Teamwork - April 2012 News
With the recent college basketball championships engulfing our March, it's easy to see what it takes to make a winner: teamwork. Okay, I know it sounds cliché, but it's the same in production. If a coach only relies on one player, then the team will eventually fail. Everyone sees the other players just standing around and "phoning it in." What would you think? "Good player, but this team could be so much more." What about "Good video, but it could be so much more."
Here's your game plan:
- Spread out your offense: one forward shoots the video, the other records the sound.
- Drive the lane: one guard edits the video, the other posts the audio.
- Feed the post: slam dunk your message.
Now that's teamwork.
The reason I bring this up is I see so many productions that have great video production, but weak soundtracks. The entire package seams unfinished, like a half-hearted three-point attempt instead of a slam dunk. Why are so many soundtracks this way? Mostly from misperceptions.
The first misperception is that it's expensive to have the audio produced separately. If it wasn't planned on in the first place, then it can seem that way. It's been said that sound is half the movie. But it isn't half the cost - in fact most soundtracks are usually 15-25% of the total video production budget.
The second misperception is that producing the audio separately will take as long as the video. In most cases, again, it's in the 15-25% range of the total video production time.
The third misperception is that it's easy to add a soundtrack. Well that's actually true, because anybody can just slap together some music and narration and be done with it. But using an experienced engineer will allow the soundtrack to support and even lift the video.
Just like a point guard sets up plays for other teammates, the soundtrack provides audible cues to the message or story. Just like a forward has the tools to smoothly drive the lane, Dynamix has the right tools to smooth out the sound. Just like the center has the legs to out-rebound a smaller player, a powerful soundtrack can rise above an average one.
So c'mon coach, we want to be on your team. The crowd is chanting for a champion!
Dynamix Tech Notes
Treating location sound is a major advantage to having a sound post-production studio produce your video soundtracks. The best location sound engineer and equipment will always have audio issues, such as background noise, traffic, clothing rustle, and dull sound from hidden microphones. Even a cleanly recorded "talking head" in a shooting studio will have background rumble and noise. It simply can't be avoided with location sound. When extraneous ambience and noises are left in, the soundscape gets crowded and doesn't have room for important sounds like the voice and music. Also, the viewer might be distracted from the message when a car horn sounds or the rumble starts to make the speaker woofers rattle.
One of the first processes of post-production audio is to denoise the tracks. We have a highly-specialized software program used worldwide by major television networks and studios to remove or replace offending sounds. Izotope RX2 has an interface with a completely different view than a standard waveform. This program actually allows you to "paint" out sounds, much like you're editing a digital photo. Clipped audio can often be repaired; light buzz and hum can be removed; birds, wind, footsteps, and horns can be eliminated leaving the original sound mostly intact. I make it sound easy, and it is "easier" than it used to be, but it does require skill, precision, and experience. But I have to admit that it's really fun and satisfying to just paint away a thud or lip smack.
Recent Projects From Dynamix Productions
Television commercial soundtracks for Atchinson Heller Construction (Brand Advertising Group, Lexington, KY)
Post production for Office Depot distribution centers of safety/loss training videos (PCG Solutions, Lexington, KY)
ADR for HBO's "Tremé" series with Steve Zahn (Fee Nah Ney, New Orleans, LA)
Ongoing learning modules and sales training soundtracks for Lexmark International
Radio spots for Kentucky Association of Health Care Facilities (BK Public Affairs, Louisville, KY)
Voice-overs for Gainesway Farm and Fasig-Tipton television spots (Trapp Communications, Lexington, KY)
Television and radio campaigns for Keeneland Spring Racing (Cornett-IMS / Keeneland Association, Lexington, KY)
Voice-over for The Cooking Channel's "From the Kitchens of.." episode "Hidden Valley" (Concentric Entertainment, New York, NY)
Television and radio commercials for Clark Regional Medical Center: "OB Storybook" and "No Wait ER" (Lifepoint Hospitals, Brentwood, TN)
Radio commercial for Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky (Cornett-IMS, Lexington, KY)
"Pap 123," an educational video for young women in Kentucky and West Virginia about the HPV virus vaccine (WMBK Media, Lexington, KY)
Post-production continues on "unDeserved," a short film by Ed Smith of Georgetown College.
What Our Clients Are Saying
During the more than two decades I was in the advertising/p.r. business in central Kentucky, I had the distinct pleasure of working with Dynamix Productions on countless projects, ranging from radio and TV commercials, to corporate and educational videos, to audio books. Never once was I disappointed in any respect. My projects were always completed perfectly, on time and budget, and imbued with an unexpected level of style and creativity. This is to say nothing of the relaxed, fun atmosphere created by Neil Kesterson and his colleagues. My clients and I were fortune to have been in their hands for all those years and I will miss working with them.
former president of King & Company Communications, now retired.