How could I most effectively contribute my sound engineering skills?

Post your questions & get help from friendly LibriVoxers
Cerbdashrdashus
Posts: 9
Joined: May 1st, 2020, 5:13 am
Location: Australia

Post by Cerbdashrdashus » May 1st, 2020, 9:02 pm

Hey all

So in my forum application email, I stated that my main purpose in becoming a member would be to mix and otherwise 'polish' audio recordings. The unfortunate truth of projects like this that do not have designated teams to assist talent is that the talent themselves have to perform what would be the functions of said team(s). Librivox's most obvious symptom is varying recording quality due to inconsistencies in background noise, vocal clarity and volume levels. I believe I could be a great deal of help with this. For proof, click the link to my portfolio and compare them with the current official librivox entries.

Portfolio
https://drive.google.com/open?id=10m16JWT7T5jEYi_RZag9plVugUJHvQ8N

Poems of the Great War
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1brBqyrjZ5U&t=10s

Riceyman Steps
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-j7KZE8sn0&t=31s

The Black Cat
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A71VW8GIudU&t=12s

I initially had the idea that the librivox staff would collect user submissions and send them to me and other 'post-recording volunteers', but the reply confirmation email said it would instead be me offering my services under submission posts. The trouble is that all posts with people's full recordings are labeled 'finished', so i don't if my changes will even be published

How feasible do you believe this is? Do you have another suggestion for how this could be arranged?

Thanks for reading
Sound engineer (makes audio sound gooder)

mightyfelix
LibriVox Admin Team
Posts: 6504
Joined: August 7th, 2016, 6:39 pm

Post by mightyfelix » May 1st, 2020, 9:44 pm

Thank you for your offer! I don't doubt that you are very skilled. But I'm not really sure that your suggestion is feasible. In a given month, we might complete anywhere from 70 to 120 projects (which could mean books, plays, collections of poetry or short stories, etc). There's no easy way for me to know how many hours of finished audio that comes out to, but surely you aren't planning on polishing all of them? :?

I'm sure you're also aware that most of our volunteers don't have a studio, or anything like it, but are recording in their own homes, in whatever space they have available, with whatever equipment they could afford or already had on hand. I may be wrong, but I think there's only so much you can do to "fix" audio that was recorded in that way.

One very constructive way you could offer your skills might be in editing DRs (Dramatic Readings) and plays. Most of the time, these projects already have an editor before they begin, as it's a crucial role, but sometimes the editor needs to step back if "real life" becomes demanding, and they may welcome a helping hand. For a project like this, each reader records the lines of a single character, and then all of the parts need to be cut together in the right order and balanced and so forth. I don't know whether there are any DR projects in search of an editor currently, but it doesn't seem like it, as I don't see any posts about it in Editors Wanted.

I'm sorry if I seem to be dismissing your offer; it's not my intent. But what you're suggesting seems to me to be a significant change to our normal work flow, and I'm concerned that it might complicate matters unnecessarily. You're quite right that the audio quality does differ, sometimes significantly, between submissions, but that's never been a priority to us.

annise
LibriVox Admin Team
Posts: 33555
Joined: April 3rd, 2008, 3:55 am
Location: Melbourne,Australia

Post by annise » May 1st, 2020, 10:15 pm

Hi again
As you'll find out , there is no LV staff and the readers have control over their recordings. I'm sure you would be a welcome addition to the process for some/many readers and we could probably work out a way those could ask for a final polish but in order to work out a way for this to happen we'd need to work out a few things.
So, we produce about 100 projects a month some like the weekly poetry about 15 files of about 1-2 minutes. most about 4-8 hours and 10-20 files . This is a guesstimate :D
Realistically how many hours of polishing could you do a week?
Do you see people finishing a file to PL OK status , then asking you or would you want to do the finished project in one go?

There are probably more questions to ask but that seems a good start.

Anne

sorry MightyFelix - I got called away to hold a ladder. I'd answered the first poster when he emailed and suggested we would need a forum discussion.

Anne

mightyfelix
LibriVox Admin Team
Posts: 6504
Joined: August 7th, 2016, 6:39 pm

Post by mightyfelix » May 1st, 2020, 10:20 pm

Not a problem! I agree that it's worth discussion. :)

Cerbdashrdashus
Posts: 9
Joined: May 1st, 2020, 5:13 am
Location: Australia

Post by Cerbdashrdashus » May 1st, 2020, 11:00 pm

Thank you for your replies.

I appreciate the concern for how restricted I would be by the recording limitations of the submitting users. I believe that notably improving the recording quality should still be possible. The goal is not to 'fix' them, but to make them more appealing to a general public audience, and this is very doable.

As for the amount of work i could do, this will admittedly be around 1-2 works per week, or 4-8 per month, which is a far cry from the 70-120 you will want. However, I am a believer in "some is better than none", and there are undoubtedly certain kinds of works that will be more listened to than others. Would it be helpful for me to notify other sound engineers that there are free positions here, so that polishing can happen to more recordings?

I believe I can do the most effective work right now by 'polishing' some of the more popular recordings (by youtube and archive.org views). These are the ones that are more likely to be used for educational or otherwise important purposes, so optimising their quality is a worthy goal. After that, we can continue the discussion of the role sound engineering should play at Librivox.com

Thank you for offering a position as editor. However, I do not believe my skillset aligns with that task.
Sound engineer (makes audio sound gooder)

Availle
LibriVox Admin Team
Posts: 18554
Joined: August 1st, 2009, 11:30 pm
Contact:

Post by Availle » May 1st, 2020, 11:15 pm

Hi there and welcome! A real sound engineer, how cool's that! 8-)

Just to add to what my fellow admins have said above, we do not re-open projects once they have been catalogued, unless in very exceptional cases - and to "improve" audio quality is not one of them. Audio software is constantly improving, and what was impossible 3 years ago may be doable today, and what shouldn't even be attempted today may be easy in 5 years.

Part of the reason for this is that it's quite a lot of work to re-catalog a project that's already done and finished.

The main reason, however, is that those recordings are out there on who knows how many different platforms.
The only changes we can make are on archive, where our files are stored (which also affects our own catalog).
These changes will not carry over to any other places and platform where our recordings are available - you mention youtube, but there are also many apps, iTunes and audible, personal homepages, who knows... - that may have much more download counts than our catalog/archive directly.

So, if you want to help, it's probably best if you choose a project that's in progress right now so that once it is catalogued it is done so in the best shape it can be.

Having said all this, I want to point out that we do care about audio quality. The books you are referring to are probably much older recordings where audacity (or other software) was not as good in cleaning up noise etc. Since then, these programs have massively improved - and with it our audio quality, hopefully. :D
Cheers, Ava.
Resident witch of LibriVox. "I ain't Nice."

--
AvailleAudio.com

Cerbdashrdashus
Posts: 9
Joined: May 1st, 2020, 5:13 am
Location: Australia

Post by Cerbdashrdashus » May 1st, 2020, 11:20 pm

Availle wrote:
May 1st, 2020, 11:15 pm

So, if you want to help, it's probably best if you choose a project that's in progress right now so that once it is catalogued it is done so in the best shape it can be.
Where would I find these?
Sound engineer (makes audio sound gooder)

Availle
LibriVox Admin Team
Posts: 18554
Joined: August 1st, 2009, 11:30 pm
Contact:

Post by Availle » May 1st, 2020, 11:30 pm

In all the "Readers Wanted" subforums, in "Readers Found" (where projects go that have all sections assigned) for group projects of various readers.

Or, if you prefer to work with a soloist, then "Going Solo" would be a good place to offer.

Post an offer and see what happens. Or maybe people will find you here and invite you over. :D
Just please don't "improve" recordings without permission. Some people may be a bit protective about their recordings. I for sure am. :lol:
Cheers, Ava.
Resident witch of LibriVox. "I ain't Nice."

--
AvailleAudio.com

Cerbdashrdashus
Posts: 9
Joined: May 1st, 2020, 5:13 am
Location: Australia

Post by Cerbdashrdashus » May 1st, 2020, 11:55 pm

Thanks a bunch.
Sound engineer (makes audio sound gooder)

lurcherlover
Posts: 958
Joined: November 10th, 2016, 3:54 am
Location: LONDON UK

Post by lurcherlover » May 2nd, 2020, 12:02 am

Cerbdashrdashus wrote:
May 1st, 2020, 11:20 pm
Availle wrote:
May 1st, 2020, 11:15 pm

So, if you want to help, it's probably best if you choose a project that's in progress right now so that once it is catalogued it is done so in the best shape it can be.
Where would I find these?
I am a reader and keen to achieve the best quality in both recording, editing and reading. You can find my recordings at https://librivox.org/reader/11274 and I would welcome any comments about the quality or otherwise of my recordings. I do use good mics including Royer ribbons, AKG C414 XLS and DPA. I also record into a Sound Devices MixPre 3. Some of these recordings are variable though in reading and recording quality.

Peter

Cerbdashrdashus
Posts: 9
Joined: May 1st, 2020, 5:13 am
Location: Australia

Post by Cerbdashrdashus » May 2nd, 2020, 12:10 am

and I would welcome any comments about the quality or otherwise of my recordings.
Thank you for the offer, lurcher, but I don't see myself in the critiquing business anytime soon.

Edit: I took a listen anyway and, well, you were right. You have a very good recording setup and I don't think I could do much to improve your recordings. Great job.
Sound engineer (makes audio sound gooder)

lurcherlover
Posts: 958
Joined: November 10th, 2016, 3:54 am
Location: LONDON UK

Post by lurcherlover » May 2nd, 2020, 12:26 am

Cerbdashrdashus wrote:
May 2nd, 2020, 12:10 am
and I would welcome any comments about the quality or otherwise of my recordings.
Thank you for the offer, lurcher, but I don't see myself in the critiquing business anytime soon.

Edit: I took a listen anyway and, well, you were right. You have a very good recording setup and I don't think I could do much to improve your recordings. Great job.
Thanks very much - it's nice to get some feedback from a professional. I've been trying to improve my recordings and readings over the the last two years or so and it's an always ongoing study.

(By the way, the cleanup job you did on those recordings on Youtube were really fantastic!)
Peter

Cerbdashrdashus
Posts: 9
Joined: May 1st, 2020, 5:13 am
Location: Australia

Post by Cerbdashrdashus » May 2nd, 2020, 12:42 am

lurcherlover wrote:
May 2nd, 2020, 12:26 am
it's nice to get some feedback from a professional.
I am not at all a professional, but thank you anyway. I'm glad to see I'm already gaining a bit of a reputation.
Sound engineer (makes audio sound gooder)

philchenevert
LibriVox Admin Team
Posts: 19582
Joined: October 17th, 2010, 9:23 pm
Location: Basking by the Bayou
Contact:

Post by philchenevert » May 2nd, 2020, 10:01 am

Please have a look at these YouTube videos and feel free to improve them all you want or can.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrL8iVrUYmI&t=4s (Wizard of Oz)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaGaT8KRakI&t=5s (Montessori)

Is it possible to keep the results on YouTube? Just a suggestion.
Eager to get started recording? Follow these 7 steps to recording! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKLWam9cfVo&t=74s

Who walked off with our LibriVox limbo stick! Seriously, how low can you go.

knotyouraveragejo
LibriVox Admin Team
Posts: 16931
Joined: November 18th, 2006, 4:37 pm

Post by knotyouraveragejo » May 2nd, 2020, 12:08 pm

Cerbdashrdashus,

You could start a thread over in the Listeners and Editors forum offering your audio engineering skills to readers who might be interested. I would suggest being very specific as to what you are providing. Then anyone who is interested and doesn't want to attempt this sort of audio mastering on their own can post a link to their file or project. It's a mixed group here ranging from people recording on their phones to professionals with studio level equipment and everything in between. As already mentioned, any modifications would need to be done pre-cataloging so as not to create extra work.
Jo
My Librivox Solos
Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill. - Barbara Tuchman

Post Reply