What is the best audio editing workflow for making an instructional DVD?
January 24, 2010 11:53 PM   Subscribe

What is the best audio editing workflow for making an instructional DVD?

I'm editing an instructional DVD and I'm not sure of how to proceed. I've recorded the voice over and need to edit this into the film. (I'm using Final Cut Studio.) I need to clean up the audio -- remove noise, clicks, etc. -- and sweeten it. So should I do this to the audio recording in Soundtrack BEFORE I edit it in FCP? Or do I edit it first and then clean it up later? What's the best workflow to use?
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I'd do it at the end I think. I come from a television background fyi..

I'd edit it all, and when you cut keep audio track #1 only for your VO. When you're finished, export track 1 and do all of your mixing.

I say this because I assume you have multiple takes, and your cut may change throughout the processes, you may even need to record more takes..so you may just end up cleaning up far more audio then you need to if you do it first.
posted by mattsweaters at 12:07 AM on January 25, 2010

Best answer: Both workflows have their advantage.

The advantage of cleaning up the general audio in STP first, is that all the annoying pops and clicks are removed and the audio is 'clean' first.

The advantage of doing this when you're finished is that you only end up working on the audio that you actually used.

On this type of gig:
If your raw recording is noisy, I'd probably send the raw audio to STP first (one clip), and clean it up before I edit...then edit, add music, etc..

And do a final sweetening pass (multitrack) in STP at the end.

Know that if you do the edit first, you can automate some of the repairs in FCP or STP by saving the actions as a script.
posted by filmgeek at 2:24 AM on January 25, 2010

Best answer: I would stick with the fix it at the end method. I've used both ways in television production, but generally I send out a final mix at the end to be touched up - it allows me to make all my general cuts in Final Cut (rearranging, adjust timing, take out obvious pops and breaths), and then export the track to the audio guy who can do the real sweetening without needing to make changes later.

My only other tip is to bring the audio in as an AIFF or WAV to FCP. I'm assuming you didn't record in MP3 format, but just in case - I've had some weird artifacts show up when playing an MP3 voiceover track on the timeline. Plays fine in the viewer, but on the timeline it has audible pops. Converting to AIFF solves it completely, so my first step is to always convert before I bring it into the project.
posted by shinynewnick at 9:09 AM on January 25, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions. The audio is in AIFF format so there's no issues there.

But if I do the fixing at the end, won't I have to run the noise reduction on each discreet clip rather than as one audio track? Is there a way to run noise reduction in the multi-track editing pane in STP? Or do I mix it down and then do it?
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 10:01 AM on January 25, 2010

Best answer: You have a couple of options at the end. I personally don't use STP for my audio (my audio guy uses various Mac and PC programs). So what I do is mix it all down into two or three finished tracks -

1. Voice Over
2. Music Bed
3. Sound Effects

I export each of these from FCP as the full length of the piece including dead spots, and he can mix them down appropriately, cutting up sections if a certain part of the VO needs different adjusting. He maintains the timing of each track so everything lines up exactly.

He then exports back to me a single track, fully mixed. I put that back into FCP, and make a general level adjustment to match the rest of our broadcast programming.

I do know FCP can send project files to the various Studio programs, so you can work on those individual elements. Give that a try if you like, but I still recommend making the audio tweaking your last step.
posted by shinynewnick at 10:45 AM on January 26, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks shinynewnick. I've got a much better grasp of the flow now.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 9:15 AM on January 27, 2010

Glad to help, MeMail me with any questions.
posted by shinynewnick at 6:14 PM on January 27, 2010

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