Field Recordists: What is your post workflow?



Hi to all you field recordists out there:

What sort of post-recording processing do you normally do on your recorded material. Specifically stuff you plan to put into your library and use down-the-road.

Do you employ minimal processing? Simply trim, maybe a high-pass filter, and bob's your uncle? Or do you prefer a little more in-depth EQing, or even some dynamic processing?

I'd love to know the difference between people's processes out there.


Posted 2012-06-06T03:05:19.050

Reputation: 774



If the recordings need EQ, dynamics, and noise reduction, then I apply it. I'm not afraid to process my stuff. I want the sounds in my library mastered and ready to go. Guns are pretty much the only thing I treat differently, based on the way I work with gun sounds, I prefer the source completely raw.

Chuck Russom

Posted 2012-06-06T03:05:19.050

Reputation: 4 359


I usually apply minimal processing (fade in, fade out and perhaps a little gain adjustment) but no EQ processing, as I like to keep the recording as close to the original as possible. However, if there is an obvious edit needed (eg. removing a short unwanted noise in an ambiance recording) I'll do it to this version. I'll store this file in my library, then I'll make a copy for the project I'm working on, where further edits will be made. This process ensures I always have a backup of my original recording.

Colin Hunter

Posted 2012-06-06T03:05:19.050

Reputation: 3 715


I ALWAYS keep an original in it's original state. Out of caution or principal? Probably both. More often than not, it's just a straight 'top and tail'. EQ if absolutely necessary and, even then, I'll save that as a copy. This works for me as it suits the way I like to use my recordings.


Posted 2012-06-06T03:05:19.050

Reputation: 11


I cut and clean, for an immediate usable sound. Meaning de-noise, eq, sometimes light compression. If the sound requires more aggressive eq to smooth out freqs or noise, I don't hesitate. Whatever captures the essence of the sound.

When time permits and a sound inspires, I'll tweak / processe it and create a new version(s) that will also be added in a different category.

Ex. Wind_Aggressive_01 Super_Duper_Whoosh_01

Alexandre Saba

Posted 2012-06-06T03:05:19.050

Reputation: 319


everything I record goes into Izotope RX2 for inspection.

weird bumps, hits, birds etc are all removed with spectral repair.

sometimes I'll do some subtractive eq, sometimes I'll do so pretty radically (ex, if I caught a door chime or whatever that has no tones under 400hz, I'll just chop everything off underneath that.

sometimes I'll use the RX denoise algorithm on the tonal only (not affecting any broadband noise) setting to get rid of weird motors and drones that aren't part of my recording target. Works well for city hum too. The tonal setting leaves no audible artifacts and is very surgical.

Sometimes I'll gain stuff up.

slates are chopped off, and sections are exported into individual files if needed.

Once the files are clean, I scan them into a temp soundminer database. From there I rebuild the waveforms, add all of the metadata and photos, and them embed it all into the bwav header.

from there the cleaned and tagged files are moved into a proper folder on our main sfx server. They're then re-scanned into our main sfx database, which is distributed to the rest of the crew.

The I'll send out an email generalizing the new sounds that are in the library.


Posted 2012-06-06T03:05:19.050

Reputation: 10 706

Hi Rene, do you use Izotope standalone for cleaning files- or take them into Pro Tools and use other plug-ins alongside Izotope? – Blue Owl Studios UK – 2012-06-23T14:46:47.973

typically its standalone. The only time i run sounds through PT is when I need to do an extraction that requires a crossfade (probably less than 20% of the time) – Rene – 2012-06-24T05:34:13.787


I think we store our recordings in dedicated raw, cleaned and post-processed file folders.

Ville Sorsa

Posted 2012-06-06T03:05:19.050

Reputation: 415


i keep the original wav without modification in folders like /[placename]/[detail][date]/.../[elaborated file name with date]

for distribution per email or websites, i create a 320kbit mp3, optionally trimmed, faded in/out, +/- gain, high pass. (sometimes i have to use a clip fix... ;-)

radio aporee

Posted 2012-06-06T03:05:19.050

Reputation: 1


I tend to keep two types: completely raw recordings, and/or cleaned recordings.

It depends on what the full recording contained as to whether I'll keep the entire raw; if I've captured some potentially useful sounds that weren't the main subject of the recording then I'll file them away in folders that describe the general recording session content. Otherwise I'll cut the file down to the captured noise of interest and store that as a raw.

My 'cleaning' usually involves some slight EQ and hiss/noise reduction, which tidies them up nicely. Recently the places I've been recording have unfortunately been closer to motorways/main roads than I'd have liked so the above 'cleaning' is vital to remove traffic drone. It's these cleaned files that I'll file away in my 'actual' library for more regular use.


Posted 2012-06-06T03:05:19.050

Reputation: 1 316