i am currently preparing the audio post process for a (low budget) documentary. the doc isn't finished and still needs a lot of work, but i was eager to see and hear some footage. the director and had a screening (on her laptop(speakers)) and talked about the sound and her ideas, so far so good... well i also asked for the omf and am now listening through the material in my studio.
my first conclusion is that it's pretty bad soundwise. the director filmed everything herself, but is not at all audio savy out of the 18 minutes, at least 6 minutes of the audio is distorted, not very badly, but defenitely noticeable in about 30% of the peaks per region.
the soundtrack consists mainly of an interview with one subject, over the course of three days. everything was recorded using lavelier mic (and transmitter) direct to DVcamera. the other part of the soundtrack is ambience and city sounds. everything is mono and there are no alternate takes available. some DV tapes have ok sound, others are distorted.
to get a feel of how to approach this little monster i decided to do some tests. i've started declipping with izotope rx to get an idea of how bad it is and must say i'm quite pleased with the results so far. but i'm still wondering how and where to start when i get the locked picture and omf.
normally i don't get audiorecordings this bad and restoring bad takes is only a small part of the job. i start with dialogue editing: cleaning up the tracks (ticks, clicks, pops etc) and a few passes have them leveled out evenly. (this is overtly simplified ofcourse) but now i face the challenge of having a lot of clipped audio and some reasonably good audio. cleaning up dialogue within the clipped regions is not an option, everything is to loud and if i bring down the volume i'm still left with a audio image full of clipped peaks, distorting my vision/hearing.
i managed to boil it down into two options:
a. start first with the reasonably good audio takes, cleaning them up and getting a feel for the dialogue flow (and it's levels) and then work your way down to the bad parts
b. start with the bad parts and use ie. izotope to declip the regions first* and then start the cleaning up of all the dialogue in one pass and go from there.
*i mainly ask this because i don't know how much izotope (in my case) changes in the audio besides extrapolating the headroom, is the rest of the audio left 'untouched'? i don't think so, but will it matter with audio in this saturated state?
am i still thinking straight? what would be your approach to this?
any help would be greatly appreciated!
UPDATE: well the documentary premiered a few weeks ago and the director (and me) are very pleased with the results. in the end it didn't take as much time as thought necessary. the clipping was fixed very well with RX2, I love it! There was only 1 sentence that sounded a bit ugly but no one actually noticed, so that's good to know. The doc is being well received and as a result will be screening around Europe on several festivals, so I am quite happy! Thanks again for all the advice. If you want to I could post some examples (soundclips).