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Description Key - Technical Issues

Mixing Description with the Program Audio

  • Use high-quality microphones and audio-recording facilities to provide clear description that matches or exceeds the quality of the program audio.
  • When possible, adjust the volume level of the original program audio and the description in the mix on a passage-by-passage basis to ensure matching levels.
  • Use a tight-pattern unidirectional cardioid microphone such as an Electro-Voice RE20 or Shure SM7B.
  • Mixers and audio input devices vary greatly in price and quality. Inquisition is needed to ensure compatibility between the audio input device and microphones. In order to work effectively, some microphones require a powerful pre-amplifier. Less expensive audio input devices cannot power certain microphones.
  • Description can be recorded effectively using a number of different software packages. Avid Pro Tools is one package used, but the workflow is very complex for beginners. A free and more simple package is Audacity. Users who already have video editing software such as Final Cut, Adobe Premiere, iMovie, etc. may wish to continue using that investment to record and edit description.
  • Always record in an area furthest away from the street and other people. Even seemingly small noises can be heard clearly in a dry recording.
  • Rooms with lots of hard surfaces (hardwood floors, tile, wall corners, etc.) should be avoided as they create a chamber (echo) effect that sounds substandard. Echo issues can be resolved in numerous ways, including WhisperRoom Sound Isolation Booth and Auralex Mudguard. The goal is to reduce the number of hard surfaces and corners in which sound can bounce.
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