Let’s start out with what to listen for in a recording location. Naturally, we’re always going to be looking for a space that isn’t going to introduce too many environmental and human generated artifacts into the recording, but the physical layout and acoustic properties of a location can contribute as much character to your recordings as microphone selection…sometimes even more. On top of that, recording vehicles and weaponry (what you’ve specialized in) isn’t something you can do just anywhere. So, what do you listen for when scouting potential recording sites?
The biggest problems I face when searching for a recording location is traffic, especially airports and expressways. I’ve scheduled multiple jobs where I had to find ideal locations away from these environments. Fortunately I live and work in a quieter area away so I don’t have to travel too far. However, that rare Ferrari I need to record is located in the middle of a downtown so it’s crucial to make generous car owner friends who are willing to drive an hour or so to a quieter location. Most microphones I’ve tried are quite sensitive in capturing unwanted background sounds. This is why I often use my Sennheiser MKH-418s M/S shotgun mic. For isolation with a mono mic I use either my Neumann 82i or the Rode NTG8. On bigger budget jobs I will rent the Neumann RSM-191s mic (probably one of the best field recording mics ever made).
Testing out Steinberg Cubase VST Connect and its remote recording capabilities with Veit Renn
The process of working on a collaborative process can be riddled with logistical headaches. Miscommunications, lack of clarity in project goals, last minute revisions, and just bad luck/circumstances can lead any project down a path of frustration. These problems become more apparent when the element of remote/online/virtual collaboration is added, which relies on more indirect forms of communication (e.g. voice mail, email, instant messaging).
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.
This article is going to be a little less template, and a little more workflow. We all have our favorite plug-ins. We probably also all have plug-ins we’d love to use, but run into limitations that keep us from pulling them out of the tool box. For instance, I have a couple of plug-ins from Waves that can add some really cool sonic character when I’m designing a sound, but also introduce more noise than I like when I start pushing them too hard. The problem is, I like pushing those plug-ins hard to get that character. Even when not pushing them too hard, I can still hear noise added by the algorithm. I’m not a fan of unwanted noise. So, I recently started experimenting with an old analog technique…
Guest Contribution by Rob Warren.
One of the most important aspects of audio production is the workflow.
No matter which DAW you use, workflow is critical to creating smooth and fast production. Setting up and accessing pre-made templates is easily one of the most effective ways to save time and effort, which in business, is money.
Workflow can be described as the fastest, most fluid means of getting from point A to point B. I have several different types of workflow that I use when I’m working, and I use different DAWs, depending on the job at hand. For example, if I’m composing music, I typically use Logic Pro, and I have probably 30 or so pre-designed templates based on what type of music I’ll be writing (orchestral, rock, electronic etc). The tracks within the templates are generally organized by instrument or instrument types, and then placed in Track Stacks (Logic’s term for bus groups). These group tracks act as busses, so any effects are added to the group and used as needed. I also have a “near” and “far” reverb on separate aux busses, to use for giving a distinct sense of depth to various instruments, which helps to “position” them into a simulated live orchestral setting, or just to create a choice of “space” for any production (see fig. 1).