I am the new guy on the team, and they hired me specifically because of my experience with recording/mixing audio. However, 95% of my audio experience is with recording music. I've done some audio for film before, back in college. But I am far from an expert in voice work for web-based eLearning courses.
My team is made up of six people, non of which have the slightest idea of what they are doing when it comes to capturing good audio. They are all very smart and capable people who know the software product amazingly well, but they all just use USB Yeti mics, sat on their desk, in some room within their house, just talking into the microphone. I'm sure the grain and polarity knobs are in the same place they where when they were given the microphones to take home. So, my manager is asking me to see what I can do to improve the overall sound quality of everyone's recordings. I don't want to open that whole entire can of worms in this thread; I'd like to just start with breath sounds.
I do all my editing in Logic Pro X. This is my workflow:
- I navigate to their .mp4 video file in the Browser section of Logic, and double-click it to load the video and extract the audio to track one.
- First thing, I use the Normalize tool to normalize the whole track.
- Add a Channel EQ instance that I basically use to chop of all really high and really low frequencies.
- Add the Expander plugin to ease out any background noise like laptop fans, or air-conditioning/heaters running in the background.
- Add a Noise Gate and try to fiddle around with the settings to make it so that the gate is closed when they take a breath between words, click their mouse, or smack lips... but that it opens and closes naturally around the words I do want to hear.
- I then add a Limiter on the main stereo output so I can really squash the louder sounds down without having to do any track automation to keep things smooth.
Overall, it all makes a drastic improvement in clarity and in making each video from person to person sound more homogenous. But... the noise gate is really an issue. When it closes... there is a noticeable void of all sound. If you're wearing headphones, it is slightly tiresome after a while to hear the sound switch so abruptly from on, to completely off. To get around it, I have a track of just... "room tone" that I recorded myself, that I let play in the background at a very low level, so that when the gate closes, you hear at least the slight sound of the dead room with mic recording that I loop every 30 sec.
I guess my biggest issue is... I don't really know of any place where I can go and hear what "good voice over tone" really is. With music it's simple. I know exactly which engineers are known for what kind of sound, and what band, song, or album to turn to as a reference to have something to shoot toward. But I have no clue who makes corporate videos with excellent voice over work. Mine may be fantastic, but then again, I may be shit at it.
I realize this thread is a little sprawling. My apologies. It's all a little stressful.