Hi guys, I have just moved into a new apartment and the room that I’m using to record my videos is super-echoey. It has a hard floor, concrete walls and ceilings. It’s pretty small about 3 meters by 2.2 meters. I’ve filled it with as much furniture as I can, put down a rug, and because it is my daughter’s bedroom I can’t go too nuts with acoustic panels on the walls. I’ve got a couple of questions.
is there anything I can do post-production with Audacity to make it sound better? (I have attached the raw audio of me in the room)
If I am going to get panels in the room, is it best to put them on the walls or the ceilings or both? And is 1-inch foam OK or does it need to be thicker?
Thanks in advance for your help
I’m using macOS Catalina 10.15.7 and Audacity 2.4.2.
Someone noted that it’s much harder to come up with those moving blankets in the UK. I drove over to a moving supply company in industrial south-east Los Angeles and that’s where I found mine. They’re 17 pounds (7.7Kg) each. I later found lighter duty blankets at a Harbor Freight hardware store much closer to home. You’ll have to adapt the plastic pipe sizes to metric. Those pipes are dead common in the US.
There are no stress points and no glue. Knock it apart when you’re done.
Heavy is good. Most packing foam is designed to take up space and be shipping light—not weight anything. That doesn’t work. It has to be heavy. The sound has to move the blankets to get in or out and it has to be hard work to do that.
Similarly, light, fluffy, comfortable blankets, or duvets aren’t that good, either. Anything you do is better than nothing, but the gold standard is those three-layer, cotton-batting, furniture moving blankets. They are designed to keep two credenzas from colliding in the back of a moving van. Light and Delicate need not apply.
There is one other possibility, too. I’m a couple of blocks away from a rug and carpet store. Raid the dumpster/bin in the back after dark and make off with carpet remnants and ends. Build the booth out of that.
You can do this all by weight. If a stiff wind will blow your soundproofing over, you probably got the wrong stuff. Good peaks and valleys acoustic foam is heavy. One common mistake is really, really want to put one two-foot square panel in the middle of a wall and call it good. Nice try. You have to deaden the wall.
You don’t have to hit all the walls. Hit opposing walls first. Floor, East wall and South wall. Then fill in the missing walls.
If the goal is audiobooks, note it’s a terrible idea to change your studio after you start on a book. All the chapters have to match.
Hey Koz, thanks so much for your reply. I’m a meditation teacher, so I will definitely use the option that you suggested to record my guided meditations.
As for the problem with the echoey room, I should have been a bit clearer, I’m actually recording video in that room (I’m recording a course). I’ve just installed a big roll-down green screen in there, i was feeling very proud of myself, until I played the audio back! So I need an option to make the audio sound better with me standing in front of the screen. I’m using a rode lav mic, but I do have a rode NT-USB mic that I could potentially use.
Those blankets should work. That looks like the version from my local Harbor Freight. You can hang one on the wall behind you and pull the green screen over it.
I expect the lav to work, too, if you can make the room go away.
Green screen is not that easy to pull off, either. Back or rim lighting is good to keep your edges from sizzling and to keep spill (green glow) in check. Lights are critical. The screen has to be evenly lighted without interfering with the talent lights. Rough to do in a small room. Four smaller edge lights instead of one big honker.
Ideally you sound deaden all the walls and floor, but you get the most bang for the buck initially by deadening one of each opposing walls. I once had an office that was surgically square with plain walls. My joke was I could clap and go to lunch. When I got back the clap would still be bouncing between the walls. It always sounded like I was calling someone from a bathroom.
There is always tension between video and audio. I have a vivid memory of some guys going to great lengths to recreate a television news set. They did a terrific job and my head went right to NBC Studio F in Washington, DC. Someone was paying attention to graphics and lighting. They held onto the effect until one of them opened their mouth. Instant recording in the kitchen.
You reminded me of a more recent version of that. Somebody had a very good, well done chroma-key screen, sharp video, good skin modeling and backlighting and they put a nice graded pattern back there. And then they started to talk. Bang! Recording in the bathroom.
Audio without the video is a radio show. Video without the audio is a rehearsal.
What are you going to use as a background? My favorite version of that is someone doing meditation/yoga on a cliff overlooking the Pacific. In this case I think they were on an actual cliff which would have made wind rumble reduction interesting.
If you use an exterior, your keylight and the sunshine need to be coming from the same direction.
I do have an illustration. That’s an actual soundstage. It’s technically not in Hollywood. It’s somewhere in The Valley. I didn’t write down the location. They were doing an ordinary meeting (flu shots?) and I wandered into one of the empty stages and took the picture.
I’s odd the first time you walk into one of those. It’s supposed to sound like a cathedral, but instead it sounds like…nothing. It sounds like somebody clamped cotton wool to both sides of your head when the door closes. There are other odd effects. Somebody can speak quietly at one end of the studio and their voice is crystal clear no matter where you are.
Thanks for all the help, I’ve finally got there. The blankets have made a big difference, now I just have to get the lighting and sound post-production right! It’s never ending. I thought I’d send you some pictures of my masterpiece and I did a quick video to show the kind of thing I’ll be doing. I’m about to record an online mindfulness course, so I’m just gonna use a simple white backdrop so it’s not too distracting. I’ve put a sample clip here in my dropbox.