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I know, it's a regularly discussed topic: removing mouth noises. Anything from clicks, incontinuities mid word, saliva etc. I've recorded about 15 minutes of voice over audio for a theatrical soundwalk. I've always been very keen on recording these voices very close mic, because of the intimacy that it brings to the soundtrack. It keeps the listener focussed and helps steering their view. Now the point is that I've always been doing it by hand (scrub+pencil in PT9). This has tought me a lot about recording and the human voice with all it's strange mechanics. But after recently purchasing Izotope 3 Advanced (love it!) I tried using the Declicker module in PT. It works very well, but sometimes a bit too well..

For example: in the current project the voice over starts very as 'general' and clean sounding guide, without any real character. This slowly evolves into a more 'human' voice, performance wise. So I also leave clicks in the recordings as well (near the end at least) a the sighing etc. Now I could just process every region with 1 preset or do a two-pass. And I could switch between processed and unprocessed via duplicate tracks, but still that doesn't feel very flexible or in control.

So, I made up and tried the following routine (in PT9 with cptk):

  1. Duplicate track (with everything)
  2. Select all regions on duplicate track
  3. Insert Hipass filter @400Hz on track (although tiresome, it helps find noises)
  4. Load Audiosuite version of Declicker with standard preset
  5. Select 'Output clicks only' and process 'create individual files'. This creates a sort of 'visual guide' to noises..
  6. Now select 'Tab to transients' and use tab to navigate to all 'clicks' (optionally I use 'strip silence' on long regions)
  7. I then scrub+pencil through everything in a rough first pass (deciding what needs to be kept in).
  8. Afterwards I do another pass (with headphones on) to get the softest ticks out.

It is a lot of work, but so far it works out pretty well! Although looking at all those remaining mouth clicks is a bit discouraging :( hahaha

Besides getting a talent that is less noisy, i really tried a lot of things, but the actor just kept clicking away..

Is there anyone here who has more tips?

BTW: I've also tested the realtime version of Declicker on the dialogue track, but the 'Delay Compensation Engine' cannot compensate the plug in.. which messes up timing, and devours resources..

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In an acoustically sterile environment tisks and such is a problem, but I usually give the actors apples and such to eat, if not eliminating it then at least lowering the problem.

When i comes to cleaning up, I have no trust in plugins whatsoever in these cases. Too much artefacts, and no actual control of what to eliminate/keep - a lot of pops and dissonant sounds are needed for a natural sound and something you'll want to keep. I use the pen-tool, zoom in on the individual clicks, and draw them out. Takes a wee bit of time if it's much, and sometimes thry're hard to find, but this carefully used this doesn't damage the sound. And as I simply redraw heavy ones as sine-waves, and just smooths out the ones on slopes of other waveforms, it is completely inaudible even during mixing. It takes a little time, but you will not need to worry about artifacts that may appear during mixing, easing up everything after the actual edit a lot.

  • With "natural" here I mean "not sounding cartooney, but as a living being"! Not as in "diegetic"! :-) – Christian van Caine Oct 16 '14 at 9:36
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I don't really like the sound of VO talent recorded super close to the mic in general. For most uses I feel it sounds unnatural and also is harder to EQ and fit into the mix,mouth noises can also be exaggerated. That said I'm glad it works well for you. After getting a good edit and pulling out any mouth noises that are between words or phrases just make a pass through for any P-pops or mouth noise that I didn't get before. I usually just process with declicker on the part of the word that has the click, usually you don't even need to crossfade it. I do the same thing with any pops or movement. It goes pretty quick and in PT10 you can have multiple audiosuite plugs open so it makes it even quicker.

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    'For most uses I feel it sounds unnatural' i don't believe in 'natural' for VO, simply because the whole idea of a VO is unnatural :) – Arnoud Traa Apr 27 '14 at 19:45
  • Thats not really how I think of it- but it does depend on the overall tone your going for - larger than life vs. casual, neighborly, friendly. Either way, my other comment that it is harder to fit into a mix when extremely close miced still stands. – coaxmw Apr 27 '14 at 20:28
  • Another trick would give the talent an Apple, banana or natural Apple juice, those usually help to prevent mouth noise and we all know it's best to prevent the issue in the first place if possible. – coaxmw Apr 27 '14 at 20:34
  • thanks but i'm aware of the apple/fruit trick, alas that didn't work. unfortunately, i don't really need advice on how to mic/record an actor. i am asking for tips on how to remove noises, which in my experience are also noticeable even if you don't do extreme close mic. i have no problems placing it in the mix at all, otherwise I would have asked advice on that. BTW i'm not trying to be rude or ungrateful, i'm just looking for different answers. (and english is not my first language :) – Arnoud Traa Apr 28 '14 at 10:50
  • No offense taken Arnoud, im not trying to talk down to you either. I just highlight the click and a few surrounding frames and process with the declicker, sometimes decrackler can work better. On really tough ones spectral repair can save it. – coaxmw Apr 28 '14 at 14:46
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Try the RX Decrackler as an alternative to the Declicker. I've found it works pretty well much of the time.

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