Okay, I have a show where the 4 super hero characters are all doing press ups. Making me tired just watching them. Anyway it was a boom setup and from the way they're moving up and down it's creating a phase sound on the dialogue.

Now, I fix things I didn't know I could a few months ago like distortion and reverb but I can't help thinking that this is unfixable. I suppose one could spend weeks adding a phaser plugin and try to inversely match the phase depth and frequency (okay, I've been watching far too much Star Trek recently).

Sadly there's no money for ADR on this show so I'm stuck with the producion dialogue 100%. My current plan of attack is to simply push the music to cover the problem.

  • How much mics were there?
    – inigo
    Jun 9 '10 at 14:09
  • @inigo - 1 boom and a couple of tie clips. The latter were useless as all muffled and clothes noise.
    – ianjpalmer
    Jun 9 '10 at 15:28
  • @ianjpalmer is it that noticeable on theater speakers? Look at all of Hurt Locker's dialogue - most of it was phasey. And in the last suicide bomber scene, half of the main character's lines were distorted. Yet, it won best sound at the oscars!
    – Utopia
    Jun 9 '10 at 18:36
  • @ryan - Really? I've not seen the film. When a slight phasing sound is the least of my worries on this show, has to be the worst location sound I've ever come across, don't even get to have any ADR sadly. As I said I'm more curious if it's possible or not as to actually fixing a problem here as no one else will probably even notice it.
    – ianjpalmer
    Jun 9 '10 at 18:57
  • @ianjpalmer I getcha. I would experiment with very quick early reflection reverbs (like 30 ms to 60 ms) to kind of mask over the phase-cancelation of the tonality of his voice. That might help it. I don't think there is much you can do with something like that, unfortunately =/
    – Utopia
    Jun 9 '10 at 19:03

Indeed phasing is a very complex problem to fix. While it can probably be improved (albeit with an enormous amount of work), I don't know if it's worth it? Your time is probably much better spent making the overall project sound better. If they can't afford ADR, they almost definitely can't afford to pay you to sit around and tinker with comb filtering for an entire day...

I agree with georgi. Will people actually notice it? I was talking to Marc Fishman yesterday who was saying that he tends to get caught up in small things that really bother him, and often times it is stuff that other people will never notice. He said that his test is to bring someone in that doesn't know anything is wrong with the project and have them listen to it. If they point out the problem (or anything else for that matter), then you need to figure out a way to address the problem. If they don't, you're probably fine.

  • +1! Iterate! Don't go the whole nine yards if you don't have to. Give it a shot as-is, take feedback if it comes, but don't go too far before seeing if it's a problem to begin with! Jun 9 '10 at 16:44
  • @NoiseJockey you said +1 but didn't give any props! Unless someone voted down, but I doubt it =-)
    – Utopia
    Jun 9 '10 at 18:28
  • Well, the FX Director never noticed it so that was my final litmus test.
    – ianjpalmer
    Jun 9 '10 at 18:59
  • And there you have it! Aren't you glad you didn't slave over it more!? I've found that a lot of the things that are the most annoying to me in a project are often ones that nobody else would ever even notice. I was recently assisting on a project where the engineer spent 3 or 4 hours trying to eq a frequency out of the talent's voice that he hated the sound of. Client came in at the end of the day, we played it, and he said "So, you didn't change anything? What did you do all day?"
    – Colin Hart
    Jun 10 '10 at 2:54

it is complex comb filtering, no? how many people will genuinely notice it? i know it's the eternal quest for perfection but am still trying to find out how people know where to stop.

  • @georgi.m - No-one will probably notice, just me hypothesising to see if it's actually possible. I've no time anyway unless there's a cool plugin that does it.
    – ianjpalmer
    Jun 9 '10 at 15:29

2 mics are enough to create phasing so I can´t imagine if you have to deal with 5. Sometimes I prefer taking boom mic as main and adding lappels when needed. Boom track may need to be nudged some samples to be in phase with lavs, but once it´s done a little EQ at lavs to add presence can do it.

Indeed when mixing only 2 lavs that are moving aroung critical distances I use to add a phase invert plug-in to one of them and then edit bypass automation; it is on and off but I can do it quite fast in ProTools and usually improves the mix.

My advice is to first reduce the number of mics present in the mix at each moment, add them to the mix just when they are necessary with volume automation. It will become much easier to deal with phase issues when you have only 2 mics involved.

  • As I said I only went with the boom as the tie clip mics were muffled and/or distorted. It's amazing how noisy lycra can be actually. The phase is because of the movement of the actors going up and down.
    – ianjpalmer
    Jun 10 '10 at 8:35
  • I see.If you are using only the boom mic, inverting its phase won´t change anything.Maybe this is lack of proximity what you a dealing with. I´ve sometimes automated volume and an HP-shelving EQ and remove low freqs when actors get near boom in order to compensate near from far positions.I hope you won´t have dialog overlaps between actors.We start with a first pass where we write fader automation to have a rough drawing of volume and then go for fine edition,sometimes word by word if it is needed. You can send me a small wav or mp3 if you want, and I´ll check it in the studio.
    – inigo
    Jun 10 '10 at 10:08
  • @inigo hold your hand in front of your face, palm facing you. Now blow on it and move it towards and away your face. That's the effect. Sure, as I've said above it's grand. More interested if it's technically possible to remove as I've no time to spend fixing it and no-one has even noticed but I.
    – ianjpalmer
    Jun 10 '10 at 12:41

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