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Dear All,

So I'm working on a video right now where there are a lot of different people reading the same thing and every half sentence or so there is a cut to another person but the director wants the person it cuts from to still be reading.

Now, I'm fooling around with different voice effects to put on the voice of the person who is off screen rather than just muting them or fading them down.. It's also during a part with very ethereal interviews as opposed to regular sit-down interviews I.E. extreme close-ups on the people and dramatic lighting etc...

It's somewhat like this video at 2:40.

[youtube]UFeHoMhuz7A&feature=related[/youtube]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFeHoMhuz7A&feature=related

Any suggestions?

Your help is tremendously appreciated!

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Not knowing exactly what you're working with, I'd stay away from any dramatic reverb and delay for something like this, especially if you're truly stacking voices. It could get muddy really fast. Our goal as designers when treating voices, in my humble opinion, is not to get in the way of what is being said.

If they are indeed reading the same thing, I'd suggest exactly syncing to the syllable the people reading off screen to the person reading on screen. If the takes aren't very close, cut them or run Vocalalign on them to get them matched up. Then just play around with stacking/morphing identically synced voices. These sort of tight layers sound really nice, and you don't loose any definition in the voice. You could start gradually panning the off screen voices to build an LCR image, or filtering so you loose some of the body of the off screen voice etc..

  • Thanks. Good point. KISS applies here, I guess. I think I'm violating advice I gave someone recently, which is don't call attention to the effects you use for the sake of "cool soundtracks". – Utopia Sep 3 '10 at 1:16
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Preverb and pre-delay; reverse the audio, apply a thick reverb and delay, and then reverse the audio again so the repeats and echo build into it.

  • Ah nice. Kind of like the reverse reverb trick w/ delay. – Utopia Sep 2 '10 at 21:18
  • @Dave, @Ryan, I never really got it when people say delay adds thickness to a sound. Even tiny little amounts of delay make it sound tinny for me... is there something I'm doing wrong? – Justin Huss Sep 2 '10 at 22:10
  • It could just be the delay you're using. I believe anything under 10ms will start to act as a phaser, so that may be the issue, too. I'll double check my settings when I get home on the few guitar solos I've used it on. – Dave Matney Sep 2 '10 at 22:51
  • A controllable phaser, that is -- like a Q-tron is to a wah, a tight delay can be to phase. – Dave Matney Sep 2 '10 at 22:52
  • @Ryan -- try adjusting the speed of your delay, too, so it starts off slow and ramps up into the sound (or, ramps down out of the reversed sound, as the case actually is) – Dave Matney Sep 2 '10 at 22:53
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Simple EQ/filtering and volume/pan changes can help a lot. As mentioned already, reverb and delays can only mess things up especially if there are a LOT of voices.

Start by filtering/shelving off the highs and the upper mids (900Hz-4kHz) as that will take the intelligibility out of the voice and leave room for the new voice that needs to be heard.

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