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David Fortin writes:
I’m wondering if you might have covered this in one of your tutorials and/or could direct me to a resource for this info. (I’ve searched other forums and things, but you never know where the info is coming from, and if the information is reliable. After reading your monthly newsletter, meeting you in person at a Boston FCPUG meeting and purchasing a few small tutorials, I can count on you to explain it efficiently and reliably. And, to say, “I don’t know”, if you don’t!)
In shooting a documentary with 20+ interviews, 4 of them ended up in an empty chapel with wooden walls, hard floors and wooden pews. As you can imagine the sound is not that great. And I think that me hiding the TRAM lav under collars and the like, didn’t help it any. its shot with a Sony EX-1. The lighting is pretty good, which I think makes the audio “sound” even worse, since the image is so nice.
Do you have a resource I can turn to or tutorial I can purchase that might cover how to reduce the echo a little? I know there probably isn’t anything I can do to get rid of it, but any help will be good. The content of the interviews were great but the sound quality pales in comparison to the rest of the interviews.
Larry replies: Prior to getting Brandon’s email (see below), this was one of my two least favorite types of emails, because I don’t have good news at this point. (My least favorite is when someone writes asking if I know where there’s any work. I hate saying no.)
I don’t know of any technology that will remove or reduce echoes. All noise reduction filters work by manipulating frequencies – however, the frequency of the echo is the same as the frequency of the voice, which means that whatever you do to the echo is also done to the voice.
You can play a bit with the lower frequencies to try to warm things up a bit, but, as Hollywood has discovered, if you need to get rid of echoes, your best option is to re-record.
its too late now, but what I’ve done in the past for interviews like this is hang heavy sound-blankets just outside the range of the camera to kill some of the echoes. Also, lavalieres are notorious for picking up echoes. A short-shotgun mic is much better for these situations.
UPDATE – Jan. 2, 2010
Brandon Sommers sent this in:
I recently discovered a plug-in that does a wonderful job on echo reduction. I used it on a kitchen/cooking show where we should have hung blankets and it really reduced a lot of the echo sound:
They have 14 day free trial
Larry replies: Brandon, this is great! I have NOT tried this, but if it helps reduce echoes, it could a very big help to a lot of people. Thanks!
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