Add "excitement" to audio

Narrating and Producing Audiobooks.
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LivingInternet
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Add "excitement" to audio

Post by LivingInternet » Fri Oct 19, 2018 5:21 pm

(UPDATE 2018-11-04: A consolidated posting of the effects of all the interchange on this post can be found in this post Voice improvement - consolidated effects.)

I know this is a tough one, might be impossible. Looking for the best that can be done.

There are 9 hours of this, with thousands of edits onto video, so the best answer - rerecording it and making it better - would generate hundreds of hours and is impractical.

I have done what I know with Audacity, in particular using Ozone Imager as suggested, and it is a lot better. However, the one comment I still get is that it is not "engaging" enough. Any ideas to help make it a bit less boring, more exciting, more "engaging"?

All suggestions greatly appreciated.

(Just donated - encourage others to do the same!)
Attachments
audio-excerpt1.wav
(1.63 MiB) Downloaded 14 times
Last edited by LivingInternet on Sun Nov 04, 2018 2:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Trebor
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Re: Add "excitement" to audio

Post by Trebor » Fri Oct 19, 2018 9:35 pm

LivingInternet wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 5:21 pm
ATTACHMENTS audio-excerpt1.wav (1.63 MiB)
That attachment sounds good to me.
I would be tempted to de-ess more, then boost the high-end with equalizer ...

De-ess then treble-boost.png
De-ess then treble-boost.png (157.3 KiB) Viewed 244 times

IMO the pseudo-stereo effect is a bit too much, this free MSED plugin can reduce it ...

MSED settings applied to 'before'.png
MSED settings applied to 'before'.png (128.3 KiB) Viewed 244 times

'audio-excerpt1' Before-After.flac
"after" has De-ess, treble-boost, less-side
(1.4 MiB) Downloaded 9 times

Trebor
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Re: Add "excitement" to audio

Post by Trebor » Fri Oct 19, 2018 10:22 pm

I'm nitpicking now ...
The breath sounds give-away that noise-reduction has been used.
The low-level breaths can be attenuated* using Steve's dynamic-mirror plugin as an expander ...

'Dynamic Mirror' plugin to reduce breath sounds.gif
'Dynamic Mirror' plugin to reduce breath sounds.gif (142.43 KiB) Viewed 238 times
[* usually best not to remove breaths completely, as their total absence is unnatural & makes speech jarring ].

kozikowski
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Re: Add "excitement" to audio

Post by kozikowski » Sat Oct 20, 2018 12:45 am

My opinion is a bit more basic. You sound like you're talking into a wine glass. Did you do extensive noise reduction? Conference Call/Cellphone Voice.

The next thing I did was speed it up 8% and took some of the air out of the speech pattern.

audio-excerpt1Plus8Percent.wav
(1.45 MiB) Downloaded 10 times

And maybe that's not even enough. That "every word is a gem" thing is deadly in instructional work.

Behold SciShow. Hank is done with the show and home eating dinner by the time you finish the first chapter.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0NT9i4Qnak

I know none of this is necessarily going to help with 9 hours of instruction, but,... Final Cut used to be able to speed up video......

And don't .. do .. it .. that .. way in the future.

Koz

steve
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Re: Add "excitement" to audio

Post by steve » Sat Oct 20, 2018 12:17 pm

kozikowski wrote:
Sat Oct 20, 2018 12:45 am
Behold SciShow. Hank is done with the show and home eating dinner by the time you finish the first chapter.
Wow, that's extreme. I had to stop listening before 2 minutes because it was too annoying, particularly the lack of spaces between sentences.
Nevertheless, I think you make a valid point - a compromise between the two would be nice, but too late for this project.

On the other hand, pace is not everything - David Attenborough is well known for making highly engaging documentaries, but narrates at a very steady (slow) pace. In my opinion, it is the way that his genuine passion for the subject shines through that makes his narration so good. Being a really good narrator is not an easy skill - it takes a lot of practice. Theatrical "acting" experience can help.
9/10 questions are answered in the FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)

kozikowski
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Re: Add "excitement" to audio

Post by kozikowski » Sat Oct 20, 2018 2:26 pm

David Attenborough
David Attenborough doesn't sound like he's talking to a kid (having an orchestra back there helps). I didn't write that in the opinion, but that's part of the "every word a gem" thing. I wish there was an easy way to shorten those dragged out emphasis words.
Hank Green.
I can't watch most instructional videos. They're all running at 33-1/3 in a 78 world. Am I dating myself yet? I have an Edison Cylinder (but I didn't buy it new).

I found a new one. Chelsea from The Financial Diet. She's a New Yorker, but still. Tight, rapid, clear presenting and fun (in my opinion) to listen to even though I wasn't searching for financial advice. Some might say "Engaging."

In a relatively recent series of videos, she did partnership videos with (drum roll) Hank Green.
9 Hours
I started paying attention. Almost none of the instructional stuff I like to watch is over 20 minutes per episode. If they need to go longer, it's two or more episodes. That means they Must cover material concisely and clearly. I didn't write it down, but an "adventure" series I like introduces a new idea or direction about every XX seconds. Occasionally, for theatrical shock, they violate that rule and drag something out. You don't realize the inertia you built up until you hit one of those segments.

Then there's the "Editor" thing. Very few people can imagine, write, announce, edit and publish successful works by themselves. It's too easy to go off the rails and there's nobody to bring them back.

As a psycho-acoustic experiment, listen to the speeded-up version a couple of times and then go back and listen to the original.

To bring this back to the top, I don't think any of those problems is going to be solved by an effect or filter. It might be solved by leaving the video the way it is and re-record the voice parts. The reference here is the first time audiobook reader who re-records the first few chapters based on the experience and skill they got from reading the rest of the book. Depending on picture/sound integration, that may not be possible.

Koz

kozikowski
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Re: Add "excitement" to audio

Post by kozikowski » Sat Oct 20, 2018 2:50 pm

Missed one. Remember the original complaint? If you need tons of Noise Reduction, find out why and fix it. Record in a better environment or create a tiny quiet environment to record in.


Screen Shot 2018-10-20 at 07.48.54.png
Screen Shot 2018-10-20 at 07.48.54.png (183.71 KiB) Viewed 211 times

Most microphones can do a respectable job in a quiet, echo-free room, particularly if the show is not a theatrical presentation.

See if you can get Attenborough's orchestra.

Koz

kozikowski
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Re: Add "excitement" to audio

Post by kozikowski » Sat Oct 20, 2018 3:28 pm

I saw an extended "LONG VERSION!" (warning) technical Q & A video.

It's 16 minutes.

Given that could be Google or YouTube trying to "help me," but still. The video is broken up into useful information as well as pointers and references rather than trying to cover everything in one long video.

Koz

LivingInternet
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Re: Add "excitement" to audio

Post by LivingInternet » Sat Oct 20, 2018 5:33 pm

Trebor wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 9:35 pm
IMO the pseudo-stereo effect is a bit too much, this free MSED plugin can reduce it ...
I might just reapply the Ozone Imager. I had used the "all 3's" approach, width 33, amount 3.3. To reduce the "too much" that you hear, should I reduce the width or amount or both, and if so any suggestions?
kozikowski wrote:
Sat Oct 20, 2018 12:45 am
My opinion is a bit more basic. You sound like you're talking into a wine glass. Did you do extensive noise reduction?
The only noise reduction I did was the usual select some quiet time, get the profile, and apply to remove background hum and hiss. I don't recall hearing any difference in the main audio after that. As above, it might be that too much Ozone Imager pseudo-stereo is the problem. It sounds much better than the flat original, to me like "I'm in a room", however based on Trebor's response to the above I will try scaling it back a bit.
kozikowski wrote:
Sat Oct 20, 2018 12:45 am
The next thing I did was speed it up 8% and took some of the air out of the speech pattern.
The speed up does sound a lot better. I had previously actually sped it up 16%, so you can imagine how slow it was originally. This was based on experience speaking to live classes, holding their eyes, adding emphasis with gestures, making *sure* they get this useful information. In live classes I get great reviews, honestly! But I think another 8% is appropriate for this online approach. Did you use "Change Tempo" effect to avoid pitch change? And should I worry about any negative effects from too much speed up?

When you say "took some air out of the speech pattern", was that the speed up you mentioned, or did you apply a different effect?

All: these are 200 odd videos, almost all just a few minutes long, so divided into bite size chunks. So it has that going for it anyway.

Trebor
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Re: Add "excitement" to audio

Post by Trebor » Sat Oct 20, 2018 7:04 pm

LivingInternet wrote:
Sat Oct 20, 2018 5:33 pm
Trebor wrote:
Fri Oct 19, 2018 9:35 pm
IMO the pseudo-stereo effect is a bit too much, this free MSED plugin can reduce it ...
I might just reapply the Ozone Imager. I had used the "all 3's" approach, width 33, amount 3.3. To reduce the "too much" that you hear, should I reduce the width or amount or both, and if so any suggestions?
Stick with all the threes on Ozone imager, but mix-in less dual-mono (Ozone) with the mono original ...

Image

Having the level of the dual-mono (Ozone) track about 12dB lower than the original mono track is about right for a subtle believable simulation of a stereo-mic recording.
LivingInternet wrote:
Sat Oct 20, 2018 5:33 pm
"I'm in a room"
The other "in the room" quality is called presence : boosting the treble, but you'll have to de-ess first, otherwise the sibilance will be exCeSSive.
De-ess almost to the point it's sounding dull & lispy, then apply treble-boost equalization to make it bright & present.

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