Room tone in a production recording is valuable stuff. Scott Hirsch describes how to use tone to smooth out an edit, as well as how to cull it from a recording or—worst-case scenario—create it from next to nothing.
- [Instructor] If you've spent any time editing dialogue, you know how important it is to fill gaps with room tone that matches the rest of the production for a scene. While it's common practice to record tone on set, it's not always guaranteed that you'll get usable tone when it comes time to edit. So what do we do? Well, we get crafty. This week I want to show you a couple techniques on how to find, clean, and ultimately use tone to help patch a scene. So if you remember from last week, we edited this scene to have the lav support the boom. You notice though, we had to cut around a bunch of noisy sections of the lav.
Now this might be okay, but what you really ideally want is to fill in all the gaps. Otherwise, then you hear the lav coming and going as it's patching in to reinforce the boom. So we would need to look for room tone. Now remember, a lot of the tone that you'll have in between dialogue in this scene, is noisy. So if I pull this out, we don't have very good tone. Right, there's lots of noise in that. What we need to do is look for an area of tone that's somewhat usable, and then see what we can do from there.
So I might just start pulling stuff down into a track below. If I just hold control and option, it'll keep it in the same place, and make a copy of it as I go into a track below. I'll just use dialogue eight as my editing track. Now I want to pull out some of these sections, and see if there's usable tone. Well there looks like a really good chunk, right there. And I want to take a listen to this, and see how noisy it is. Solo out the track. Okay, it's pretty clean, but I do hear a couple little sections of noise in there.
So this is what I would do in this situation, and I'm going to go and use a special piece of software called iZotope to clean up this tone, so that I can use it all through the lav track. So the idea is, by the time I'm done cleaning it, I'll have this little section of tone that I can use to patch in anywhere I need in this scene. So first thing I'll do is trim it. So command T, just to trim that section. And then I'll go up to the audio suite, under noise reduction. I can use RX 7, connect. And what this does, is it sends it out of Pro Tools, into iZotope, so that we can de-noise it, and then bring it back to Pro Tools.
So I'm going to click send. Brings it into iZotope. Now we have a nice spectrum view. And you can really kind of see where the little noisy sections of the tone is. So what iZotope allows you to do, if you haven't used it, is you can use these different modules. And I'm going to use the spectral repair module, and that's this one. This is just a default setting for attenuate. And what this allows me to do, is to click and drag around certain sections, and just click render, and it'll actually de-noise those sections. So I'm going to get rid of these little noisy anomalies in the tone track, and trying to clean it up as much as possible, so that I can use it as an overall tone track.
Notice I'm just picking out anything that's standing out. Okay, I see some little bumps and stuff in the low end here. And I want to listen, and just make sure one more little thing to get out of there. I just want to listen through now and see how consistent it is. I still heard a little noise right there, so get rid of that. All right, so now it's a lot more consistent. Now that I've done that work, I'm going to click send back. It goes back into the audio suite plug in, and I can click render, and it renders that newly cleaned tone file back to Pro Tools.
Now I can name this scene two lav, for example. And we'll give it that nice name so I remember what it is. And now I can use it to patch all of these holes in the lav track. So what I would do at this point, is copy it to my clipboard, command C. And I would go up into the lav track, and I'd make a selection to fill in the gap. So if I make a selection like this between two regions, and then there's a special paste command, not command V, but option command V.
That'll paste just exactly to your selection boundaries. So I'll paste in the tone to fill all of these gaps. And notice I'm doing a little bit of overlap here, because I'm going to cross fade into it. And I'll do one at the end here, just to fade out of at the end of that scene. So the next thing I want to do, is just to make it a little bit seamless, is to do some cross fading. So use the F key, making selections over the boundaries. And sometimes the boundary wasn't big enough, so I can just click adjust bounds, and it'll auto adjust that for us.
So we're just tryin' to seamlessly fade in and out of the lav and the tone that we just created. And then I'll do one long fade at the end just to get out of there. If you do a long fade like this, you don't notice it leaving as much as you would if you were just to cut it off instantaneously. So now let's take a listen and see how much this tone helps this lav track seem a lot more seamless than it would've been just popping in and out. - Is it ready? Well, 6 p.m.
- [Instructor] Okay, a lot better. And then we combine it with the boom track, we have a much more seamless dialogue track for our scene. - Is it ready? - No. - Well, 6 p.m. - [Instructor] So tone is as valuable as gold when you're doing dialogue editing. And I hope that you can see here, a little bit can go a long way, as long as you know how, and where to get it.