Adding a laugh track?

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    • #37804
      doublehamm
      Participant

      I was asked to tape a new comedy variety show in the area for broadcast on TV. While the show truly is pretty good itself with some seasoned talent, there has been some bad luck filling many seats. I have never done any track overlaying for audio before, but was looking into adding a laugh track here to make it sound like the audience is bigger than it really is for television. Is there anyone that could point me in the right direction for something like this? Where to find a laugh track, tips on using it etc?

      With talent that has performed with Louis Anderson, performed on national television etc., I really would like to do this show some justice and try to create an atmosphere that will bring more bodies in for future shows.

    • #167450
      Grinner Hester
      Participant

      You can downlaod all kinds of laugh tracks from sounddogs.com. It’ll probably be mono so if your first two tracks are on 1 and 2, you can throw it on 3 and set your level. Sound effects can go on 4 and you can throw some stereo music onto 5 and 6. The tracks you use will vary, depending on your needs. I tend to put music on 3 and 3 then sweeten on the other tracks.

    • #167451
      doublehamm
      Participant

      Alright I will check that site out thanks! I have quite a few stereo tracks from different sources mixed so the mono I don’t think will be a real issue. This is only metro public access at the moment, but it does not mean the content is of lesser quality (except for them asking a wedding videographer to start shooting fro TV!).

    • #167452
      D0n
      Participant

      as a wedding photographer who has been asked to start shooting for web tv I have faced a similar problem.

      I edited one episode with laugh tracks and on without laugh tracks.

      They opted for the one without. I warned them it would sound kinda phoney, and they agreed….

      Now we still added some audience clapping/cheering into the intro and endings…

      You’re best bet if you want an audience… is to get them in there. Get real people, even if you have to give something away…. free coffee and donuts or model portfolio head shots or something… or get frineds and family to support you….

    • #167453
      Grinner Hester
      Participant

      that’s the thing about slapstick. It’s obvious. Hence the humor, sometimes. It’s like anyone ever thought the laugh tracks in Lucy or Three’s Company were real. It added a lil somethin’. Not always applicable but the maker sometimes.

      as with any addition.

    • #167454
      D0n
      Participant

      I respectfully disagree, Richard.

      You need really good comedy skills to select the right laugh track, hit the timing cues, and adjust the volume so that the viewer gets a believable ambience that doesn’t disrupt the flow of the talents dialogue….

      That menas you really need to know your audience and your talent and your comedy.

      you might get “Rolling in the aisles” laughter from the word “Booger” for five year olds audience, but Dr Phil’s audience won’t even chuckle…..

      If your talent says something really funny in front of a live audience, he might actually pause and wait for the laughter to abate before continuing…. but if you are adding laugh tracks your talent might not pause, and if there is ambient music/noise/visual flow to the project, you might not be able to cutaway to add laughter, without drowning out something important.

    • #167455
      Grinner Hester
      Participant

      I have found comedic timing comes naturally for some… and is impossible for others to learn. Same with rhythm in genral. Some editors can’t even play a musical instrument, believe it or not. Sounds crazy… putting someone in change of pace who can’t keep time. Some things in an editor should be taken for granted. Where and how to place sound effects is one of those things, imo. There is a name for folks who wanna be in the edit suite but can’t edit. It’s called a producer.

    • #167456
      D0n
      Participant

      ROFL!!!!

    • #167457
      XTR-91
      Participant

      “Dr Phil’s audience won’t even”

      lol

    • #167458
      doublehamm
      Participant

      I talked to the creator this evening. We will be doing some trimming in a couple days, and he brought up adding a laugh track (before I was able to ask him). He has done quite a bit of DJ work, and a lot of audio mixing of his own and has some stock laugh tracks already. I wouldn’t mind getting my feet wet and try adding them, but I also suggested to him – seeing as he has experience – just sending him the audio track I have so far and then mixing it to his taste. This would bring some pressure off of me, and let the pro comedian control the final output.

      Hopefully next months show will fill a lot more seats and we will not have this issue! We are all working for peanuts on this as it is, some of us a lot less than that.

    • #167459
      Grinner Hester
      Participant

      What did he pay you to do?

    • #167460
      doublehamm
      Participant

      Shoot and then edit. Truthfully I am being paid for far less than it would be to just rent the equipment I have from a rental site. I won’t go into specifics, but this is more of a pet project for me (us) so I am not too hurt about it. I just hope someday it grows into something more, and Ihave a feelingit has the potential.

    • #167461
      vid-e-o-man
      Participant

      For laugh tracks that sound natural, you might tryshooting the audience during the performance or during the warmup using mics or audio recorders placed near the audience. This would also give you some b roll video footage that could be added in when your laugh track is inserted into a spot when the talent didn’t pause for the laughter. Could be a lot more work for you but I think that you would like this to turn out really nice no matter what.

    • #167462
      doublehamm
      Participant

      I do have audio of the audience, unfortonately the audience is extremely thin.

    • #167463
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Are there not digital laugh tracks? Maybe record your thin audience laughing a couple of times then change the tone/pitch/etc. and overlap them?

    • #205792

      I edit laughs tracks as a side business. I usually use the classic recordings from Charley Douglass that I have isolated from 60s/70s shows. If edited smoothly and with good volume control, these can sound very good. I have also done what vid-e-o-man suggested; taking laughter/applause from your actual recording, manipulate it and reuse it elsewhere. That comes in very handy when adding audience clapping and general chatter.

       

      Touch base with me if you need some recordings. Editing a laugh track is an art all unto itself. When it is done right, you never notice it. When it is done poorly, it hurts everything (just watch a Saturday Morning Hanna-Barbera cartoon from 1971 onward and you will know what I mean).

    • #205810
      gldnears
      Member

      Humor izza funny thing!

       

      Desilu Productions discovered years ago that by filming their sitcoms in front of a live audience, a natural sense of timing between the delivery of the joke and the audience reaction provided a better, more natural flow. Laugh reactions were " sweetened " on the dub stage by a specialist who used a machine which looked like a small Mellotron. The keys on the keyboard represented everything from a snicker to a full-on belly-laugh roar. The " laugh guy " also had a foot operated level control which controlled the volume of the track being added to the overall mix.

       

      Today, there's been a shift away from natural live audience timing. Some of the most recent shows depend upon the picture editor to set the pace which can be accelerated  considerably by NOT relying on a live audience with a natural overlap. I don't know for sure, but I strongly suspect that the laughs are done on the dub stage as before. Cutting/editing in laugh reactions like sound effects is a very time consuming and tedius job!

       

      Rick Crampton

    • #205816

      [quote=gldnears]…a specialist who used a machine which looked like a small Mellotron. The keys on the keyboard represented everything from a snicker to a full-on belly-laugh roar. The " laugh guy " also had a foot operated level control which controlled the volume of the track being added to the overall mix.[/quote] The Mellotron is Charley Douglass' infamous "laff box," which is my avatar.

       

      [quote=gldnears]Today, there's been a shift away from natural live audience timing. Some of the most recent shows depend upon the picture editor to set the pace which can be accelerated  considerably by NOT relying on a live audience with a natural overlap. I don't know for sure, but I strongly suspect that the laughs are done on the dub stage as before.[/quote]Everything comes full circle and then some. Producers are going back to laugh tracks to shape the audience reactions. Amazing, but not surprising.

       

      [quote=gldnears]Cutting/editing in laugh reactions like sound effects is a very time consuming and tedius job![/quote]Tell me about it. It took me about three hours to do PINK PANZER http://youtu.be/TFk49-G-Y4k

       

      PINK POSIES http://youtu.be/_tIGTDC5HzM?t=3m16s and PINK PAJAMAS http://youtu.be/rwP6B0V7OdY took more like five. 

       

      I have added the classic laugh tracks to episodes of MODERN FAMILY, which was difficult because the show is not paced for insertion of a laugh track (most POV, docu-style shows are not).

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