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Curious about your editing practices
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1
Here for the gear
Curious about your editing practices

I’m hoping some of you will be willing to respond to some/all of the following questions about doing edits on classical rep in post. I think a lot of us might benefit from the more experienced folks here being open about these issues:

1. Crossfades: in what range of lengths do your crossfades typically end up falling? Is there a standard length you try first or shoot for?

2. How do you deal with two adjacent takes that are musically preferable, but sound different from one another in terms of color/energy? Will you apply EQ and/or volume adjustments to try to match them?

3. Do you consider yourself done with edits only when you are convinced you can’t hear them while following the edit map, or is a more reasonable goal to consider the edits done when you can assume that someone without the edit map won’t hear them? I’m asking this because I feel that there are times when I and/or the client claim to “hear” an edit, but it’s just a psychological effect from being prepared to listen for it at a specific moment.

4. How often do you have the experience of having to live with an edit that you aren’t totally convinced by?

5. Do you typically do edits with the client in the room with you, or do you do them alone and send drafts to the client (this is assuming that there isn’t a separate producer who would be there).

6. How often do projects that you engineer go to a separate mastering engineer?

Last edited by YoRumsfield; 2 weeks ago at 02:25 PM.. Reason: Clarification
Old 2 weeks ago
  #2
1. Most of the recording i do is Live, so the transitions from song to song are already part of the performance. But, if i do change something, its to smooth things out. Per say.
2. I dont give to much attention to this aspect. my work has "my sound", so just by using my gear to get it to sound good to me, achieves a type of cohesiveness. As for volume from track to track, really just depends on what the song is. Appropriate for the mood.
3. Edits are complete after all the immediate issues are resolved or basically, i fix what i can fix. Without getting all microscope and laser scalpel.
4. Probably 72% of the time. Its usually a case of shoulda,coulda,woulda. Sometimes shouldnt of.
5. Doing what i do, we are all in the same room initially. This is when tracking is done. So pretty much all i do in post is try to make the recording sound like to me how the performance did during tracking. So i'll send a couple different versions, ranging from raw to produced.
6. I sent out a couple stereo wav files to other audio personnel just listen/make adjustments, make comments, "just mess around with it", i said. Never got anything back. So from then on i just make the stereo track sound good to me then just turn it up.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #3
I am editing classical music since 1981. Then it was magnetic tape with scissors and sticking tape. From 1986 I worked on the SONY 1610/DAE1100 digital video-tape based editor. This machine had linear corssfades from 1ms up to a 100ms max. You could also change level after the edit you made. So I learned the job in the old days. After that I worked with the same type of machines from SONY, but then DAT based. In 1996 I went over to Sonic Solutions.

1. I work with short cross-fades first. 10 ms-20ms. I prefer root-cosine.

2. In my field editing mostly organ music, this does not happen, unless the organist messed up with the registration, and is creating another alike sound, e.g. he missed to add a stop, or forgot to take a stop away. It could happen the organists messes up with the swell, but then that take will be rejected.

3. Editing goes in phases. First edit is rather rough. If I can hear small problems in cross-fades, but I estimate a layman cannot, I leave the edit as it is. I first wait for a response from the artists or producer. Problematic edits I don't put much work in, because there is a big chance the producer/ or artists are asking for another solution. After the first phase, the second correction phase begins, and there I put more work in making all edits inaudible. After the last 3rd phase, I go through every edit again, sometimes hundreds of edits, and make them all perfect.

4. Probably one or two edits in the whole CD production. Sometimes you hear edits where there are none. Robert von Bahr from BIS records was a master in that. Such "edits" he wanted me to correct also with reverb or select another take instead. I sometimes hear edits during concerts.

5. Only in the last 3rd correction round. I work from the sheet music.

6. It happened a few times per decade, but that was only for putting on more meta data or as secondary control, they never changed anything in the audible content.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #4
Gear Nut
 
I am sure there are a number of producers/editors here with a lot more experience than I have, so don't think that I am giving you the ultimate answers. I am primarily a performer, but have always been interested in recording, and in the last 20 years I have edited a number of CDs and concert recordings, both of other's and of my own performances. It has been chamber (string quartet, trio, duet with piano, solo, strings with harpsichord, solo voice with accompaniment), very small chamber orchestras (all of this period instruments), and I produced two organ CDs. But my experience is very limited, certainly compared to some of the pros on this forum.

1. I have a standard length of 50ms now. I used to have longer defaults of 100ms, in fact, for most edits it doesn't make a lot of difference ime. Occasionally I reduce to 20ms, especially with quite percussive transients, like harpsichord. Longer crossfades I use only very rarely, mostly in problem situations, or in between movements. Other special cases are transitions from one section into another, where the recording wasn't continuous, asymmetrical crossfades are often necessary.

2. I avoid them whenever possible. I occasionally try to get it right by adjusting the volume slightly, but it rarely works well. I try to find another edit point, perhaps only a note later or earlier, usually there is a better solution. Sometimes two takes simply don't go together. When I produce myself (ie monitor the recording) I usually know when things won't fit, and ask for another take. But one also goes for redundancy when producing, always two versions that can be used, of everything.

3. I am definitely picky. If I can hear edits I am not satisfied. But sometimes I stop listening when I am too worked up about an edit and come back later or the next day. If I can still hear the edit I need to fix it if at all possible.

4. I am often dissatisfied with the performance (my own, mostly), but I get the edits right. They are much easier to get right than to play well

5. I never do the editing in front of the "client" (performer). If performers who don't know about editing see the cuts they usually freak out. They will hear edits everywhere, where they aren't. I give them the first (raw but not too raw) edit, tell them to listen closely and tell me anything they notice or aren't happy with. Then I go back and become really picky myself, question everything.

6. I have never given anything to a mastering engineer, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't do it. But it would have to be an expert on the kind of thing I am doing.
Old 1 week ago
  #5
Here for the gear
Thanks for these valuable responses. It's good to feel that the practices I've developed are in step with others. I've grown particularly weary of the situation in which the players are obsessing over where then can "hear" edits; it can turn into counterproductive chaos. For this reason, I now usually pull takes myself (I also work from the score and am a professional classical musician) and do not offer the edit map to the players who are evaluating the first edits. I'm often hired to produce and engineer (or just produce), so the ability to pull takes myself, partly based on what takes I know will work well together from an editing standpoint, makes the post-pro process a lot easier.

Here's another question that I'm interested in (for those of you who are using a 4-point editing system): how often do you find you tailor crossfades so that the four points are actually in different places vs using a standard crossfade?
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #6
Gear Nut
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by YoRumsfield ➡️
Here's another question that I'm interested in (for those of you who are using a 4-point editing system): how often do you find you tailor crossfades so that the four points are actually in different places vs using a standard crossfade?
I am a little confused here: 4-point editing, in my understanding, is not referring to the four points of one asymmetrical crossfade. What it means is that you set an IN and an OUT point in the destination, this marks what you want to replace. And you set an IN and and OUT in the source, which marks what replaces it. You need these four points, because the source and the destination timing will almost certainly not be exactly the same.

Talking about crossfades, as I mentioned above, these kind of crossfades don't happen that often. The obvious situation is where you recorded a take from a certain point in the music, that doesn't include the reverb from the previous passage, so if you want to use this take from the start you will have to have asymmetrical fades, a longer fade out and a short fade in.

Most of the time standard equal power crossfades (or whatever they are called in the DAW) will work well for normal edits. I rarely have to change the shape or overlap of the crossfades, but I use the crossfade editor for getting the placement exactly right, by moving the INs and OUTs of both the source and the destination. That kind of adjustment is vital and needs a DAW that can do this well (and without destroying later edits - one needs to be able to come back to an edit).
Old 1 week ago
  #7
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nightchef's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
1. For ordinary edits where I'm just trying to avoid clicks or other artifacts, I use the default edit length in Digital Performer, which I think is 1 msec (about 50 samples) on each side of the edit point. I go longer when differences between the two performances would make that very short default edit audible.

2. First strategy is to go forward and back around the edit point looking for a place where the transition seems more natural. If this doesn't work, then I will try a longer crossfade, and if that doesn't work, I'll create a new, short region on one or both sides of the fade, apply EQ and/or gain to that region to make it match the other side better, and then do fairly broad crossfades at both edges of the new region to smooth the transition. Basically, do what you gotta do.

3. I think it's really important to listen to your edits while not looking at them. Otherwise, yeah, you'll talk yourself into hearing problems that aren't there (or vice versa). Also not a bad idea, when you think you've completed an editing session, to take a break, make a cup of coffee, think about something else for 10-15 minutes, and then come back and listen again (without looking). And when you do come back to it, don't go right to the spot you were obsessing on. Give yourself some palate-cleansing lead time.

4. Not often, thankfully, but sometimes there's nothing you can do. If it's really a hot mess, then you may have to consider radical and/or sneaky solutions. One time when I was editing a school concert, there was a horrible momentary noise that I couldn't fix for love or money. Fortunately, there was another point in the same piece where the music was identical, and I was able to grab a bit from that section and graft it into the problem section. I could hear the edit because I knew it was there, but I don't think anybody else could.

5. I'm not even crazy about mixing with the client in the room, though that at least has some pros as well as cons. Editing requires my complete concentration to do well and efficiently. It's a quintessentially solo activity. Company, no matter how well-behaved and supportive, throws me off my game.

6. For remote projects, almost never, because most of the clients I'm working for don't have the budget for it and honestly might not even understand what I was getting at if I asked about it. They expect me to deliver a product they can release to the public. Outside mastering is much more common in the studio/pop projects I do.
Old 1 week ago
  #8
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by YoRumsfield ➡️
I’m hoping some of you will be willing to respond to some/all of the following questions about doing edits on classical rep in post. I think a lot of us might benefit from the more experienced folks here being open about these issues:

1. Crossfades: in what range of lengths do your crossfades typically end up falling? Is there a standard length you try first or shoot for?

2. How do you deal with two adjacent takes that are musically preferable, but sound different from one another in terms of color/energy? Will you apply EQ and/or volume adjustments to try to match them?

3. Do you consider yourself done with edits only when you are convinced you can’t hear them while following the edit map, or is a more reasonable goal to consider the edits done when you can assume that someone without the edit map won’t hear them? I’m asking this because I feel that there are times when I and/or the client claim to “hear” an edit, but it’s just a psychological effect from being prepared to listen for it at a specific moment.

4. How often do you have the experience of having to live with an edit that you aren’t totally convinced by?

5. Do you typically do edits with the client in the room with you, or do you do them alone and send drafts to the client (this is assuming that there isn’t a separate producer who would be there).

6. How often do projects that you engineer go to a separate mastering engineer?
1. length of crossfades: depends entirely on instrument/source (and amount of direct/ambient sound).

2. color/energy: i match levels via clip gain, adjust eq and render: NO automation!

3. edits: done when i'm satisfied.

4. botched edits: i doubt any experienced tech would tolerate just a single botched edit...

5. clients' presence: for adjustment of the mix and for mastering, never during housekeeping!

6. separate mastering: depends on budget - although i'm into mastering, i tend not to master projects that i recorded and/or mixed.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #9
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah ➡️
1. length of crossfades: depends entirely on instrument/source (and amount of direct/ambient sound).

2. color/energy: i match levels via clip gain, adjust eq and render: NO automation!

3. edits: done when i'm satisfied.

4. botched edits: i doubt any experienced tech would tolerate just a single botched edit...

5. clients' presence: for adjustment of the mix and for mastering, never during housekeeping!

6. separate mastering: depends on budget - although i'm into mastering, i tend not to master projects that i recorded and/or mixed.
Why no automation?
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #10
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by YoRumsfield ➡️
Why no automation?
why carry 'errors' around when they can be fixed once and for all? but also for better overview and less error-proneness, especially with large sessions.

that said, i hardly ever need to adjust eq between takes, unless takes stem from session which were days, weeks or months apart or recorded in different venues; in those cases, eq is the least of your problems though: noise and different ambient sound can be much harder to tame and match...

if i have to adjust eq, i can still (and in very difficult cases do) use broadcast processors which can automatically adjust spectral balance.

___


p.s. imo editing is a relatively simple task which almost anyone can learn; selecting the artistically more valuable parts beyond technical perfection however takes a vastly different skillset, knowledge, experience and taste which is the reason why this is the producer's job....

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 1 week ago at 03:04 PM.. Reason: p.s. added
Old 1 week ago
  #11
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
This is why you would use software such as Sequoia for classical music editing. It can apply all the tools on clip basis, meaning you can stick any clip from any take into your composite, applying whatever the tools necessary to make the splice to work for you; EQ, level, dynamic, reverb, noise reduction, pitch, speed, sample rate, whatever you need. or want to use, all in virtual environment.

In regard to have the clients present while you edit, I welcome it. The client ought to know their own playing and the music they are playing much better than you do and they can help you with the editing. Having them around could ultimately speed up the process since they would get to hear all the alternative takes and can decide what to use right there and then. Just make sure you keep the hour-meter running.
Old 1 week ago
  #12
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David Rick's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
1. I've no idea what a "typical" crossfade for me is. I customize the length of practically every one, but rarely look at the resulting numbers. It's a function of the instrument(s), scoring, reverberance (or sustain pedal), and whether the patch was from a complete run-through, or a short take that didn't excite the room as much. Crossfade shape is often a function of the length. I will use asymmetric curves if I need to "hold over" the reverb or sustain.

2. Adjusting the volume of the incoming clip slightly is standard procedure for me, but mostly by a small amount. The most extreme changes in color happen if I am forced to fly in something from a different night or even a different venue. The later case might require supplementary reverb -- generally an algorithmic type, which gives the most control -- but more often I'm able to get by with EQ. For expediancy, I often use the Sequoia FFT filter, train it on the outgoing clip, and have it adjust the incoming one to match that curve. I'll usually crossfade the incoming clip back to flat later on.

3. I do basic assembly editing first, then start at the top and jump from edit to edit optimizing each one. I like to listen straight through with fresh ears the following morning, usually with the marked-up score in front of me. After that, it goes out for client feedback.

4. If I can't get an edit to work, I'll move it, usually by only a note or two. I rarely tell the client; let them complain if they can hear it.

5. The client is welcome to attend final touch-ups. Sometimes they get less picky when they're watching the session clock tick.

6. Album projects go out for mastering. Broadcast ones don't.

One thing that was't mentioned is supression of noises: coughs, bench squeeks and lamp clicks. In the best case, these are excised by the edit map. If I must do spectral editing, I begin by fixing only the most eggregious stuff, then wait for additional requests from the client. If there's bad HVAC noise, I may use spectral subtraction, but typically only for a measure or so at the beginning of a movement in order to get a clean entrance, then slowly crossfade back to unprocessed.

As Da-Hong points out, this kind of multi-pass workflow requires a tool like Sequioa. It's often the case that the final touch-up happens weeks later.

David L. Rick
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #13
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nightchef's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Rick ➡️
1. If there's bad HVAC noise, I may use spectral subtraction, but typically only for a measure or so at the beginning of a movement in order to get a clean entrance, then slowly crossfade back to unprocessed.
That’s a great idea—stolen.
Old 1 week ago
  #14
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Plush's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Here I use Sequoia. During training at a super famous German Tonstudio they taught me to always make the cut at the most unexpected place and to make the most difficult cut.

I welcome clients at the edit but would never allow them to continue to comment about imaginary edits. Nor do I allow them to suggest silly things or endless experimentation that provides no improvement.

The engineer needs to maintain edit expertise and assert it.

The custom here is to limit edit sessions to about 3-4 hours. After that time the ear tires.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #15
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nightchef's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush ➡️
Here I use Sequoia. During training at a super famous German Tonstudio they taught me to always make the cut at the most unexpected place and to make the most difficult cut.
I think I get why “most unexpected place” might make sense, but what was the reasoning behind “make the most difficult cut”? Was that just a pedagogical strategy (“if you can learn to make the most difficult cut, then all the others will be easy”)? Or is there some reason why that’s supposed to make for a better end product?
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #16
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David Rick's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Cut!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush ➡️
Here I use Sequoia. During training at a super famous German Tonstudio they taught me to always make the cut at the most unexpected place and to make the most difficult cut.
Roger that. Clients often ask for a cut right before the big semiquaver run but the change in reverberance is often painfully obvious. No player ever screws up the first few notes, so I often delay the edit by several notes, then cut fast and hard. Noone catches it because there's plenty of sonic camoflauge by then.

Quote:
I welcome clients at the edit but would never allow them to continue to comment about imaginary edits.
Imaginary edits usually have a simple explanation like damper buzz or the conductor banging the stand with his baton. (It's never her baton. Female conductors don't bang.) I'm happy to fix those problems in the final touch-up session: I first demonstrate to the client that there's no cut there, then open the spectral editior and remove the offending noise. Now I'm a genious. But if I do it unbidden, then I'm just expensive.

David
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