ADR in Action

Summary

With extra time in class, I decided to try another audio replacement project. You may have seen my last post ‘Film Sound Design – Sound for Intensity’ where I replaced sound effects from a movie clip. This time, I tried a little ADR.

Film Before Visual ADR

As you can hear, there is a lot of background noise that needs to be taken care of.

 

Film After Visual ADR

Coming Soon! Having issues with a copyright claim…

I synced up the video with the audio and cut the best one out to upload.

 

ADR Process

Screenshot coming soon!

 

Audio ADR Preparation

For this project, since the line is short and the actor recited the dialogue well the first time, we used audio ADR. The actor listened to the original audio looped and repeat with it for clear sound that could be synced with the video. This made some pretty good audio takes to use because after the actor repeats the line in a loop, it becomes more of a rhythm than a reading of the line; making it relatively the same as the original.

 

ADR Terms and Notes

Automated Dialogue Replacement (ADR) – Rerecorded audio to replace the audio of the video.

  • Fixes technical problems
  • Replaces vocal performance
  • Makes a TV safe cut
  • Creative purposes
  • Usually recorded with large diaphragm condenser microphone

Post-Synchronization – Dubbing the sound over a video after it has been made; used a lot for dubbing.

Partial ADR – Must be recorded with the same mic, mic placement, and environmental reverb so that when clips are edited into the video it doesn’t sound off with the video sound. Not recomended.

Visual ADR – Having an actor watch the muted video and record the lines while watching it. Better for if you want to change the performance slightly.

Audio ADR – Having the actor listen to the lines and repeat with it while recording. Better for exact audio video fits.

 

Audio Post-production Terms

Equalizer – A tool that boosts or cuts the amplitude of specific frequency of specific frequencies.

High Shelf – The boosted area in a clip of sound that an equalizer has been used on.

Low Shelf – The area in a clip that an equalizer has cut the amplitude.

High Pass – Lets all the sound below a certain frequency be audible and cuts everything else.

Low Pass – Lets all the sound above a certain frequency be audible and cuts everything else.

Combing Effect – When the audio is duplicated and played up to 15 milliseconds after the normal audio, giving the audio a comb effect.

Delay Effect – When the audio is duplicated and played from 15-30 milliseconds after the main audio to present a chorus effect.

Echo Effect – When the audio is duplicated and played more that 35 milliseconds after the original audio to present an echo effect.

Reverb Effect – Like the echo effect, but instead adding varying pitches and more duplicates at different delayed times to present more of an effect of random and decaying echoes.

Chipmunk Effect – When audio is recorded at half the speed and played back at twice the speed to raise the pitch by an octave.

 

What I Learned and Problems I Solved

One things I learned was that YouTube editor doesn’t like me very much. After a little while trying to edit the video in YouTube editor, I ran into the same problem I kept running into several posts ago; copyright claims that don’t exist. However, I did learn a lot more terms and techniques used in ADR which will help me as I always want to use it to make my audio better. I also got more practice in editing and post-synchronization. Overall, this project was short but rewarding.

Film Sound Design – Sound for Intensity

Summary

Sound is a big part of what makes films good nowadays. For intense scenes, usually it’s the sound effects that shock you into a jump or remind you that something is happening. Gunshots, punches, thunder, even the smallest movement of cloth can make every viewer feel the movie in a whole new way. For this project, I decided to try it out for myself, using sound effects I created. The Earthquake scene from ‘The Wind Rises’ has intense sounds that all pile on top of each other for the intensity of the clip. I went out and used usual and unusual foley and sound effect techniques to put into the movie clip myself, and this is the final project.

 

Film Before Foley and Sound Effects

As you can see, a lot of the intensity is in the sound. The earthquake itself is the main noise, but if you listen closely you can hear a lot of other small noises that come with it.

 

Film After Foley and Sound Effects

The noises I used should sound pretty familiar. For the simple things that I can access I just recorded myself, and for things like the train tracks and electricity that were probably dangerous to do on my own I used a healthy dose of creativity in objects and some pitch/speed correction. Once added to the video, the audio blends in well (probably because the visual is tricking your brain but still). I’m proud of my final content and how I got to it.

 

Foley Process

Foley Process Brainstorm

In my brainstorming section, I thought of things I could use for sounds. I highlighted the fact that I wanted to learn about foley and how it is recorded in this project. At this point I also knew that I wanted to make my clip as original as possible, meaning that I wasn’t going to replicate the sounds in the original, but rather watch the muted clip and add sounds that I think will make it look more intense.

Planning Project

I made a list of all the sounds I at least wanted a sample of, and where I could get them. Then I made sure to put down which days I could record them. I ended up using my phone’s microphone to record all the sound because I think the background noise it picks up adds to the sound effects; it has an MEMS condenser microphone. I also ended up recording most of the sounds on Tuesday and recorded extra sound effects with things on location because I saw objects that gave me new ideas for sound.

Screen Shot

I used iMovie to cut the clips together and change audio. I was able to easily take pieces I needed from the samples I recorded.

Sound Library

Breaths – ADR recorded myself

Coughing – ADR recorded myself

Various yells and mumbles – me and others, recording ambience in the lunchroom

Grabbing objects – I grabbed a wood plank; rubbing my hands together

Sound Effect Example

Rumbling – elbows on a shaky table, rocks

Elbows on a rumbling Table

Pebbles – rocks and pebbles, some edited to bring varying pitches

Sound Effect Example

Objects hitting each other – I recorded some pillows hitting each other and objects hitting pillows

Flags – waving around pieces of paper

Sound Effect Example

Fabric rustling – I recorded my shirt fabric rubbing against itself

Zaps – soft, dry leaves rustling and pitch made higher by about 70% and silencing editing so it comes out in short bursts

Screenshot of sound editing

Ambience – recorded next to an air conditioner with a low quality microphone

Footsteps – I just recorded my own footsteps and piled them on top of each other to sound like lots of people

Cracking – chipping tree bark and tearing apart dried, fallen leaves

Tree Bark

Fabric – foley I recorded myself

Metal Clanking – a fence; metal on metal clanking

Metal Fence Clinking

 

Audio Signal Chain Terms

Audio Signal Chain

  1. A microphone converts the sound energy into analog electric signals
  2. Signals are carried down a cable
  3. Signals reach the preamp/recorder
  4. Signals are converted to a digital file

Single System Audio Setup – Audio records directly into and with the camera.

Double System Audio Setup – Audio records separately from video, if audio is recorded with the camera anyways, it is used as sync or scratch track.

Quantized – Split up into many samples and having those altitudes measured. More measurements lead to more accurate sound.

Sampling Rate – How often the sound is quantized, measured in kilohertz (not the same as pitch or frequency).

  • 11 kHz – low quality internet audio
  • 44.1 kHz – CD audio
  • 48 kHz –  digital video audio
  • 96 kHz – twice as good as digital video audio quality; high audio quality

Bit Depth – The amount of amplitudes of different value that each sample can be (actual number can be found by calculating two to the bit depth power).

Preamp – A device that boosts the signal of the microphone so audio can be recorded. Preamps found in and for cameras are usually louder than in double system audio setups.

Line Signal – A strong audio signal, often coming from a mixing console or playback device.

Mic Signal – A weaker audio signal, uses a preamp to create a stronger signal.

Headroom – Extra space for audio to avoid clipping.

Unbalanced Analog Cable – Simplest and cheapest type of cable. Has a ground wire and a hot wire for audio without sound from outside sources.

Balanced Analog Cable – Used more for professional microphones. Has a ground wire, the hot wire, and a cold wire. The cold signal records sound reversed in polarity, then at the end is reversed back and added to the hot. This cancels out any interference with the wires.

Impedance – A measure of the devices resistance to AC current. Measured in Ohms Ω.

Inverse Square Law – Sound dissipates according to the inverse square law. The power of the sound wave decreases by the inverse of the square; if the distance between the microphone and source of sound is doubled, the sound will dissipate to 25% of what it was before.

Proximity Effect – When the bass frequencies are boosted because of how close the source of sound is to the cardoid microphone. Fattens the sound.

Boom Mic – A microphone (usually shotgun) on the end of a pole to allow the source of sound to get closer to the mic.

Lavalier Mic – Small microphones hidden on the source of sound to get sound easier and move with the source of sound. Used a lot in live performances.

 

Foley and Sound Effects Terms

Ambience – psychological cue for space. Sometimes recorded on location.

Library Effects – Prerecorded sound effects

Foley – named after Jack Foley, can be broken down into three categories; footsteps, cloth, and props

 

What I Learned and Problems I Solved

This project has helped me produce something I have never even come close to trying before, and I think I did pretty well. Sound effects has always been something that fascinated me, but this project and the things I learned with it has really opened my eyes to the world of foley and prerecording. It’s so crazy awesome that something as small as a touch of a hand can make a visual seem so much more real. This will definitely be something I hold onto as I go on to create more videos and films. At first I didn’t think I would be able to find sounds for so many sound effects, but the hardest ones to find just needed a little pitch correction and effect. I not only learned a lot from this project but it’s also helped me be more creative in sound and sound design.

Bass Recording Project

BASS!

Summary

Bass is the undertone of almost all western music. In this project, we’re exploring the techniques used in music and how to apply it ourselves. I took a song I know well and I added my own original bass using flat.io line to figure out hands-on how bass affects music.

My Bass Line

Dream a Little Dream w Bass part 1

Dream a Little Dream w Bass part 2

I wanted to play with all the techniques in bass lining in this piece. I didn’t want to focus too much time on the melody so I just took the basic melody of ‘Dream a Little Dream’ by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong as used before in my posts and added bass to see how it would modify the song. At first I used the simple inversion technique, starting with the same tonic note an octave down and moving the bass up as the melody went down. Then, in the third measure I just did the same melody an octave lower, using roots. In the fifth measure, I used notes other than to tonic to sort of harmonize with the melody using the bass. In the last three measures, I played with scales and walking bass techniques to find an interesting sound that played with the music.

Bass Terms and Notes

  • Just playing the roots of the chords as a base can already change the sound of the song incredibly
  • Organs were one of the first instruments to play base, and must be played at least an octave below the main melody
  • Another base technique is to mirror the melody by going up when the melody goes down and going down when the melody goes up
  • Because of the synth bass’ ability to vibrate bodies with the right speakers, it became a strong link to dance and club music

tonality – describes the whole package of ingredients that makes western music sound different from other types of music

root – the lowest note in the chord, usually the tonic

walking bass – a seductive bass line consisting of mostly scales or moving parts that doesn’t exactly correspond with the melody

chromatic scale – an octave of black and white keys in order, usually more sophisticated and dark and usually descending

inversion – using a different note from the chord other than the tonic as the bass note

bass riffs – also referred to as ‘bass filler’ or ‘bass run’, connects parts of a song with a solo of bass

 

What I Learned and Problems I Solved

I had never done barely anything with bass before (I mean I have, but it was the basic long, octave-lower tonic notes that anyone can learn by listening closely to any song). Today however, I learned so much more technique to be used with bass. I also learned so much more history, which helped me grasp the concepts and techniques better. I didn’t run into any issues with this project, because bass is fairly simple for me so far, but also very important.  Knowing these bass terms and models will help me very much with my composition of music because, as seen in this project, it affects music subtly but immensely.

Making Beats

Beats

Summary

We’ve made melodies, we’ve made harmonies, but something that is behind the majority of popular music that we have not practiced making yet is a beat. More specifically, this project we used free online resource to make a rhythm you can tap to. First we looked at songs like ‘Superstition’ by Stevie Wonder with great drum rhythm examples that push and move a song. Then I went onto Drumbot to create my own original beat.

My Beat

Screenshot of my Rhythm

 

(If something’s going wrong, click here)

 

I wanted to make a beat similar to most of the intoxicating sounds I hear in a lot of the alternative and calm electronic music I listen to (think ODEZSA, Hippie Sabotage, The Acid). I wanted to find some interesting sounds and put them together with a basic beat and I knew that at the end of the eight measures I wanted a small beat drop with a single click-type sound. I started by setting up all the sounds I wanted in my beat and then I set them down one by one, slowly modifying each so they would fit with each other. When I finished my sound, I wanted to add another element that I had discovered on this software earlier. I made the two different pitches of bongos in two different ears. Although not directly noticeable, if you listen closely you can hear one bongo sound (labeled in the screenshot as ‘other bongos 2’) slightly more in the left ear and another bongo sound (labeled ‘other bongos 5’) more in the right ear. Then with the final click and rim shot at the end of the 8 measures I did the same thing but stronger – the click was only in the left ear and the rim shot only in the right. Even though the final beat isn’t exactly as “intoxicating” as I’d hoped, I’m definitely surprised by how much small elements affected the overall quality of the beat.

Rhythm Terms

Rhythm – A strong, regular, repeated pattern of sound.

Beat – The beat or PULSE in a piece of music is the regular rhythmic pattern. Like the beating of your heart; heartbeat.

Tempo – The SPEED at which a piece of music is to be played.

Accent  The STRESS given to a musical note.

Duration – The period of TIME during which a musical note is HELD OUT.

Meter – A specific rhythm determined by the NUMBER of beats AND the TIME VALUE assigned to each note.

Syncopation – The musical rhythms in a piece of music that accents a normally WEAK BEAT (off-beat/up-beat).

Cross Rhythm – A rhythm used simultaneously with another rhythm or rhythms. The use of two or more rhythms simultaneously.

Duple – When the meter of a piece of music consists of TWO BEATS per measure/bar.

Triple – When the meter of a piece of music consists of THREE BEATS per measure/bar.

Quadruple – When the meter of a piece of music consists of FOUR BEATS per measure/bar.

Accelerando  A gradual increase of tempo in a section of music.

Ritardando – A gradual decrease of tempo in a section of music.

Rubato – A flexible tempo in a section of music.

What I Learned

Before this project I had only ever played around in GarageBand, but now that I have these new resources and tools I know I can do so much more. My favorite part of my rhythm was the bongos being mixed with a basic electronic beat and the fact that if you put headphones on, each ear will have a different experience. I had some trouble exporting the file from Drumbot, and I had to look up helpful tips about the software, causing me to learn a lot more about the software than if I just played with it with no background knowledge. Now that I know how to use it, I’ll be able to use it more often and effectively in the future. The final rhythm I created I am happy with, but I know that I’ll create more in the future that can stand alone even stronger.