Trying to fix a recording problem by editing can take longer than just asking for a re-record.
Plosives are best removed by lowering the volume, not deleting.
Clicks and external noises, if they occur in-between phrases can be deleted. Be sure to zero cross before deleting.
Develop a fast procedure for editing. A procedure that is almost automatic. Don’t be afraid to try. Be bold when selecting, deleting etc. You can always undo the edit if the editing action doesn’t work. Often “just try it” is faster than sitting there trying to figure out if this is a good thing to do or not. Then let your ears tell you if it is right or not. Undo is your friend.
Caution: Sometimes plosives, clicks and volume differences are part of the language. In Fadambu it was normal for the voice to trail off in volume at the end. When I fixed it and asked, they said absolutely no!
Give major characters that have a lot of clips their own track.
Give characters such as Satan or God their own track if effects are to be applied to all clips. This way you can apply effects non-destructively to the whole track.
Be patient and treat everyone with respect. Remember that Jesus loves people more than his recorded or written Word.
Be careful when using gestures to indicate start and stop. Always ask what gestures are acceptable and which may be offensive.
Playback speaker volume
Be sure playback speaker volume remains the same throughout the project. A volume change can affect how the language team interprets the recording. During a recording session the first clip of the morning was played back to the language team and there was a puzzled look on their faces. When asked, they said there was something wrong with the audio, but they didn’t know what. When the recordist checked the equipment he noticed the playback speaker’s volume had been changed. Resetting the volume to what it was before, according to his notes, the language team said it sounded correct. The moral of the story is volume level can affect how the sound is perceived.
You just recorded where a certain talent’s voice fades towards the end of clips. You play the clip for the language team to hear and their response is “sound good”. You know previous talent didn’t do this. The problem may be due to age and/or health. Now what do you do?
You may have a plosive from the letter p and to them it sounds OK. Be careful that the plosive is not part of the language. If it is not, do you ask if it’s OK or do you fix it before playing back for the language team?
The best thing to do with noises and volume differences is fix the problem before playing back to the language team. They often do not know what you are asking as their amazing brain filters out the error.
The recordist should have a mental or digital picture taken from the recordist position of the talent’s seating position and mic position. The recordist may have to remind the talent of the correct mic distance or to sit up if they begin to slouch.
Be aware of the talent’s position during recording and if they are turning their head or moving away from the mic as they speak. Consider using a good headset mic.
When recording a clip, if you see red on the VU meter you need to stop recording immediately and re-record. Distortion cannot be fixed and it is a waste of time to try.
Talent repeatedly makes a mistake on word or phrase
In spite of what we suggest there are times when it is necessary to keep recording after a talent’s mistake. If the talent is consistently stumbling over a word or phrase, indicate to repeat immediately after the mistake until they get it right, while you continue to record. If, after 5 or so times they still haven’t got it right, stop recording delete all tries and record again using the above procedure.
Re-recording a mistake
If after recording a clip, a mistake is found that can be re-recorded and inserted, always re-record the part at the end of the clip. If correct, then cut and paste into the correct position and delete the mistake. Make sure the volume and vocal presence is the same as the audio before and after the inserted audio.
This is not a volume issue as consistent volume is assumed. A voice change with the same talent can happen between clips recorded before and after breaks, meals and especially overnight. Always put a clip recorded before and after together to check for voice change. A change can be caused by talent needing to warm up voice or mic placement.
•Most important: Record with editing in mind! Don’t let the recording run all the time. While at times it may be necessary, it creates more editing.
• Start recording and signal talent to begin.
• After recording a clip listen in your headphones and edit any spaces noises before playing the clip for the talent on the speakers. Having the talent listen while you edit fatigues them.
• After recording entire clip (not the parts) listen to the clip and do quick editing to remove mistakes, obvious noises and approximate the spacing between punctuation.
• Play the clip for the talent through the speakers.
• If changes need to be made, make the changes listening in the headphones and then play it back to the talent. Otherwise move on to record the next clip.
• Make sure table layout is such that the recording team has a good view of talent and prompter and can be clearly seen
• Program keyboard shortcuts – use both hands
• File naming conventions – Don’t let the software control the file names
• Project file locations. Always create a project folder to contain all of the project’s files. You may want subfolders for scripts and other documents.
• Workspaces for different types of projects
• Zero cross
• Speed adjustments to make clip fit (no more than + – 7%)
• Develop Realistic Expectations
It is important to maintain realistic expectations when seeking a “best practice” and to be wary of “internal validity problems.”
• Observe and Analyze the Practice
When adapting best practices for other sites, it is important to identify the core essence of the practice while allowing flexibility for how it is implemented so it remains sensitive to local conditions. Best practices are adaptable to various conditions, have various operational features, and can employ similar but diverse ways to achieve their goals.
• Will It Work Here?
Policy cannot be rigid.