Episode 6 was shot in the afternoon. The outside temperature was in the 90’s, so all the air conditioning was running. We turned off the studio air conditioning while the cameras were running, but there was a fan and a vent that were controlled from a different source. The following week we learned they could be turned off by a will switch next to the switch that controlled the ON AIR light. In any event, this extra environmental noise made it necessary to delve into noise reduction.
It turns out; the default settings in Premiere Pro for noise reduction are pretty heavy handed. It gets rid of almost all of the noise, but leaves a lot of phase cancellation and other artifacts on what’s left. I imported these files into Cubase and spent a lot of time with EQ, gates, and compression, trying to get a more natural sound. I finally got an acceptable audio track, but the process took a lot of work. Then one evening, I was watching an Audacity tutorial and I realized that noise reduction is a compromise between the threshold and sensitivity settings. The less noise reduction, the fewer artifacts left on the audio. So, by settling for a very small amount of noise, you reduce the time spent repairing the audio track! Something to try for Episode 7.
We incorporated the lessons learned from Episode 4 regarding camera angles. Since the guest and host are nearly facing each other, we had to position each camera almost over the shoulder of one of them to get a good shot at the other’s face. For the wide shots, we had to move one of the cameras to a more central location.
The audio was recorded through DMA’s audio chain, with a separate output recorded on a digital audio recorder. Since the audio to the recorder didn’t pass through any other equipment, it was uncompressed and free of hum and other electronic noise. I processed this audio in my home studio and then inserted it back into the video in post-production. This process eliminated the hum and other electronic noise present in the earlier episodes, but that made the environmental noise (traffic, air conditioning, etc.) more noticeable.
We’ve got our studio procedures pretty much under control now, and this resulted in a smooth flow from artist to artist. Everyone knew what they were supposed to do, and we finished shooting the episode ahead of schedule.