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In this course, professional audio engineer Scott Hirsch shows how to create an evocative sound mix for a film or video, built from basic audio collected during the shoot and transformed into a final mix using Pro Tools 9. This course shows how to set up and optimize a Pro Tools session template for projects with unique requirements, record Foley and ADR audio, layer sound effects, perform corrections such as noise reduction and pitch shifting, mix for stereo and 5.1 surround sound, and finally, how to format and deliver the finalized mix, whether destined for DVD, movie theater, broadcast, or the web.
Once you have your automated dialogue replacement or ADR recorded, you might not be able to decide the best take until you hear it with the rest of the sound design. This is why it's important to use dummy regions in your original record session and always record at the same start point. By doing this you ensure that you can use matching takes as you bring them into your final session and you can audition all the takes you have and find out which one works the best. While you're editing you also might want to lay in tone underneath the ADR so it fits with the rest of the scene. As you can see here in this session I've got our original guide track up top, DX 1.
That's what we're replacing. Let's take a listen to that and just hear why we might want to replace it. So I am going to solo that track. (Women speaking: 230 StarLight Road?) So you can hear the line is 230 Starlight Road and the actress actually said it very quietly and there happens to be a bit of noise, so that's a prime candidate for something that we'd want to ADR. But some of that noise we are going to want to put back in because when we hear just the ADR alone it's going to sound like all of a sudden she is not in any space at all. So I've gone ahead and laid in some tone underneath that will match the track and here's where we brought in our ADR.
Let's take a listen to the first ADR take. Solo that out. (Women speaking: 230 StarLight Road?) So it's a much more clean recording and going back to the matching takes, to hear all of those I can double-click to select the track and Command+Click or Ctrl+Click this region. I can see there is our alternate take, so we heard the first one. Let's listen to the second one. (Women speaking: 230 StarLight Road?) And we'll hear the third one -- (Women speaking: 230 StarLight Road?) So my favorite for this is the second take. I like that one the most and I think it will line up the best, so we're going to go with that one.
It matches fairly well if you watch it. Let's hear it with the tone and I will mute the original guide track. (Women speaking: 230 StarLight Road?) It's pretty good but we can get that better. So first thing we're going to do is just a little straight up audio editing and kind of match it as good as we can, so I am going to grab the Trimmer tool and trim up the head of this ADR take and I will trim the tail a little bit and I am going to zoom in a bunch and even just usually using the guide track you can see where the words land and kind of get it a little closer to where that is.
But it's not going to be perfect because as you can see if I zoom out a little bit, the end is a little short it seems like. Again, you can also listen to both tracks together to hear how are they working. (Women speaking: 230 StarLight Road?) So it's fairly close at this point, but we can use another tool to get it even closer and that tool is called VocALign. VocALign a lot of people use in music for background vocals to get them to line up perfectly with the lead vocal. Here we're going to use it just to go that extra mile with our ADR and get it to line up exactly perfect.
So VocALign uses an algorithm where it kind of looks at a guide track and stretches or shrinks your audio to match that guide track. So let's go up into the AudioSuite and we're going to open VocALign and we're using VocALign Project LE here, which is part of the original DV Toolkit. When I upgraded to the Complete Production Toolkit 2 on my system, I already had the authorization for this plug-in on my iLok and how this works is you have to load in your guide track and then you load in what VocALign calls your dub track, which is the track that we're going to be affecting.
So a couple of settings you need to go through here. It says Stereo Dub. We are actually working with the mono file, so we want to change that to a Mono Dub and we want to select the destination track, which in this case a destination track is the ADR track here. So let's go up and say ADR. And we're going to select the guide track or the guide region. Click on Guide to make sure that's active and I am going to hit Capture and that will load in our guide track. So that's the visual waveform of our guide track.
Then we're going to go down and select Dub in the VocALign and select Capture. So we've now got our guide track loaded and our dub track loaded. The next step is to click the Align button on the left and you can see a visual representation on the guide track of how it's going to stretch the dub track to match. The next thing we're going to look at is there are few settings to how VocALign processes this algorithm to stretch or shrink and right now it's in Normal Flexibility. If we go higher, it goes to High Flexibility or even the highest is Maximum Expansion.
So you'd use that if you're actually stretching your audio out. If we go to the beginning or the lower number, it's Maximum Compression, so in that direction if you're shrinking your audio. The only way to really know what these are going to sound like is to listen to them. So let's hear what Maximum Compression sounds like first. We'll click Align again and preview it. (Women speaking: 230 StarLight Road?) So to my ears I can hear a little bit of artifacting in that setting. Let's try Maximum Expansion. Click Align again and preview that. (Women speaking: 230 StarLight Road?) Yeah, I definitely heard some artifacting there.
And let's try Normal Flexibility, which is usually the default setting that I start with. (Women speaking: 230 StarLight Road?) Okay. So let's go with that for now and see what we end up with when we process. So everything is good. We've clicked Align, Normal Flexibility, and the last step is to click Process and you see it renamed our region adr-VOAI. That's our VocALign region and we'll go in here and zoom in. Close the VocALign plug-in for a second. You can see how well it actually went and lined up our audio.
So the beginning and end now look pretty good, but seeing is not as good as hearing, so let's actually take a listen to both tracks together. (Women speaking: 230 StarLight Road?) So they're even tighter combined and let's now hear the ADR just by itself in the track. (Women speaking: 230 StarLight Road?) So that matches pretty well. It's ironic that when you're working on ADR the best outcome is that no one notices the work you've done. Editing ADR is definitely thankless work, but tools like VocALign and some careful editing can really make a huge difference in dialogue tracks.
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