Audio Post-Production Services
Audio post-production is an art.
Multiple processes may take place and they all contribute to enhancing your visuals.
These process include dialog editing, restoration (if and where needed), sound effects, Foley, music composition and/or editing and mixing.
Wow! That’s a plateful!
Let’s break down the process and learn how it can make the final product look and sound amazing!
Production Dialog Editing
First off, we want to start the post audio work only after the offline process has been completed, and use the picture lock edit. That is, the version of the video/film where all editing changes have been made to the visuals from start to finish.
It makes sense if you think about it.
Any changes to the visual editing after doing the audio work would actually throw the audio out of sync.
That’s why audio post production comes at the last stages of the production work (hence the “post”…)
Because dialog draws the most attention from a listener, it is arguably the most important element in audio post-production.
If the dialog sounds harsh, not loud enough or if background noises distract from it, your production will be compromised.
We therefore carefully select best takes where applicable, clean them up in editing and remove background noises if and where needed. Then we will level-match the dialog so it is consistent before reaching the mixing stage.
In a perfect world, dialog would always be recorded in a broadcast-ready studio, rendering it ready for post audio work.
However, we don’t live in a perfect world and dialog recordings often include:
- Background noises, low-frequency rumbles caused by air conditioners, hum, hiss and broadband noises which can be heard in outdoor recordings.
- Pops, crackles, spikes and clipping in the audio making it sound distorted.
- Dialog recordings performed in large rooms or halls which inherently include natural reverberation.
All these can all take away a dialog recording and need to be removed.
At Voice Crafters we use industry standard audio restoration software from Izotope, Waves and Acon Digital to restore the dialog with minimum unwanted noises and artifacts.
In this short example, you’ll hear a short testimonial speech that was recorded at an area with some background noises.
The recording level in this case was a bit high and there’s some noticeable distortion in some areas.
The audio was cleaned up and the clipping (distortion) was also removed. In addition, the harsh “S”s in the person speaking were smoothed out – all to create a much clearer version of the testimonial.
Here’s an example of a poorly recorded lecture, where the speaker’s voice is accompanied by quite a lot of background noises.
The recording level is low, relative to the noise.
A noise profile is sampled and used for cleaning up the audio. In addition, the speech level was enhanced to make it sound clear and crisp.
Sound Effects and Foley
SFX (sound effects) and Foley are sound elements that can really give a production that extra sheen or break it up.
DID YOU KNOW ?
Q – What is the difference between SFX and Foley?
A – Sound effects refer to special sound elements like gun shots, explosions, sci-fi noises like you would hear when seeing a laser bean, swishes and whooshes and sounds of that nature. Foley refers to “people” noises like footsteps, doors opening and shutting, rustling of clothes, etc.
Both SFX and Foley are applied in the post-production stage. They can be added using sampled audio or, can be specially recorded.
Our studio is equipped with massive sound libraries that include both SFX and Foley sounds that can be synched to any production.
Embedding Foley sounds is relatively straight forward. The trick with sound effects, is not too overdo them.
Of course every production is different, but we find too many SFX can take away the viewer’s attention. This is why it’s important to discuss in advance what kind of atmosphere we are trying to achieve. Often times we will consult with the client on exactly what kind of sound effects they require and where.
SFX + Mix for Innovid & Channel 4's "Alien Covenant" Video
Iמ this video, produced by our client Innovid, we added sound effects and performed the overall mixing and mastering.
The sound of the alien banging on the glass windshield was created using several layers of impact sounds mixed with glass breaking sounds.
We also altered the voice actor’s sound at 0:44 when the actor says “run” – to enhance the “scare” effect.
The usual whoosh sounds are also there at a relevantly subtle level in order not to distract from the visuals on-screen.
Soundtrack Editing + SFX for potty training How-to video
Here’s a fun and very informative how-to video produced by our client Anka Studio.
For this video, a soundtrack that was longer than the actual video was seamlessly shortened to match the length of the visuals.
We also added foley and sound effects for greater impact, and of course mixed everything together.
SFX for 5oosh Promotional Video
This video introduced 5oosh’s unique platform, which connects celebrities and fans.
Here we were asked to embed quite a lot of SFX (and to make up for the lack of background music).
Together with 5oosh’s team, we went over our vast SFX options and helped them bring their vision to reality.
You would know whether you’re watching a comedy flick in the first few seconds just by listening to the background music – even if you’d be looking at a still picture with the opening credits, right ?
Music is one of the most important elements in a production because it in itself has the power to set the mood for the viewer.
At Voice Crafters we work with thoughtful and accomplished composers who can create that memorable soundtrack for your production.
If your budget doesn’t allow for a tailored track, we can recommend music tracks from some of the best royalty-free music libraries the web has to offer – all at a fraction of the cost.
After having picked the production music of your choice, we will edit it to match the length of the production.
The final phase in the audio post-production process is mixing all the elements together.
This means bringing all tracks to a balanced level where each can be heard separately and everything together sounds like a polished production.
Mixing in itself is a skill that requires much knowhow and many years of experience.
A mix that is too dull will not allow a listener to distinguish between the various (and sometimes numerous) sound elements in the production.
A mix that is too harsh will “poke” the listener’s ears and won’t provide an overall enjoyable experience.
At Voice Crafters we use Pro Tools – the industry standard for mixing and editing most projects for an immaculate sound experience.
Once the mixing phase is complete, the track can be rendered to any audio format and delivered as is, or embedded in the video.