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Just wondering if any of the dialog editors out there use any compression while editing dialog?

I normally edit with the dialog flat, but was thinking that slapping a compressor might make make any subtle clicks or mouth noise "pop" a bit more.

Just wondering what others are doing, anyone using any plugins during a dialog edit or do you like it raw?

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7 Answers 7

up vote 5 down vote accepted

No I personally would never mess about with any kind of compression etc. when editing. I work on Sennheiser HD25s which are great for hearing every detail so I never feel the need to boost anything in order to hear it better. If production sound is low level I just put trims on the inserts and automate gain increases.

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Yes that is basically what I do as well. Just wanted to check with the collective brain and see if anyone is doing it differently – AzimuthAudio Jun 3 '11 at 1:29

I've been running with my master fader cranked all the way up just to make sure I know exactly what I'm listening to for creating fill, etc.

Hadn't thought about using a compressor as anything but an extra gain stage, but why not? You can easily just take the plug-in off before you submit up to the mixer.

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Personally, I'd leave dynamics processors out of it (even if you can disable them before your final print). Mostly because they will alter the way you hear things and have an effect on the way you create, crossfade and mix your backfill. In all reality, you may end up creating more work for yourself than is necessary.

If you need to hear the pops and clicks, turn up your monitors or headphones.

Also, something else to consider is that you might want to leave the dynamics (compression and limiting) to the mixers. Not to push work off on them, but I'm sure they prefer a more natural "performance" and a few overseen clicks and pops which are sort of part of the territory. Also, just because of the compression/limiting you might be creating more work for them. It's easier to get rid of a few natural clicks and pops then a ton of volume rides due to compressors and limiters that are pushing things in unnatural directions which might have clouded your judgement (even if they're left off the final print you give them, they will still potentially taint your decisions no matter what).

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@AzimuthAudio Adding to what Luca said, it's up to your mixer. Talk to the mixer and ask if they want the compression leaving on. If not, you can leave a note on the settings you thought worked best. After all, as an editor, you'll be more familiar with the dialog. You can also use volume automation premix as a kind of 'manual' compression. Ask your mixer and see what he/she prefers.

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I used the L2 Ultramaximizer plugs from Waves when I was a Pro Tools-guy. Cus you don't have the clip gain function and the dialog was recorded a bit too quiet, then I could just beef it up a bit with the L2 and get some space for the volume automation. I used it very lightly. Now with Nuendo I tend to have it in the master bus also very lightly just to be sure the quiet parts get somewhat hightened; I have very small speakers on my station...

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Are you just editing? Or are you mixing it as well? Do you know how your dialog is going to be treated in the mix? Is it a Doc, a CSI style show, a dramatic feature?

If you're mixing it as well you can just go through and edit out the big stuff, then keep an ear out for noticeable things when you're mixing and edit them out then. By that point there probably won't be too much left anyway, so you'll be good.

If you're not mixing it, I'd try and mimic whatever the final product is going to be:

If you're doing a modern investigation type drama that's going to be covered in music and crazy sound design, I'd say make a guess that they're going to be compressing the crap out of the lavs and using the boom for a bit of spice. In that case I'd compress as you do it, and probably go a little harder than they would, just to be on the safe side.

Docs too, depending on the style.

Dramas probably won't be crushed too much, so I wouldn't worry about it to the same extent.

The only thing I'd say is be careful with your settings. If you compress too much with a really slow attack you may end up having stuff jump through that sounds like a click or pop, but really isn't. So you'll edit out a bunch of stuff and end up with a really choppy comp track.

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Using compression while editing is a tool, not a part of mixing. So yes if you know it's going to a compressed TV tprogram it can be a good thing to MONITOR through compression. If you are not the mixer don't expect it to be set the way you have it set. If you know the mixer, ask them if and how they generally treat dialog.

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