My first exposure to noise reduction processing was with Waves X-Noise, working clip-by-clip, finding a snippet of noise in the clear, setting the noise profile, then processing the clip before moving to the next one. This offline processing method, while effective, would end up taking a lot of time, especially on long-form projects. Similarly, if you had a processed clip that needed its noise reduction altered, you would have to restore the un-processed version, find the noise print again, re-adjust the parameters, and then re-process it. When time is short (and when isn’t it?), real-time processes begin to look like a much better option. Unfortunately, plugins like X-Noise or iZotope RX Denoiser can’t be used effectively in real-time due to the enormous amounts of processing overhead required and the unmanageable latency added to the signal. With plugins like the new RX 3 Dialog Denoiser and Wave’s WNS and W43, real-time noise processing without expensive hardware is feasible, but it requires a change in workflow to utilize effectively. As I found once I started using the RX 3 Dialog Denoiser, putting one per dialog track was an inefficient use of CPU resources, and simply putting an instance on the main dialog bus proved problematic, especially when dealing with adjacent clips that had drastically different noise profiles.Read More
Allow me to share a story with you:
It was the weekend before the holiday break. Our horror film shoot had been going on for a few days, and as was typical of December at the base of Cape Cod, the weather was frigid and rapidly getting worse. With reports of an approaching winter storm, we frantically worked in the freezing cold to finish our exterior shots as quickly as possible. After moving inside the little house and getting the final shots of the day, my boom operator and I quieted everyone to perform the always-exciting task of collecting room tone.
Typically, room tone recordings are unremarkable things, but on this cold December night, hidden behind the whine of the set lighting, the creaks of an old settling house, the distant buzz of the electrical system, was a soft and rhythmic ringing. The two of us glanced around the room, making sure someone on the crew wasn’t fiddling with their keys, but even they had puzzled looks on their faces: They heard it, too. After a minute or so, we cut the recording and everyone started running around trying to find the source of the sound. It wasn’t until someone opened the front door that we realized what it was.Read More
Guest Contribution by Steven Klein
There are many reasons for conflicting viewpoints and misinformation on studio design / acoustics. This article will examine components contributing to the confusion along with some advice on how to avoid common pitfalls.
(Merriam-Webster Dictionary: the inherent unpredictability in the behavior of a complex natural system.)
We must first realize that science is challenged by chaos. I present the thesis that talent supersedes everything. Since this is immensely abstract and unknowable where it fits in the analysis, chaos is exposed. Talented people will work in the worst conditions and have great results. The untalented can work in the greatest environments and never produce. There is an ambivalent conclusion for what works.
The reality that great music/production can come from adverse conditions leads one away from the true objective science of acoustics and physics.Read More
This is a guest article written by Ariel Gross, Audio Director of game development studio Volition Inc, which produces such PC and console titles as the Saint’s Row and Red Faction series. You can view Ariel’s introduction post here.
I Feel Like a Fraud and So Can You!
Every now and then I feel like a fraud. Every now and then I feel like I’m merely masquerading as a professional. Every now then I feel a little bit terrified, and then I see the look in your eyes. Wait, wait. Sorry. That last one was from a Bonnie Tyler song. But here’s the thing. The more I open up about this feeling to others, the more I realize that lots of other people feel this way, and it can be really comforting to know that we’re not alone. And actually, it might just be okay that we feel like frauds. Good, even!
How is it “okay” to be a fraud?
Well, hold your horses there, header. I never said that I am a fraud. I said that I feel like a fraud, and there’s a big difference. I’ve never claimed credit for something that I didn’t actually do. That would make me an actual fraud. If I have done that, it would have been unintentionally, and I would be mortified to find out. I would shout from the tallest mountain that there was an error.
It’s more like a sense of disbelief that I occasionally accomplish things that are actual things. To be clear, actual things are what I’ve always endeavored to do, and I believe that anyone that sets out to do actual things will likely become more capable of doing an actual thing. And that is just fine… for other people.Read More
Here are a few things that I lay awake thinking about last night, and in the hope that I may get a good night’s sleep tonight, unbothered by such thoughts, I wrote them down.
In no particular order…
1) PLAN TO MIX
Planning is good, it is healthy, it let’s other people on the team know what you are about to do AND it means you aren’t scrambling to get something unscheduled crammed into the dying light of a project. This is the most simple element, yet the easiest to forget and to get caught out by. Having some dedicated time built into the overall project schedule to sit down as close to the end of the project as possible, is the best chance you have of getting a final mix pass done on your game. Scheduling this time is simple, but requires some deft political manoeuvring, particularly if your team is not used to running things past a Beta date. Being open and up front with PM and Producer resources from as soon as you get involved on the project is the only way to get anything like this scheduled. If you are doing the mix out of house, or using contractors, this becomes more evident to the PM world, however, if you plan on doing it in-house, it can quickly become overlooked, so constant reminders to everyone on the team about the upcoming mix is usually required. We usually try to schedule a 3 week period after production Beta, called ‘Sound Beta’ in which we do nothing but a mix pass on the entire game. This isn’t plausible, or even necessary, for every game, but the amount of time you need is scalable, usually dependent on hours of game play, and complexity of game mechanics – even if you have a couple of days to set overall levels, this is more than you’d get through not planning.