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I have more experience mixing music than dialog. Every two weeks I have to mix about 2-3 hours of dialog from a room with roughly 30 people and pump it out in half a day. There are six microphones spread out in the room in an effort to capture everyone. They come into the camera split over three different channels.

Currently, I import these tracks into FCP then send them to Apple Soundtrack to mix. I then high-pass each channel and throw in some notch filters where I can hear a distinct hum. I then use the multipressor on each channel as an expander to reduce noise when nobody is talking near this mic.

I then throw a compressor on the master to even things out (unfortunately sucking up a little noise floor in the process)

After all of this, it still sounds pretty bad.

Unfortunately, since we are seriously under mic'd, the operator has to ride the faders to get everyone at a relatively consistent volume. This means my noise floor is never constant. Actually, at some points my noise floor is louder than my dialog is at other points. To add to this, the operator also has a camera to take care of so he cannot always bring the fader up/down right away.

I would sit here and automate levels in Soundtrack but the turn around time does not allow it. I need to be able to throw the effects on, call up some presets, tweak them appropriately and bounce this bad boy.

I am looking for suggestions at the recording and/or mixing stage. Keep in mind that we have one operator on the floor and that he has a camera to operate as well.

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1 Answer 1

I am more familiar with sound reinforcement, but I will suggest getting three Yamaha Portico 5045s (they are each two-channel, so three would handle your six inputs). They are a bit pricy (about $1300 USD at the time of this writing) but they have a reputation for being able to clean up spoken-word inputs in an almost magical way.

If you have a good relationship with a reseller you might be able to audition them. Alternatively, I have seen them available at rental houses, so you may be able to try them out that way.

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