What should I have done?

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    • #85201

      I was video taping a gentleman who was connected with a wired lavaliere microphone (not high end quality), he was in the midst of sharing some emotional and personal information, when suddenly there is lawn mower noise nearby and it is coming thru my headset. I didn’t think I could stop the gentleman from speaking at that point and I couldn’t get up to ask the lawnmower to stop mowing and hoped I’d be able to fix it in post. Got it improved, but the quality suffered.
      What would any of you have done had this happened to you? I don’t want this to ever happen again.

      thank you,

    • #211936

      Remove unwanted background sound.


      Adobe Audition (CS6) or Adobe Soundbooth (CS4) is capable of cleanly removing a continuous telephone ring from a conversation, if you have not already tried it maybe worth a try?


      The only other option left to you during that interview (when the lawnmower had stopped), was to ask a leading but direct question, that re-introduced that emotional and personal subject.  


      Try to scout out for interview locations that have

      – good natural light, that will last for the duration of the interview
       – isolation from external and internal sounds such as road traffic & air conditioners etc.

      – a wall feature or similar that helps defines the persons character, or interview subject.



    • #211943

      You must stop. If you can hear the lawnmower in your headphones, then any remedial action in post can't be guaranteed to work. The only thing to consider is how the restart works. I personally hate those disguised jump cuts, so it just means a reset – a small movement of the cameras and a reframe so it's different enough. Apologise to the subject, and just go back a bit and give them a nudge to get them back in. It's not your fault. I once had a US client who had me book a stately home to shoot in. Nobody mentioned the guy in the farm next door had a Spitfire! Shot after shot ruined – took twice as long as it should!

    • #211956

           You also have to consider the context of the sound.  If you're interviewing someone on their front lawn, you have to take into account that other people and objects in the neighborhood are going to make noise.  If your audience can tell that the setting is in a place where noise will happen, as long as the other noises aren't overbearing, the audience will usually forgive extra noises in the shot. And it may not even be worth trying to cover them or remove them.

    • #211957

           In addition to my last comment, you can also add some music to underscore the video.  Obviously, I don't know 100% what the setting of the shot was, so I don't know that this is appropriate.  But it's a thought.

           To sort of reverberate what others have already said, if you want to be sure that your interview is going to be free of stray sounds, you need to plan your shoot to be in a place that will minimize the possibility of unwanted noise.

    • #211949

      The important thing is to plan ahead … ensure and double ensure that you won't have aduio problems.  But even then it is bound to happen.  When it does, I agree with Paulears, you need to stop, apologize, and reshoot.  It may not be as "emotionally compelling" but it is far better then a clip that has poor audio.


      One thing you can do to prepare for this is to always prep your subject.  "I may ask you to repeat yourself a few times in order to get the best take, plus there may be an occasional background sound that may cause the clip to be unusable …"




      How to produce and profit from 30 second commercials in 30 days

    • #211978

      I do understand the 'quality' that comes with first take, but very often the person doing the interview actually modifies what they say, based on the first version. This often isn't as gripping as the first, but if you do a small change of angle, then you can often use the first version, and do an edit. Tears and real emotions are difficult, but often the re-start encourages them to add new material that can make the edit better. Don;t loomk on it as a disaster, but an opportunity to expand.

    • #211992

      IMO, if it is great content, I would not have broken the take.  I would wait for a natural break, stop the talent, applogize for the issue, make the needed adjustments and ask them to tell the story again if possible.  There is always a chance to fix the audio in post.


      izotope's RX4 is pretty darn amazing at removing noise that is constant or transient.  I'd give it a try.  There is a free demo that works for a week or so.  The software is available at two levels.  The basic package is $350 and the full set is $1200.  There is a Noise Reduction feature in Soundtrack Pro that probably will help.  RX4 is simply better.

      Some shots simply can't be recreated and some situations cant be anticipated.  Luckily great tools exist to help dig us out of problems.


    • #211965

      Great suggestion.  Thank you.

    • #211966

      Hopefully this will not happen again, but if (when) it does, I will take your advice.

      Thank you.

    • #211974

      Very good point mcrockett … some times the obvious alludes me!  Using music can cover a lot of sins.

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