(Yes, we really did it this way!)
by Jerry Vigil
The Perfect Edit
Ever think you've done everything right but the edit still sounds like an edit? Try this checklist before your next edit:
1. 15ips tape speed of course is better than 7 1/2. Why? You have twice the room for error.
2. On a 15ips edit, use the smaller angle on the edit block (the more slanted one). This will give you a better blending of the two pieces of audio.
3. Keep fingers off the area of the edit. Handle tape away from the edit. Oil from the skin will cause a slight drop in the high frequencies and you'll get a muffled sound at the edit point.
4. Make sure tape machine is set to repro or playback mode and not the sync mode. Otherwise mark your edits on the record head.
5. Use the slightest pressure of the grease pencil to make the mark and make a small mark. Avoid putting grease pencil marks on the tape head or grinding the tape against it with the pencil.
6. After making first cut, use one hand to hold the tape taut as you mark the edit point of the second cut. Tension from the feed reel can move the tape just enough to blow the edit point.
7. Make sure tape ends are as closely aligned as possible before applying splicing tape. You can hear open splices or overlapping ones.
8. With music, try to make all edits on a beat, preferably a loud one (snare, horns, etc.). With voices, try keeping breaths from one side and cutting to the first of the word on the other side. Listen to audio at low speed if edit is tight.
A neat little effect if you have a reverb unit and 2 recorders. Rather than the reverb decaying after the source audio, it builds up to the source audio.
1. Let's make the source audio a word. Record the word on machine #1, then flip the reels replacing feed reel with takeup reel and vice versa.
2. Now patch machine #1 into your reverb unit and ready machine #2 to record. Set reverb mix higher than usual. A 4 second decay time will sound good.
3. Roll machine #2 to record then playback #1. The word will be said backwards with the reverb decaying as it normally would.
4. Now, flip the reels on machine #2 just like you did on machine #1.
5. Playing back #2 you should hear the reverb build for 4 seconds then the word. The word will end abruptly without any reverb afterwards. Nice touch in promos, concert spots, club spots and the like when you want to put special emphasis on one or two words or your call letters. Also does interesting things to music.
Clean Up Telephone Recordings
Boost the upper mid-range frequencies with console or outboard EQ. This will of course raise the line noise of the phone. Now send the EQ'ed signal through a noise gate (on many multi-program reverb & delay units). Set threshold to open the gate only when speech is coming from the recording. Noise will then be muted.