Thursday, October 4, 2012

Mailbag: Distracting Breaths, The AKG C214, MOAR Proximity Effect, Muddy Recordings

Good Morning: My name is Bob and I have recently found your wonderful website. I have a question regard editing breaths from a narration. I have a thing about this. I just don't like the sound of noisy breathing. It's distracting. I was recently listening to an audiobook narrated by John Slattery "Farewell to Arms". I hear practically no breaths and yet the rhythm or pacing is perfect. How is this done? I use ProTools 8.0. I've tried cutting some or all of the breath out and I've tried dropping the volume level at each breath. Nothing I do seems to make it better. Often I just leave the breath in. I want it to sound natural but without the breaths. Impossible? Please help if you can.
-Bob B.
Hey Bob. I actually don't have issues with breathing in long form narration. Obviously we try to take out deep or cleansing breaths, but sometimes the way an actor respires can help inform the performance as well.
Everyone has their own tricks for dealing with distracting elements like breaths. Often I turn to room tone recordings if I absolutely have to cut a piece out, but need to maintain cadence.

First of all, your videos and advice are absolutely excellent.
I just want a quick opinion. I have the akc c214. Love the 'color' of the AKG sound but to my ears tath mic's peak around 13k bothers me a lot (and I mean a lot). I am always needing to eq this to suit my taste. I sing and play acoustic guitar. I haven't tried a hoping that an AKG C414 xls will give me more of that wonderful AKG sound I love; maybe an even slightly smoother top end without that damn 5dB peak. You seem to have spent a decent amount of time with the 414. even though voice over isn't the same as singing, I value any opinion or thoughts you might have regarding this. thanks again :-)
Thanks Ro!
If memory serves the presence peak on the 214 hits very aggressively, more resembling the C414 XLII. Moving over to the C414 XLS and using it in Hypercardioid or Fig8 should help tame the peak, but the character of the mic wont be radically different.

Hey, I've actually have learned a lot from your vids on youtube so thanks. I'm working on making my own studio but it wouldn't be for spoken word recording. I'm a musician/producer and i would be doing a lot of live instrument recordings. I'm looking for that high proximity effect while recording acoustic guitar and micing up a cab. would you recommend using multiple mics? As in 1 dynamic mic and 1 condenser and playing with the EQs to get all the highs, mids, and lows of instrument.

You're more than welcome Alex. The two mic solution sounds like a great starting place to me. Now proximity is proximity, but depending on how heavy you want to hit, and what kind of room you're recording in, you could look at a ribbon if you really want to start slinging some mud around.
You'd have to weigh the cost and durability of your specific needs (ribbons are fragile), but it might not be a bad option if you're really trying to push the envelope. Otherwise, you can't really go wrong with a solid mid-range dynamic on a hot pre.

Hello I was wondering if you might help me with some advise. I've been doing some long format VO recording in a small padded booth with a glass window, and wood door. Using a KMR 81 with an api lunchbox preamp. Most of the recordings sound very tubby to me. When I try and eq the tubbyness out, then it's very sibilant... Pretty harsh around 7.5khz, so struggling with the de-sser to soften the top end. It seems to be lacking a punch that I've heard in other VO recordings. If I turn on the high pass filter it feels very thin to me. So I'd love to learn how people are getting these nice warm present recordings that cut through heavy music and sfx.

Hey Joe. It's tricky. You have to look at what you're recording, your source. Your source isn't just YOU, it's YOU in your ROOM. If you + your room = muddy, then there's not a lot you can do. An accurate recording of that combo will have to reflect the truth of your source.
There are some things you can do to help minimize some of the issues, but you wont be able to completely escape the core issue which is giving you problems.

That said, I'd also like to point out to people that shotguns can have some serious issues for those recording at home. They were designed to be used in outdoor or large environments to pick up audio from feet to yards away from their desired source. Look at that polar pattern. Sure, the primary lobe is long and skinny, but notice the three other lobes? The two on the sides are often cancelled out in-mic by phase, but that rear lobe still picks up a fair amount of audio.

What would seem a drawback is actually something of a benefit for film and TV. That rear lobe can help imbue recordings with a subtle sense of the location. That's great for those on set and on location, but not so great for those of us in little booths.

Sure in a larger properly treated studio, one with a little elbow room, shotguns are going to be nice and loud, but put them in a small space, and you're going to sound coffin-y. The mic is already going to be over-exaggerating low end because of the proximity, the small space is going to be emphasizing low frequency sound as it bounces all around creating standing waves, and now the mic chosen is also going to be picking up a little of more of the room reflections and ambiance thanks to it's polar pattern.

Shotguns can get claustrophobic, and rather than trying to edit your way out of the problem, renting a few mics and doing a home shoot out might provide you with better solutions for capturing spoken word in a small space.

As always, if any of this has helped you out, please consider using my donation and Amazon affiliate links to the left, and keep those questions coming!

No comments:

Post a Comment