Here at TalkShop LA, we often inherit TV and commercial location sound that needs a ton of work. Bad audio quality requires more sweetening and restoration time in our edit suites. Dialog editing isn’t just about editing ADR or voice over and swapping in lines that replace bad production sound. The better the production sound, the easier ADR is on your workflow and your wallet. Several factors contribute to a professional quality recording and it’s not just about expensive equipment. It’s really more about your boom operator than his or her gear. A great boom operator has great technique, is familiar with the script, and anticipates cues from the director. The angle of the microphone matters. The distance from the talent matters. It’s about keeping the boom out of the shot but not too far away from the talent. Stay out of frame but stay in the same zip code. Oh… and hold a 10-foot pole over your head for 8 hours. And don’t make a sound. The consistency of recording quality matters. The proper labeling, organization, and transfer of files matter. When our audio post engineers receive files from Premiere, Avid, or Final Cut Pro video editors, the condition of audio varies wildly… and there’s not much video editors can do when given poor production sound. That’s where we come in. We can tell that there was a basic attempt from video editors to level out production sound and add temp effects but not much more. That’s OK. We’ll still make it sound great. But it can take our Pro Tools editors hours to fix poor production sound that was simply the result of mediocre boom microphone operation. That means they have to review program material line by line for pops, clicks, background noise, and adjust for varying distances from the mic and varying quality within the overall recording. Tools from Isotope, Waves and Cedar like de-crackle, de-reverb, mouth de-click, de-clip, X-noise, Z-noise, filters, multi-band compressors, Waves WNS, and DNS One work great, but they’re no replacement for a professional boom operator at the beginning of the audio workflow. Check out this video from Film Craft 107 about why great boom microphone technique can make all the difference. Our editors and re-recording mixers thank you in advance.