BURBANK, CA — Emmy-winning sound designer and re-recording mixer Bob Bronow of Max Post Original Productions (www.origprod.com) has found iZotope’s RX 2 quite useful in dealing with the challenging audio he comes across while posting audio for cable programs such as Deadliest Catch, The Wrecking Crew, Ax Men, The Colony and 1,000 Ways to Die.
Deadliest Catch, the Discovery Channel reality show that shoots aboard a half dozen Alaskan fishing vessels in the worst weather the Bering Sea has to offer, is just one program that challenges his audio skills. Aggressive winds, mighty surf, and an assortment of life-threatening situations challenge the fishing crews. Bronow is fortunate in that he can search for intelligible dialogue from the safety of his studio.
For every episode, he’s presented with 700 pieces of fixed dialogue, recorded solely from camera mics, lavs, and a pair of static mics located on deck. “I knew very early on that to tell these stories, it was going to be all about hearing this stuff,” he recalls. Once Bronow discovered iZotope’s RX 2 audio repair software, he knew he’d be able to give the show the dialogue quality it needed.
“Depending on the situation,” he says, “the characters could be in the engine room, near the hydraulics, or have their one lav mic stuck underneath all their protective gear.” He evaluates all of the show’s recorded audio. “I go through all the footage — every piece of dialogue. I evaluate it and remove as much noise as I can — and that’s where RX 2 comes in. I go through mixes looking for stuff to fix now, things that I wouldn’t necessarily have been able to help before. I couldn’t get through an episode without it.”
To eliminate isolated booms and bangs, Bronow uses the Denoiser, Declicker, and Spectral Repair modules. Spectral Repair also comes into play for removing the common, unwanted rumbling sound caused by wind. “The first thing I’ll do is pull up the Spectral Repair module and the spectrogram shows all of the wind blusters. The neat thing about RX is that it doesn’t just remove the noise like an EQ would. It washes it, like a watercolor.”
RX 2’s modules also allow adjustments to be made to the intensity of the noise reduction, allowing Bronow to leave essential elements in the mix to give ambience to the shot. “A lot of times, I’ll leave some noise in there because I want the viewer to realize ‘Yeah! It is cold. It is windy.’ I just don’t want it to completely obliterate the dialogue.”
Ax Men is another reality series where ADR isn’t an option. Bronow uses the RX 2 to remove sudden, loud noises caused by logging machinery and safety equipment. And in The Colony, where the show’s subjects were building a machine out of an old alternator and bike parts, he also used Spectral Repair.
Izotope is offering a 10-day trial of the RX 2. Check out their Website for details (www.izotope.com/rx).