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How to clean up your dialogue editing with EQ. compressors and room tone

3 Film Dialogue Editing Tips: EQ, Compressors and Tone

Today we have three dialogue editing tips for film that will help give your cut a professional polish. We’ll find out what “good-sounding” dialogue is, then see how equalizers, compressors and room tone will smooth out your edits.

What is “good”-sounding dialogue?

Good-sounding dialogue is dialogue that:

Minimizes distracting audio problems like interference, phasing, hums, excessive cloth rustling against a mic, audio peaking, large differences in levels and a few other problems that tend to plague production audio.

And, on a higher level, it’s dialogue that:

Allows you, the director, client, producer, what have you, to experience the piece in a way that’s as close as possible to the way your audience will, AFTER it’s all cleaned up and polished by the sound department. As you’re rough cutting, you’ll want to make sure that you aren’t distracted from how a moment REALLY feels due to excessively poor-quality audio.

For that reason, you’ll want to tidy up your dialogue a bit using a few of the key audio tools you have at your disposal.

Primarily, you’ll be working with equalizers, which are used to control the levels of your audio at specific frequency ranges.

Using equalizers to clean up film editing dialogue in Avid, Premiere and Final Cut

Compressors, which are designed to COMPRESS the overall levels of your audio to a specific decibel range. If you’ve got dialogue where some is peaking quite loud and some is barely audible, adding a compressor can help balance out these extremes.

How compressors will clean up film editing dialogue in Avid, Premiere and Final Cut

And last, you’ve got tone.

As you probably know, tone is simply an audio recording on a set to capture its unique version of silence.

Using room tone to clean up film editing dialogue in Avid, Premiere and Final Cut

It obviously isn’t complete silence because air ducts, outside sounds and other subtle audio hums and buzzes are often captured.

Fellow editors – what is your biggest challenge when editing dialogue? Something creative? Something technical? Let us know!


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