Mouth clicks / peaks removal
I'm aware of various noise and crackle removal plugins, but I was wondering if any of you have used such for speech. In this case language is finnish, so I'm a bit worried about how it handles consonants.
The main reason I'm replying is to say that the "close mic" is not the reason you're having this problem. The problem almost certainly comes from one or both of the following:
1) The voice talent is speaking quietly.
Mouth noises tend to be about the same level regardless of how loud someone is speaking. Ever notice that you don't hear mouth noises when a rock-n-roller is screaming into a mic which is one millimeter from his lips? The reason is that the ratio of the voice level to the mouth noise level is very high. On the other hand, when a voice-over person is speaking quietly the ratio of the voice level to mouth noise level is low, so you hear the clicks, saliva gurgle, etc.
2) Some people do generate more and louder mouth noises than others.
The best solution is rarely to move the mic farther away. The only way in which that will "help" is to pick up fewer high frequencies from both the voice and the mouth noises. So, you're basically screwing up your recording of the voice in order to reduce the clicks, which is probably what you will also do if you try to use a "batch" de-clicker on the recording.
It sounds like you've already recorded the VO for this project, but for future reference, one thing I've found helpful is to have some apple slices handy for the VO talent to snack on. The pectin in the apple helps reduce the mouth noises a fair bit.
I work for a place that does a LOT of spoken word recordings - we make a line of talking books and interactive DVDs for children. If there were a better way I'd like to think we'd have found it by now.
In the editing process I have found that automating EQ rather than volume sounds a little more natural. Also in some spots a little patching can do wonders, just a syllable from another line of dialog or a previous take that matches closely to cover that .23 second of exotic oral noises.
Thoughts on how to help prevent though:
1. Avoid giving the actors milky drinks. Helps reduce the amount of saliva produced, and can help reduce some mouth noises. Hot water, honey and lemon is a good standby drink - so are herbal teas.
2. A lot of clicks can have the gain pulled right down or just deleted (possibly with background noise put in as a replacement). I personally only use the pencil tool as a last resort.
3. This will sound like recording technique heresy, but it I find it can work quite well. Use some "gentle" and smooth gating as you are recording in (keeping the range to about 10dB reduction). We find the drawmer 201's were the smoothest and the fact these can be used with a frequency filter on the main input. Warning: This can generate more problems that it cures, and it needs very diligent monitoring to make sure that additional artifacts (double breaths are the worst offender, where the gate closes during an intake) aren't generated. I find by carefully listening and following the script, I'm able to markup when and where all the noises occur.
Anyway somehow the apple neutralized that effect.
Another thing to try is diet coke, as it helps coat the actor's mouth and hide the noise, too.
Having worked as a talent to make some extra money during my student days, I always sticked to the above and never regreted it; however, when I had to record a dark, spooky, as unfamiliar as possible voice for a sound design project, the chocolate and almonds bar I gave my talent to eat did wonders!
Oh! And don't forget that when it comes to female talents, their performance is affected by the days of their menstrual cycle they happen to be.
Excerpt from thread "mouth clicks etc. peaks removal Apr 22, 2005 and "Hooray for this group " Feb 10, 2007 at Sound Design discussion list
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