...do you like to play the clip downward expanded and have the noise pop through when the dialogue comes up?
do you like to keep it all the same level and not downward expand it?
I only ever use expanders on dialogue tracks when I'm trying to reduce reverb in the recording. And in those cases I try to use a multiband processor like Waves C4. Otherwise, I'll use noise-reduction software and EQs to handle noise problems.
Sometimes, there's only so much you can do. I just finished working on a project where the dialogue was so bad that I added a "noise track" to the session. I needed it for fill, as there were sections where necessary cuts left holes in the dialogue/production track. The noise was dropping out completey. While adding noise is not something I'm fond of, it's required sometimes. Consistency of audio quality is critical, because the brain will start to filter it out as it becomes accustomed to it. The moment that changes occur, the brain takes notice and it becomes a distraction. That's the danger that Rob mentioned with regards to expanders and pulsing.
For me, depends on the situation. Generally speaking, I try to avoid using expansion on Dial tracks, as I find the pulsing in and out of noise to be more distracting/unnatural than a consistent noise floor. That being said, in certain instances I will use a multi-band compressor/expander (such as waves c4) to expand certain bands out in the silence between dialogue.
All in all, i really only use expanders when my BG stems are able to mask the noise "pop" (as you described) on my dial tracks.
I'm really interested in the responses here. I'm editing and mixing the audio for a short at the moment that a friend just didn't have time to deal with.
There's very bad wind noise throughout as it was recorded in a very exposed area. Also, some of the dialogue was clipped during dramatic moments. A mess overall! My inclination was to use expansion, but I may remove it and follow Shaun's philosophy of consistency.
Two of the three characters are going to be ADR'd, but the third isn't available anymore due to a falling out. Has anyone any experience mixing ADR alongside very noisy outdoor dialogue?
It depends on the type and loudness of noise and whether it belongs in the scene. The "Royale With Cheese" scene in Pulp Fiction has a lot of traffic noise but it's fine, and is probably all from production. I've stressed over noise on dialog only to hear it's fine when I watch the movie playing on TV. But, it really depends. If it's even moderate a/c or fridge, or generator noise, for example, in a quiet interior dialog scene, you're probably in trouble. Start by trying to EQ out the offending frequencies. If it's not enough, use noise redux plugins like Cedar or WNS and see. If it's not enough, then it's obviously a big problem and the producer should pay for an ADR session, or sessions, because it's due to sloppy production and out of your control. Hope this helps.