November 25, 2014 at 7:13AM
Audio levels - how do you make sure everyone hears what you're hearing?
What's the best way to avoid the frustration that you feel when you realize that your piece sounds completely different on nearly every single computer/setup that you watch it on? In other words, the sound levels are off compared to what you've been hearing whilst editing (and as you've been working hard on getting the levels right, this is frustrating).
Below is my particular case study - but I can imagine that this can happen all the time (or maybe it's just me!). It happens with the actual look of the video as well but I'd just like to talk about the audio here. In my case, the main audio is always fine (voices/interviews) but the music and other sound effects seem to take a hit on various different setups.
How do you guys make sure your piece works across all sorts of different setups and scenarios? Is there a simple trick I'm missing? Do I need to watch out for system settings that might be affecting what I hear on my particular computer (I'm on PPro CS6 and Windows 7)? Do I need to get different headphones or do I just need to play it on as many different computers/setups as I can?
I've had this experience recently and the work isn't even complex. In this case, it was basically corporate interviews with some nice music and the occasional sound effect underneath - so the main thing is to balance the voice and the music (make sure you can hear the person well but also make sure the music has an effect).
I edited it using Audio-Technica ATH-M50X headphones in PremierePro CS6 and of course, it sounded great to me.
The video was then played on a bigish screen (where they'd normally just be showing PowerPoint presentation so it definitely wasn't adjusted beforehand or anything fancy like that). You could understand everything (most important) but a lot of the music basically disappeared and I feel that diminished the effect somewhat (frustrating for me).
I'm now trying to fix the levels - so I upped the music a bit. It sounds good with the Audio-Technica and ok using Sennheiser HD 201. So I listened to it on a MacBook (inbuilt loudspeakers) and most of the music is barely audible (again). This is especially the case for the more subtle music (which makes sense). Some of the sound effects also aren't audible but the but the interview audio is fine. The video will be made available to the staff of the company and they'll play it on who knows what kind of setups (I suppose Windows and basic headphones). I'll get my hands on the headphones they might be using but what I really want is a one size fits all solution!!!
Your opinions/views/experience would be greatly appreciated!