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How can I fix a bad take (female voice)

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How can I fix a bad take (female voice)

Postby rvandenb » Wed Aug 19, 2020 10:05 am

Hi,

I recently recorded some video and audio for a promotional video clip for a French chanson duo. (piano and voice)
This took me some time to setup the PAR lights, the upright piano, the microphones... which was no issues, given our technical unemployment ;-)

The priority was given to the video, so I installed 2 camera's (Panasonic GX85 + iPhone X) in front of the pianist and singer.
They also wanted decent audio in the clips, so I installed the microphones (Rode NT5) at the soundboard of the piano in XY position. The female singer wanted to use the Shure hyper cardio condenser microphone she was used to for live performances. The microphone appeared too much in the image, so that same mike was installed 50 cm lower, outside of the image. As a result, the voice sounds distant and thin.
Also, the piano bleeded into the voice mike...

Long story short: now I'm here with the audio takes sounding very thin.
Can I fix this ?

Regards, René
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Re: How can I fix a bad take (female voice)

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Aug 19, 2020 10:17 am

rvandenb wrote:The female singer wanted to use the Shure hyper cardio condenser microphone she was used to for live performances. The microphone appeared too much in the image, so that same mike was installed 50 cm lower, outside of the image. As a result, the voice sounds distant and thin.
Also, the piano bleeded into the voice mike...

Yes... that would happen, wouldn't it.

Long story short: now I'm here with the audio takes sounding very thin.
Can I fix this ?

Fix? No.

Bodge enough to rescue? Maybe... but from your description I think it unlikely.

Without hearing it I can't say for sure. But when you say it sounds distant does that just mean quiet, or quiet and very 'roomy'? If the latter -- which is what I suspect -- then boosting the level (and the bass) will also boost the room acoustic and the piano spill to unacceptable levels, and the chances are that will just sound terrible. And no amount of faffing about with plugins and other processing will make it better... but you will spend 12 hours trying before giving in!

If I were you, I'd ask the vocalists to overdub her vocals, using the video as a guide track. Get her to use the mic properly and then spend some time editing the audio to achieve accurate lip-sync. Much quicker, much easier, and much better

And the lesson here is that a pretty video is worth absolutely nothing if you don't have good sound...
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Re: How can I fix a bad take (female voice)

Postby CS70 » Wed Aug 19, 2020 10:34 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:If I were you, I'd ask the vocalists to overdub her vocals, using the video as a guide track. Get her to use the mic properly and then spend some time editing the audio to achieve accurate lip-sync. Much quicker, much easier, and much better

+1

A promotional video should sound as good as it can: listeners associate the sound with the artists, they have no idea of the complexity of recording them, so a promo with bad sound will make people conclude the artists sound bad.
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Re: How can I fix a bad take (female voice)

Postby rvandenb » Wed Aug 19, 2020 10:51 am

Hugh, CS70

Thank you for your advice, I will see if she's willing to try another take...

Regards, René
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Re: How can I fix a bad take (female voice)

Postby Tim Gillett » Wed Aug 19, 2020 11:02 am

Just to add, the reason the voice sounds thin is because of the mic's "proximity effect". The mic is designed for a nominal distance of about 5 cm where the voice is balanced. At increasing distances the voice will progressively lose its bass tones. At 50 cm it will sound very thin, and so will anything else at such a distance or further.

You may not be able to reduce the piano bleed into the vocal mic but have you tried to boost the weak voice bass tones with EQ?
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Re: How can I fix a bad take (female voice)

Postby rvandenb » Wed Aug 19, 2020 11:28 am

Tim Gillett wrote:Just to add, the reason the voice sounds thin is because of the mic's "proximity effect". The mic is designed for a nominal distance of about 5 cm where the voice is balanced. At increasing distances the voice will progressively lose its bass tones. At 50 cm it will sound very thin, and so will anything else at such a distance or further.

You may not be able to reduce the piano bleed into the vocal mic but have you tried to boost the weak voice bass tones with EQ?
Yes, I've tried with (multiband-) compression and EQ, but it took a lot of time and the results did not fully satisfy any of us. It's usable but not pleasing.
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Re: How can I fix a bad take (female voice)

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Wed Aug 19, 2020 11:28 am

Why not just mime the whole thing like just about every other promo video ever made? Perfect sound, perfect visuals? What was the reason for trying to capture the sound at the same time as the video?
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Re: How can I fix a bad take (female voice)

Postby rvandenb » Wed Aug 19, 2020 11:50 am

Dr Huge Longjohns wrote:Why not just mime the whole thing like just about every other promo video ever made? Perfect sound, perfect visuals? What was the reason for trying to capture the sound at the same time as the video?
Delivering something useable at the deadline was the reason. I know, that is a bad reason. Anyway, the deadline was moved back a month, so now I can capture the sound.
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Re: How can I fix a bad take (female voice)

Postby shufflebeat » Wed Aug 19, 2020 12:04 pm

Re-record the audio dry as possible and experiment with blending the original audio track as a room mic which should both help tie the sound to the visual and provide a reliable anchor for decision making when editing the new audio.
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