Welcome to the May issue!
It’s hard to believe May is here again. I hope this month you find fair weather – and the opportunity to preserve, celebrate and share your family stories and storytellers!
I hope you enjoy this issue of the Family Legacy Video® Producer’s e-Newsletter. Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone toll-free (888.662.1294) with any questions or comments you have.
Cheers! – – Steve Pender
Family Legacy Video® – it’s a trademark.
I’m getting to know how the folks at Xerox must have felt when people used their company name to describe any old photocopier. I’ve recently found several Web sites using the term “Family Legacy Video” to describe their video biography offerings. The truth of the matter is that Family Legacy Video® is a trademark of Family Legacy Video, Inc. – something these other companies now know – and I’m devoted to protecting that trademark. That’s because a Family Legacy Video® is a unique brand, standing for professional, highly-crafted video biographies that are unmatched in the industry. And the only place you can get a Family Legacy Video® is through Family Legacy Video, Inc.
Sound advice for your final audio mix.
You’ve just completed combining all the visual elements of your first video biography. Everything is in place – the interviews, narration, photos, text, etc. But don’t breathe a sigh of relief yet – the audio mix still awaits!
Maybe you have only two tracks of audio (interview and music) or perhaps you have three, four or more tracks holding various interviews, music cuts and sound effects. No matter how few or how many tracks you need to combine, the prospect can be a bit daunting. Here are some tips that may help.
Take it one layer at a time.
Think of the audio portion of your project as a layer cake. Instead of trying to mix together everything at once, concentrate on adding to the mix one layer at a time.
The voice track is the most important audio element of your piece. So start by turning off or disabling all the audio tracks except for the track that has the interview. You’re not deleting these other tracks, mind you, just temporarily turning them off so you hear only your interview. After you’ve done this, play your video from beginning to end, adjusting the voice levels along the way. Your editing software should have a visible VU meter that shows the audio levels as you go. Your aim is to keep your voice levels sounding natural, consistent and, most important, out of the red! If they peak into the red area of your VU meter, go back and adjust the levels so they stay in the green. Red levels will result in unpleasant snaps, crackles and pops when you convert your video to a DVD.
Once you have the level of your voice track where you want it, turn on the track containing your music. Remember, the music’s purpose is to set a tone (historic and/or emotional) that supports the interview. So don’t blast your levels or make them too faint. Aim for a balance that enhances the interview and doesn’t drown it out. And continue to keep an eye on your levels. The combined level of the voice and sound will be higher than the level of the voice alone. You may have a mix that sounds great but peaks into the red. If that happens, go back and lower the voice and music until they’re in the green.
Sound effects last.
The time to mix in your sound effects is after you’ve mixed your music and voice. By now you should have the hang of this audio mixing routine and are keeping an eagle eye on your audio levels.
One final note: A successful mix actually begins when you start editing your video. Be logical about how you lay out your audio tracks as you edit. For example, if you have one interview put the audio for that interview on one track only. Assign one track (or two or more as needed) as your music track and put your sound effects on another track. If your editing software allows you to name your tracks, do so. Having your tracks clearly labeled and organized will make it easier for you to layer them when mixing time comes.
Ask Steve – This month: Webinar recordings.
Q: Dear Steve,
I’ve been thinking of ordering some of Family Legacy Video’s online webinars. I’m wondering how many times I can watch them and how long they’ll be available.
– – Bob F., Garwood, New Jersey
A: Hi, Bob.
Thanks for your interest in Family Legacy Video’s Webinars. The recordings are available 24/7. Once your purchase a link, or links, you can watch the recordings as often as you like.
Got a question about any aspect of family history video production?
Send it to Steve at email@example.com.