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I am about to start some editing for some films and I wanted to find out what other people's methods are.. The track does not look uniform at all, and it is all recorded outdoors; the dialogue was recorded too loud and the ambience too quiet. Any tips?

Many thanks

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5 Answers 5

There are two tools that I really like:

1) My go-to for a quick-clean-up is Izotope RX. Izotope makes some AWESOME software, and the price tag is hard to flinch at. It's also very flexible, you can pretty easily do tricks like removing footfalls (over a line!) and clicks that have been bothering you. I have it set as my default wave editor from Reaper.

2) If we're talking SERIOUS denoising, it may be worth tracking down a Cedar (i.e. Cedar 1000, Cedar 2000) - they rent for about $150 / day, and processes the audio in real time. It takes more fiddling, but does a remarkable job reducing noise without any space monkeys.

Using the two in tandem has worked well for me in the past.

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Thanks ragamesound! I'll try it! However, I'm asking more for the hands-on work; let's say we have just one audio track with all merged together that has been completed for audio post-pro and in that track we have sounds from the forest - quiet- and dialogues - very loud-. If I increase the gain all the background unwanted noises will flourish too, besides they will never be at the same levels as the dialogues. Also not sure what "cleaning" means in this case. For dialogues must be just leaving voices to be heard, but for ambience? what is needed to be cleaned? Thanks again for helping –  Marco Saez Jun 9 '10 at 10:44
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+1 on Izotope RX

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There was a thread on NR a while ago, it can be found HERE.

I totally agree with RX, a great buy. However if you just need to remove general noise then you wont beat a Cedar. They've got a new RTAS plugin which is superb, although it's around 3 grand.

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The first thing I would like to say is: if your dialogue was recorded too loud without clipping you're one hell of a lucky guy :) Ha ha Marco, I just realised it was your topic (Justin here).

I'm afraid I don't really get what your problem is. Do you have only one track with dialogue AND sound effects on it?

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Maybe I'm stating things you already know, but in case you don't:

It sounds like you want to change the dynamics of the mix. Bring up the quiet ambient sounds, push down the dialogue, right? So it is impossible to obtain the dialogue and ambience as separate tracks?

The tool for this is a compressor with little character (so very transparent), preferably a multi-band compressor or at least one with side-chain eq.

Set the threshold so that it triggers on the dialogue and not on the ambience (if you have it, the sidechain-eq set to the most prominent frequency area of the vocal can help). Then you can bring up everything so that the vocals are at the same level as before, but the ambience is now louder.

Tweak the ratio, threshold and release while listening for undesired pumping effects at points where someone starts or stops talking.

With extreme settings this will make it very tiring to listen to. If the difference in dynamics is very big you will have to push the compressor very hard which will eventually make it a mushy mess.

Another method that you could try if the above doesn't work is just automating the level by hand. Very time-consuming, but you have the most control.

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