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I saw Cosmos on TV and the narrator's voice quality was all over the place. Dynamics Plugins
Old 29th March 2014
  #121
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Henchman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by TVPostSound View Post
That would be Rick Steele??
Yes
Old 29th March 2014
  #122
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnOmix View Post
Good thing you are on PT 10 over there and have clip gain! Can you imagine doing it without it?
I can really sympathize here. I use Samplitude and have had full controls on clips..(objects)..volume, EQ, pitch shifting, VST and built in FX.etc... For years and years. I would think this kind of control would help a lot for this work.
Old 2nd April 2014
  #123
I saw the forth installment of the Cosmos series on Sunday night. I well done job overall but in a couple of places I can very clearly hear a real change in ambiance and eq in the announcers voice. I am just curious do the producers of this epic ever listen to the sound on good monitors or are they so worried about the video aspects they really don't care about the audio? I am only bringing this up as the video and CGI look GREAT. I know you are under intense pressures to get this in and out the door but...is it that they just don't care or are the pressures on you so great with so many last minute changes that it cannot be done and still meet the deadlines? Just a questions from the sidelines as a viewer and listener.
Old 2nd April 2014
  #124
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Isn't this exactly the same question you asked when you started this thread 5 pages ago? To my mind, Henchman (among others) has answered as candidly as possible given the 'producers of this epic' are his clients.
Old 2nd April 2014
  #125
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Originally Posted by njrsound View Post
Isn't this exactly the same question you asked when you started this thread 5 pages ago? To my mind, Henchman (among others) has answered as candidly as possible given the 'producers of this epic' are his clients.
Well I am confused. This "epic" is costing millions of dollars. Why is it that the graphics, the video and the CGI all look GREAT but the audio sounds like it was patched together and I can clearly hear differences in ambiance and eq? I do an awful lot of audio for radio, TV, CD and DVDs and honestly I would not accept what I am hearing on the TV audio. It is not a dig a Henchman, who I have a lot of respect for, but it is somewhat disconcerting that a multimillion dollar epic does not have the same level of quality for all the various elements. So my questions are basically fact finding. If this is too sensitive to cover here in public I will write Henchman a PM. Thanks for your input.
Old 2nd April 2014
  #126
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Thomas, I think all of us here listen a little differently. I have done some horrible work with what you got patch jobs and NONE of the producers noticed it. The other engineers here clearly heard the frankenstein work, but clearly it was perfect for the untrained ear. Just like you can read a misspelled word, so long as it sounds close, your ear/brain will make the connection.

Get crappier speakers, and fuhgetaboutit.

heh
Old 2nd April 2014
  #127
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
Well I am confused. This "epic" is costing millions of dollars. Why is it that the graphics, the video and the CGI all look GREAT but the audio sounds like it was patched together and I can clearly hear differences in ambiance and eq? I do an awful lot of audio for radio, TV, CD and DVDs and honestly I would not accept what I am hearing on the TV audio. It is not a dig a Henchman, who I have a lot of respect for, but it is somewhat disconcerting that a multimillion dollar epic does not have the same level of quality for all the various elements. So my questions are basically fact finding. If this is too sensitive to cover here in public I will write Henchman a PM. Thanks for your input.
Perhaps it would be a question better asked of the show's producers.
Old 2nd April 2014
  #128
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The thing is, I reckon the Producers/Editors will always write for the story/impact FIRST. And to hell with anything being Franken-bited or "technical issues" with the sound being in the way.

This is what they want and they just know that Hench will do his best to make it sound the best he can.

Also Neil deGrasse Tyson is one of the busiest guys in the world, like, ever I imagine. (As said before in this thread) - the chances of a VO redo are non-existant to mythical I imagine. Just gotta hope the Production Sound team do the best job they can in the situation.
Old 2nd April 2014
  #129
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It IS a patchwork. Especially the VO.
It's very frustrating.
Every documentary I have ever worked on, they go through, edit it, use temp VO, then when all is said and done, the week or so before the mix, they go and record the VO from beginning to end.

Not this show. Again, there are VO lines that the first sentence was recorded in one place the rest of the line another location, and on top of it, they want the VO to roll in and out of production, and not have a big difference. So, First I have to try and make these lines match, where some of them have been recorded in the editing suite, then, going in and out of production, I have to make that a smooth transition, using eq automation to start it sounding closer to production moving into VO sound back into Production.

All the while making every syllable heard, even though the drop off in a sentence can easily be 20-30 db. So, I am clipgaining ends of words all over the place. Considering he never stops talking, it's a bit of work to get done in a day and a half, to be ready for playback for the AP.
Good times.
Old 2nd April 2014
  #130
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henchman View Post
It IS a patchwork. Especially the VO.
It's very frustrating.
Every documentary I have ever worked on, they go through, edit it, use temp VO, then when all is said and done, the week or so before the mix, they go and record the VO from beginning to end.

Not this show. Again, there are VO lines that the first sentence was recorded in one place the rest of the line another location, and on top of it, they want the VO to roll in and out of production, and not have a big difference. So, First I have to try and make these lines match, where some of them have been recorded in the editing suite, then, going in and out of production, I have to make that a smooth transition, using eq automation to start it sounding closer to production moving into VO sound back into Production.

All the while making every syllable heard, even though the drop off in a sentence can easily be 20-30 db. So, I am clipgaining ends of words all over the place. Considering he never stops talking, it's a bit of work to get done in a day and a half, to be ready for playback for the AP.
Good times.
You rocked it. It soured great at my house.
Old 2nd April 2014
  #131
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fajita View Post
You rocked it. It soured great at my house.
Sorry it soured your house.
I'll try harder.
Old 2nd April 2014
  #132
Quote:
Originally Posted by Henchman View Post
It IS a patchwork. Especially the VO.
It's very frustrating.
Every documentary I have ever worked on, they go through, edit it, use temp VO, then when all is said and done, the week or so before the mix, they go and record the VO from beginning to end.

Not this show. Again, there are VO lines that the first sentence was recorded in one place the rest of the line another location, and on top of it, they want the VO to roll in and out of production, and not have a big difference. So, First I have to try and make these lines match, where some of them have been recorded in the editing suite, then, going in and out of production, I have to make that a smooth transition, using eq automation to start it sounding closer to production moving into VO sound back into Production.

All the while making every syllable heard, even though the drop off in a sentence can easily be 20-30 db. So, I am clipgaining ends of words all over the place. Considering he never stops talking, it's a bit of work to get done in a day and a half, to be ready for playback for the AP.
Good times.
OK NOW I understand. Thanks soooooooo much!
Old 3rd April 2014
  #133
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Airon's Avatar
 

Having a good time with this show, listening to a stereo mix. The trained ear hears where the bits and pieces might have come from, but the valiant effort to smooth it out leaves the average listener with a great experience. I certainly enjoy it and fail to cringe .

Damn smooth music for a TV show. Love the great ideas in the sound design too.

Enjoyed the event horizon sequence in episode 4 enormously. Played really nicely on my Blueskies . Made me want to rewatch it and turn it up. I'll probably rent the Blueray just for that sequence when it comes out.
Old 4th April 2014
  #134
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fajita View Post
You rocked it. It soured great at my house.
Damn thats a little harsh

It sounds like the producers are scared of VO? Like they don't want the listener to know he's not talking to them from the various locations.... Must be a massive pain to match, great job overall.

I have mixed feelings about the style of the show but I'm still impressed an educational show landed a good time slot on a network this day and age. Maybe the future is not all bleak. Hope some kids are watching.
Old 4th April 2014
  #135
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paulo m's Avatar
 

I actually found the series a bit boring in the narrative, couldn´t watch a full episode.

Although some CGI is well done, the overall product didn´t convince me.

Regarding the VO and the dificulties that Henchman described, due to the VO lines being recorded everywhere and needed to be patched, I guess it´s a living proof that some productions even on a big scale like this one, don´t really care about certain aspects of the field production, sound in this case.

To a certain extent, it´s pure amateur practices...
Old 4th April 2014
  #136
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulo m View Post
Regarding the VO and the dificulties that Henchman described, due to the VO lines being recorded everywhere and needed to be patched, I guess it´s a living proof that some productions even on a big scale like this one, don´t really care about certain aspects of the field production, sound in this case.

To a certain extent, it´s pure amateur practices...
I think that's a little harsh. I have yet to meet a producer that didn't care about quality. In my experience they are either A) uneducated about how to achieve a quality audio mix or B) just doing the best they can with the time/budget/logistic constraints they are presented with.

At the end of the day nearly 5 million people watched Cosmos and I'm willing to bet nearly 99.9999999% of them thought the VO audio quality sounded just fine.
Old 4th April 2014
  #137
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RecRoom View Post
I think that's a little harsh. I have yet to meet a producer that didn't care about quality. In my experience they are either A) uneducated about how to achieve a quality audio mix or B) just doing the best they can with the time/budget/logistic constraints they are presented with.

At the end of the day nearly 5 million people watched Cosmos and I'm willing to bet nearly 99.9999999% of them thought the VO audio quality sounded just fine.
I didn´t say anywhere on my comment, that the posted VO sounded bad. Considering the aspects that Henchman described and from the bits I´ve heard, I guess most people will find it fine as you say.

As professionals, we can spot things that common listeners don´t get. In a practical way, if the end listener thinks it´s fine, it´s fine. But that doesn´t mean that on a professional side, we shouldn´t try that our daily work gets better practices when possible.

I also agree that some producers don´t have a clue about sound, despite trying to make what they can under the circunstances. But if they had a clue in the first place, circunstances could in fact be diferent when getting to post.

But my comments are of general consideration, not targeted at this specific production. I don´t know anyone involved, so it would not be fair to comment about something or people I don´t know.
Old 5th April 2014
  #138
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It always amazes me that there is a ton of understanding and a lot of excuses for the audio engineers if working under non-optimal circumstances like Hench here - and rightfully so I want to add!! - but never enough understanding that producers, editors etc. might be under similar pressures and thus forced to go with less than ideal solutions.
Old 6th April 2014
  #139
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Originally Posted by kosmokrator View Post
It always amazes me that there is a ton of understanding and a lot of excuses for the audio engineers if working under non-optimal circumstances like Hench here - and rightfully so I want to add!! - but never enough understanding that producers, editors etc. might be under similar pressures and thus forced to go with less than ideal solutions.
That probably comes down to a lot of ignorance displayed by people outside of audio post about it, as well as concessions made targeting other things than the profit margin; or in other words producers/owners not lowering their profits and instead sacrificing unimportant stuff like audio post. I've seen that first hand more times than I care to have.

Then there's convenience, ego and perceived self-preservation, where producers sacrifice workflow because it's more convenient for them (i.e. reschedule until we're right next to the deadline), make decisions based on them having to say something so they feel they did something and thereby validate their existence, and similarly their job-title, i.e. self-preservation.

The inefficiencies at mid-level (and down) post production never ceases to amaze me... (or is it "annoy"?)
Old 6th April 2014
  #140
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Has anyone on this thread considered the @$%€€-job a TV station's audio processing chain performs on the sound of any programming??

It's really not that much kinder than what a FM Optimod or other steamroller does to music played on them. And it doesn't matter how good your home listening setup is.

Chances are once people hear the audio on a DVD release of this Cosmos they'll be blown away, in comparison.
Old 6th April 2014
  #141
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The sort of dog's breakfast of VO recordings that Mr. Hench is having to contend with is kind of unusual for a high-end show, but as with many such situations is driven by the host's availability: if the choice is going to LA to record front-to-back VO for an episode or going to deliver a speech @ Davos etc, well, he's going to Davos and the mixer has to make it work as best they can. This kind of thing is pretty common on lower budget doco shows. I did a film called "Journey of the Universe" last year, a one-off origin-of-life film, and the host VO would sometimes cut between one of a couple of studio VO sessions done over the 3 years the film was in post, to something recorded in what sounded like an empty garage, to something recorded in the edit room next to the computer rack, to a piece of location audio recorded at the sea-shore, sometimes in a single long sentence. We call this "Frankensteining", and in a VO driven show it adds a whole new layer of work to the project. Unfortunately, it is becoming more common all the time.

philp
Old 6th April 2014
  #142
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philper View Post
...We call this "Frankensteining", and in a VO driven show it adds a whole new layer of work to the project. Unfortunately, it is becoming more common all the time.

philp
Which is pretty much inexcusable, given the fact that with just the tiniest bit of care and expertise, relatively decent recordings can be made in a closet with an iPhone, or any cheap hand-held recorder.
Old 7th April 2014
  #143
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When dealing with a superstar scientist like de Grasse Tyson, and with audio being recorded in multiple settings, indoor, outdoor, various booths, and places in between, I think the job has been done great.

I have been in audio work professionally for 25 years, like many of you, a long time. I personally can hear the dropouts or changes that Hench is dealing with and can also hear all the problems he has dealt with as best he can. I am not trying to make excuses, but things happen. To all of us.

In the end, what counts is this: I have been viewing the series with my family. None of them, three aside from myself, have mentioned a single instance of problems with the VO track. And they, of course, know I am in the business. I applaud the work Hench did, on that level, and I know that my family is only anecdotal, but probably representative enough to get an idea of what others, outside our business, are hearing. On that level, the job has been done.

On a professional level, we can critique all we want, it's easy from the sidelines. But the show has accomplished its objectives: Making science accessible to as many people as possible in a very popular format.

Being a science nut myself, I am not learning anything particularly new to my mind, but the point is that others ARE. My wife is blown away by some aspects of the show, in a good way. I think Cosmos will go down as a seminal moment for future scientists and professionals that are currently watching as children. In that sense, mission accomplished.
Old 7th April 2014
  #144
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Originally Posted by Fajita View Post
You rocked it. It soured great at my house.
iPad spell check and gearslutz spell check fighting each other soured my post.

it S O U N D E D great at my house.
Old 7th April 2014
  #145
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RecRoom View Post
At the end of the day nearly 5 million people watched Cosmos and I'm willing to bet nearly 99.9999999% of them thought the VO audio quality sounded just fine.
The other webboard I hang out on is the Bay Area Rider's Forum, a motorcycle webboard. There's a thread on there about Cosmos, and the production dialog quality was noticed. This coming from a bunch of half-deaf sport bikers!
Old 9th April 2014
  #146
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PoxyMusic View Post
The other webboard I hang out on is the Bay Area Rider's Forum, a motorcycle webboard. There's a thread on there about Cosmos, and the production dialog quality was noticed. This coming from a bunch of half-deaf sport bikers!

Even if all the on-camera and VO had been beautifully recorded, the mix would still be a challenge....the show is pretty much a monologue, and the script constantly moves Tyson between narration and on-camera. Depending on context, sometimes a cutaway to VO has to match; other times it wants to step away and be treated as narration. This does not appear to be an easy mix from a storytelling and perspective standpoint. And if I'm inferring correctly, it seems from Mark's comments that sometimes the producers themselves are conflicted about how they want Tyson's delivery to live and move among the various spaces his voice is inhabiting.

Add to that the myriad technical challenges we've read about, and I think it's a very successful mix job. Even knowing what I know about all the headaches, I haven't been distracted when watching. But I geek out on the subject matter so maybe I'm just getting engrossed in the show....which I think is the whole objective.

Big props too for the sound design. In particular I thought the treatment of electron orbits in last Sunday's episode was really well done. Great work.

It's been interesting comparing the two generations of the show not only in terms of style, but also in the subtle differences in messaging and philosophical leaning between the original and this one....at least as I see it.
Old 9th April 2014
  #147
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Agreed! Great job all around. Garry's statement about doing our best work sometimes sounding the worst is so true! Regardless, this is a pro job and a good one. A big effort with many constraints. I also loved the design and score and how it was mixed. Not to mention that timeline, Mark, hats off to you and the team as always.
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