Latest post Wed, Sep 26 2012 3:10 AM by tawlif. 9 replies.
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  • Sun, Sep 23 2012 3:31 PM

    background music levels

    I am editing a massage instructional video and the instructor talks intermittently. I am laying in a peaceful track from Sonic fire as background music. 

    I have dont the sound design to bring the vocal levels to peak at between -14 and -20. What levels would you guys set the background music when the instructor is talking vs not talking?

    I want the music to swell in and out when she speaks but almost un-noticeably. 

     

    Thanks!

    HP Pavilion dv7 Notebook Intel Core i7-3820QM @2.7ghz 8 gig RAM Windows 7 Pro SP1 64 bit [view my complete system specs]
  • Sun, Sep 23 2012 3:59 PM In reply to

    • smrpix
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    Re: background music levels

    This is an aesthetic question, not a technical one.  There are so many variables based on the type of music and the dynamics and quality of the speakers voice. 

     

    As a starting point try 6 to 12 db below whatever level the music feels right at without the speaker.

     

    Use your ears and adjust to taste.

  • Sun, Sep 23 2012 5:35 PM In reply to

    Re: background music levels

    And hopefully you have a high quality, full dynamic range, smooth frequency response audio monitoring system so you can hear your mix ratios accurately. With the exception of the no longer available Logitech Z10s, computer audio speakers are little more than pitiful, portable, plastic picnic players and are woefully insufficient for detailed audio work.

    Newscutter Nitris DX 9.5.3.5 * Media Composer 5.5.3.6 (At Home on PC running XP Pro) * Symphony 6.5.2.1 (At home on MacBook Pro3,1 running 10.7.2) * Interplay... [view my complete system specs]

    Larry Rubin

    Senior Editor

    The Pentagon Channel

    www.pentagonchannel.mil

  • Sun, Sep 23 2012 6:55 PM In reply to

    Re: background music levels

    I use Tascam HP-VT1 headphones on a custom built HP laptop with "Beats" audio. 

    HP Pavilion dv7 Notebook Intel Core i7-3820QM @2.7ghz 8 gig RAM Windows 7 Pro SP1 64 bit [view my complete system specs]
  • Sun, Sep 23 2012 7:16 PM In reply to

    Re: background music levels

    filmschlumpf:
    I use Tascam HP-VT1 headphones...

    Then I hope your presentation to the audience is always over headphones, because the mix ratio of different audio components will sound entirely different between headphones and open air speakers: which may be indoors, with room acoustics involved, or outdooors with no acoustic control whatsoever including distance delays, which can be a big challenge to get acceptable results.

    Newscutter Nitris DX 9.5.3.5 * Media Composer 5.5.3.6 (At Home on PC running XP Pro) * Symphony 6.5.2.1 (At home on MacBook Pro3,1 running 10.7.2) * Interplay... [view my complete system specs]

    Larry Rubin

    Senior Editor

    The Pentagon Channel

    www.pentagonchannel.mil

  • Sun, Sep 23 2012 8:15 PM In reply to

    Re: background music levels

    Yes, I really appreciate this, which was the reason for the question. 

    When I learned in FCP7, the rule was -6 to -12 for audio. Around -20 to -26 for ambient. 

    I was just curious about others approach to this. Most of the audience will either watch this video on a TV or their computer. 

    In the Lynda.com audio tutorials, they instruct vocals to -14 to -20 on the RP side of the Audio Tool. I have this set and balanced throughout. So, that lead me to think there would be a typical or standard range for background music. Currently, I'm using -30 to -35 for backgound. The only thing I know to do is set it up that way and try a small export. See how it sounds. 

    Let me know if there are any ranges that have worked for you guys and gals. 

    HP Pavilion dv7 Notebook Intel Core i7-3820QM @2.7ghz 8 gig RAM Windows 7 Pro SP1 64 bit [view my complete system specs]
  • Sun, Sep 23 2012 8:29 PM In reply to

    Re: background music levels

    smrpix:
    ...whatever level the music feels right at without the speaker. Use your ears and adjust to taste.

    That's very good advice and basically what it all comes down to anyway. Because music structure and arrangement is so varied, you really can't pin down a specific level range for "music under", especially when you factor the presence of brass horns, which can be a real challenge to control as under levels. The main objective is to not have audio components in the mix compete for the audience's attention with a critical voice track, wherever the ratio levels need to be to accomplish that.

    But if you want to talk standards, the North American digital audio delivery standards are usually -20db for average levels and -10db for transient peak levels.

     

    Newscutter Nitris DX 9.5.3.5 * Media Composer 5.5.3.6 (At Home on PC running XP Pro) * Symphony 6.5.2.1 (At home on MacBook Pro3,1 running 10.7.2) * Interplay... [view my complete system specs]

    Larry Rubin

    Senior Editor

    The Pentagon Channel

    www.pentagonchannel.mil

  • Mon, Sep 24 2012 5:35 PM In reply to

    Re: background music levels

    Christopher,

    A great trick is to use a little compression to tighten up the vocal track and raise it's level in the mix.   Then you can sneak your music in and out around more consistent vocal levels.

    MC 2018.4 with Symphony, Matrox MX02 Mini Max, Win 7 Pro, HP Z800 2x6-Core 3.2Ghz Xeon, 48GB ram, Quadro K4200, SanDisk Extreme 240GB SSD as system drive... [view my complete system specs]

    I have a fantastic editing assistant.  He stays by my side when I edit...doesn't talk too much...and thinks I'm a genius!    Check him out here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQVkYaaPO6g

  • Tue, Sep 25 2012 9:13 AM In reply to

    • anthas
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    • Hemer, Germany
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    Re: background music levels

    Hi Christopher

    I fully agree with what has been replied so far. I also find it quite delicately to achieve the right mix between music, admo and narration.

    In addition to what has been said I prefer to add an EQ and transition to the music track while the speaker is active to lower higher frequencies which enhances the presence of the voice in return.

    And again, it’s a matter of personal taste and a decent loudspeaker environment. There sure is a difference between headsets and studio speakers.

    Good luck

    Ernst

     

    MC8.5.3 + Symphony Option, Artist DNxIO, Protools 12.5, Eucon 3.2, Artist Transport + Color + Mix, HP Z840 32GB, Windows 10x64, Internal-SSD, System Raid... [view my complete system specs]
  • Wed, Sep 26 2012 3:10 AM In reply to

    • tawlif
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    Re: background music levels

    ... as for the choice of speakers,

    i very much recommend to you investing in the Roland MA-12

    old (maybe discontinued), affordable and most of all very reliable.

    MacPro Dual 2.8GHz Xeon (Quad-core) Harpertown 14Gb MacOS 10.7.5 Media Composer/Symphony 7.0 [view my complete system specs]


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