Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Catch the Exciting Second Episode

What?! You didn't stay home Saturday to watch the second episode of this new local crime show I'm working on? Well don't panic, there is still time to watch it on the website. Go here, look at the video window on the right, and view the video list. The second episode is on top. For this, I did audio on the host segments and voiceovers only, which were shot the same harrowing night as those for the first episode, as described in I'm Tired Y'all part 3 of 5. (I also worked on some other parts of the first episode as noted at the end of my posting about the premiere party.

As I said in the premiere party posting, after we all viewed the first episode, the host complained that he sounded like he had a lisp. Nobody else at the party thought he sounded funny, but just between myself and you dear blog readers, I did suspect that the positioning of the microphone high in his shirt was what made it sound odd to him. For the second episode host segments, I had positioned the mic lower on his clothing. That made his voice seem more natural in the headphones at the time.

Now I think I'm hearing another small problem. I know I should not judge audio quality by compressed streaming media, but after viewing the second episode on the website, I'm thinking the host sounds slightly muffled compared to how other folks sound on interviews I did not work on. The reason for the difference is that I hid the mic in the host's clothes, while on the other interviews, done by their in-house audio guy, the mic is visible. The host's sound on my segments is probably as good as it can get if I insist on keeping the microphone hidden. But these are news folks. They are "grab and go," accustomed to clipping the mic on the outside of the clothes and just hearing what they say, that's what mics are for after all. I had thought I could show them a thing or two about the advantages of hiring a freelance audio guy -- look how we hide the mics, like magic! But I have a feeling I'm gonna get asked to cool it with the funny stuff, to quit the fancy-pants reality TV/movie audio mic hiding, and just clip the damn thing to his lapel, now, we don't have all day. It's not that I'm even much of a reality TV/movie guy, but I do feel that hiding microphones is one of the craftiest things audio people do, and I try to do it unless it's really run-and-gun business for Inside Edition, or a live news shot.

If they ask me to leave the mic exposed, I won't argue. I don't have much of a case for hiding it, really. The host segments are "studio shots" (though it's really shot on a crappy rubble-riddled location which looks like an lavishly decorated studio) and in such cases mics are usually visible. I just like hiding it because it's a challenge. It makes me feel like I'm doing something. Otherwise, any monkey could do what I have to do in a studio shot. But they ain't paying me to feel good about my work. They're just paying me to do it.

Also, though I have virtually no post-audio experience, I think the editor could apply some equalization to the host's voice to make the mic sound less muffled. Maybe the editor could just boost the high end a little. But again, that's fruity movie stuff, and these are news people.

Well, I should hear the show uncompressed before making any judgments on audio quality.

This makes me want to buy a top-model computer and audio software, get a copy of my raw audio, and fuss with it myself to see if I can make that hidden mic sound better. Ah, so much to buy, all of it so expensive.

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