recording you'll always be in better shape than scraping away part of your recording after the fact.

Anyway, I hope these tips help.


--------------------
Phil "Overman" Rice
Zarathustra Studios - http://z-studios.com
You can connect with us On Twitter, On Facebook, On YouTube, and On Vimeo.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
act3scene24
post Apr 29 2009, 5:43 PM
Post #9


Master Director
Group Icon

Group: Pioneers
Posts: 857
Joined: 30-November 08
Member No.: 3,302



My problem was, I was at the point where I sat 3 to 4 feet away from my mic with my head turned to the left to do a louder voice. I couldn't raise my voice very much at all without pops happening even at that distance. Even then, because I was that far from the mic, the echos from the room were noticeable.


--------------------

Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Overman
post Apr 29 2009, 5:58 PM
Post #10


Master Director
Group Icon

Group: Pioneers
Posts: 562
Joined: 20-October 06
Member No.: 19



(act3scene24)
My problem was, I was at the point where I sat 3 to 4 feet away from my mic with my head turned to the left to do a louder voice. I couldn't raise my voice very much at all without pops happening even at that distance. Even then, because I was that far from the mic, the echos from the room were noticeable.


Sounds like you've got a very very sensitive microphone. OR you're a really windy person. wink.gif

Seriously, though, the kind of pops tkd27 was experiencing are solely about air flow hitting the sensitive part of the mic. There are other kinds of distortion that can come across as pops, however. In your case, Jorge, if they seem to increase proportional to your speaking volume, then I'd suspect that's something else... perhaps distortion from the mic input levels being too hot? If you want to, send me a sample and I'll confirm / assist. Like you said, when you get 3-4 feet away from the mic, it's recording as much of the room reverb as it is your direct voice; that should be fixable once we confirm what's happening.


--------------------
Phil "Overman" Rice
Zarathustra Studios - http://z-studios.com
You can connect with us On Twitter, On Facebook, On YouTube, and On Vimeo.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
iceaxe
post Apr 29 2009, 7:21 PM
Post #11


Master Director
Group Icon

Group: Pioneers
Posts: 1,193
Joined: 6-March 08
Member No.: 1,592



Overman, what an amazing post! There is some great advice in here.

I don't really know too much about recording sound, but I do think that poor sound quality is the one thing that can let great machinima down, and for some reason sound quality seems to be overlooked by many machinimators when making movies. Perhaps we think of machinima as a purely visual medium? We put so much effort into getting the right look that maybe getting the sound right is just a detail that can be overlooked.

As I said, I'm not an expert in this field, but I heartily recommend the Zoom H2 for recording audio. It is a decent condenser mic which records directly onto an SD card. Just whip it out and hit record!

I used this for all the audio in Clockwork with the exception of the narrator who was working remotely. The problems I had with the sound quality from his files mean that I'll only ever use a remote VO recording if I'm sure they can give me recordings with no pops or hiss.

I use Audacity and Cubase for editing sound. The noise removal filter in Audacity is handy, and I did use it for the narrator, but it does introduce an annoying buzz...

Anyhoo, my two bits worth.


--------------------
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
RUN415
post Apr 29 2009, 10:55 PM
Post #12


Master Director


Group: Members
Posts: 259
Joined: 14-October 08
Member No.: 2,894



=============================================
Yep, that's some good advice from Overman about mic placement.

(act3scene24)
My problem was, I was at the point where I sat 3 to 4 feet away from my mic with my head turned to the left to do a louder voice. I couldn't raise my voice very much at all without pops happening even at that distance. Even then, because I was that far from the mic, the echos from the room were noticeable.


That's incredible Act3, that you were getting pops at that distance.
What a voice! : ) (Good mic too...I assume.)
Also, I seem to recall you were getting some reasonably bad clicks a while ago.
A problem you have since resolved - did you end up isolating the cause?
It's just that I'm curious and it may help others out?
Do tell!



--------------------
F I L M S C O R E
GOOD MOVIE MUSIC
And there was much rejoicing...
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
mellowhardy
post Apr 29 2009, 10:56 PM
Post #13


Critically acclaimed
Group Icon

Group: Pioneers
Posts: 169
Joined: 2-February 09
Member No.: 4,123



Good microphone technique also helps. Professional V.O. artists don't leave it all to the engineer. They know how to 'swallow' their p's and c's. And they avoid lip smacking. Varying the distance from the mike also helps with perspective.


--------------------
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
tkd27
post Apr 29 2009, 11:51 PM
Post #14


Master Director
Group Icon

Group: Pioneers
Posts: 780
Joined: 21-May 08
Member No.: 1,984



Thanks to everyone who helped out - now that understand the problem I know it's just a matter of finding the right solution.

Overman and RUN415 - much awesome information there! Thanks smile.gif

FWIW - my mic is a standard VOIP mic - it wasn't the cheapest, but not at all high end either. I have no problems with my sound quality other than the pops, so I'm quite happy to know why it's happening.

If anyone is interested, the sound sample I gave Overman was my movie Run Luther, Run, so if you'd like to see exactly the problem Overman describes, there it is: http://www.moviestorm.co.uk/MSDB/MoviePageServlet?id=1299
The pops really become noticeable @ 1:35.

Thanks again to everyone, especially Overman!
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
act3scene24
post Apr 30 2009, 9:55 AM
Post #15


Master Director
Group Icon

Group: Pioneers
Posts: 857
Joined: 30-November 08
Member No.: 3,302



(RUN415)
Also, I seem to recall you were getting some reasonably bad clicks a while ago.
A problem you have since resolved - did you end up isolating the cause?
It's just that I'm curious and it may help others out?
Do tell!


Actually, those clicks were from using Audacity (Clarks episodes ""Meet the Jimenez's", "Crack-erjacks" and "Reminisce").

My resolution was switching to GarageBand. I can now voice Jeffrey Clark without any problems :-)

(Overman)
In your case, Jorge, if they seem to increase proportional to your speaking volume, then I'd suspect that's something else... perhaps distortion from the mic input levels being too hot? If you want to, send me a sample and I'll confirm / assist.


I'll find the time soon to do a quick recording using Audacity. I'll PM you the file when I get the chance. smile.gif


--------------------

Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
RUN415
post Apr 30 2009, 12:11 PM
Post #16


Master Director


Group: Members
Posts: 259
Joined: 14-October 08
Member No.: 2,894



Interesting ACT3 - I was pretty certain it wasn't the mic. : )


--------------------
F I L M S C O R E
GOOD MOVIE MUSIC
And there was much rejoicing...
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
StarLite Moon
post May 2 2009, 2:30 PM
Post #17


Upcoming director


Group: Members
Posts: 91
Joined: 8-December 08
Member No.: 3,470



Hey tkd, just curious and I don't want to give you the wrong info but do you have an onboard sound card.

We have two computers here and I use Audacity on both. The one computer has an onboard sound card and when I record I get a hissing and humming in the background that's hard to get rid of. But the other computer has a SoundBlaster in it and I don't have any problems whatsoever with it.

Although I have put a sponge over the mike. I just cut a hole in the side of the sponge and put it over the mike. It looks odd but does the trick. I could talk right into the mike closeup and not get any feed back. Whereas with the other computer all you have to do is just move the cord and it comes through in the recording.

Just a thought. smile.gif


--------------------
StarLite Palace
http://indieadventure.freeforums.org/

Be thankful for the dawn of the coming day
Lisle Engle
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
dougunit12
post Jun 6 2009, 7:43 AM
Post #18


Moviegoer


Group: Members
Posts: 8
Joined: 5-June 09
Member No.: 5,395



Good advice here from a lot of folks ... I had some similar problems recording voice and sound effects.

I echo Iceaxe's recommendations for the H2 as well. This hand device is much more than a mike ... it's nearly a portable sound effects studio. As a recording device with no moving parts and local storage via SD card, you can take it out into the world. Or you can solve a big bunch of noise problems by simply moving into the next room to record your sounds / voices, then uploading them (again via SD card or by simple USB file transfer) onto your machine. For me that was the big barrier, the hum put out by my heavily fanned PC.

- D
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
primaveranz
post Jun 6 2009, 11:51 PM
Post #19


Master Director
Group Icon

Group: Pioneers
Posts: 4,635
Joined: 28-August 08
Member No.: 2,534



I knew almost nothing about sound recording until I read this post.

Can it be Stickied? It's a goldmine.


--------------------
"I have had the same problem with getting the wheels to rotate properly with animated cars. They have to be all the same size and round and that helps a bit." America's Top Modder.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Moviestorm
post Jun 7 2009, 8:34 PM
Post #20


Master Director
Group Icon

Group: Administrators
Posts: 531
Joined: 26-June 07
Member No.: 658



QUOTE (primaveranz @ Jun 6 2009, 11:51 PM) *
I knew almost nothing about sound recording until I read this post.

Can it be Stickied? It's a goldmine.


Done!


--------------------
The Moviestorm Team
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post

2 Pages V   1 2 >
Reply to this topicStart new topic
1 User(s) are reading this topic (1 Guests and 0 Anonymous Users)
0 Members: