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IronFilm

NoiseAssist, $600 Plugin for the Sound Devices 8 Series

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Hmm, would like to see it on actual material. Was it just me or did it sound like an overprocessed file with RX when he dialed it in? Might have been my imagination or usual YouTube compression. 

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I can hear the NR "eating into" the words in their demos.  I guess it would be much too old-school of me to suggest that this kind of NR is STILL best done in post, in a quiet studio, on speakers, and with buy-in from the director?  As opposed to baking the NR into the track while monitoring on headphones while still being in that noisy environment?  With far fewer parameters to make the NR more invisible and a one-size-fits-all approach?  Using whatever leftover time is available to a PSM to do this work during a shot?   I note that in their videos SD never mentions an idea of maybe recording a non-processed version of the tracks as well as the processed one?   Another oldster comment: this thing is a big loaded gun, far more able to cause irreparable damage to recorded audio than any sort of mix-assist.  What have we now done to ourselves?

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Sounds pretty good for 3db noise reduction, at 6db subtle artifacts start to creep up. I imagine it can be useful for broadcast, but dangerous for narrative. If it is applied to isos, is the noise reduction printed into the isos or just passed on "post isos" so to say?

 

6 minutes ago, Paul Isaacs said:

 

Yes.

Sounds scary.

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Cedar DNS 2, which many of us use all the time on the cart, is learning permanently, too. That’s a good thing. 
And I see this plugin as a good thing, too. 
First of all, I‘m glad there are more plugins coming, so I‘m hoping for even more of those in the future (I‘m still dreaming of an overdub plugin, or added feature). 
Second, I don’t even really care all that much how it sounds as long as it is possible to only apply it to the mix track - sorry didn’t actually watch the video. If that is not possible then I‘m not interested. 
Third, great I can sell my Cedar!

Fourth, my theory is that similar to MixAssist followed by Dugan, they might release NoiseAssist now, followed by Cedar later. That would be awesome. And we would probably have the same discussion again, about the dangers of on-location noise reduction. 

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The way to view NoiseAssist, is it's simply another tool in your toolbox which you can use when in a situation where you can't escape the background noise e.g. distant traffic or air conditioning. And like all processing (EQ, compression gating etc), do not over apply - it can then be very effective.

 

It can be applied to ISOs or Mix buses or both.

 

Paul

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Holy reducers! I knew something like this was coming sometime - didn't think it would be quite so soon. Poor old 6 series - how soon before producers ask about 'Noise Assist'?

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30 minutes ago, Constantin said:

Cedar DNS 2, which many of us use all the time on the cart, is learning permanently, too. That’s a good thing. 
And I see this plugin as a good thing, too. 

Right. I read an article about deep learning AI yesterday and takeover of giants like Amazon/Google/Huawei etc - don't think that is the case here. You are right. It is a good thing if it adjusts automatically, I guess it just rubbed me in the wrong way in the light of that article. Hopefully the data is not offloaded to a giant profile in a server to make the algorithm better, but just something it can use for the coming seconds..

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7 minutes ago, daniel said:

how soon before producers ask about 'Noise Assist'?

I think they are going to be more worried about COVID protocols first for a while...

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14 minutes ago, Mattias Larsen said:

Hopefully the data is not offloaded to a giant profile in a server to make the algorithm better, but just something it can use for the coming seconds..

 

All NoiseAssist processing is done in realtime internally in the 8-series ... This is a very complex algorithm  that  has taken a long and intensive development to get it to suppress noise effectively with only 1ms latency.

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The .WAV files were helpful to listen to. I don't think the two examples in the intro video showcased it very well. On my monitors at home on a quiet environment a small amount of noise reduction, to me, actually sounds quite pleasant while reducing a significant amount of ambient noise. I like the idea of using it to send one processed channel with light NR and one unprocessed channel of a boom. Kind of like the SuperCMIT. And I can actually afford this option!

 

While this is exciting, I keep trying to remember that every single post person I talk to about this says they would be unhappy to get processed tracks, even if they are accompanied by the unprocessed ones.

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1 hour ago, Philip Perkins said:

I can hear the NR "eating into" the words in their demos.  I guess it would be much too old-school of me to suggest that this kind of NR is STILL best done in post, in a quiet studio, on speakers, and with buy-in from the director?  As opposed to baking the NR into the track while monitoring on headphones while still being in that noisy environment?  With far fewer parameters to make the NR more invisible and a one-size-fits-all approach?  Using whatever leftover time is available to a PSM to do this work during a shot?   I note that in their videos SD never mentions an idea of maybe recording a non-processed version of the tracks as well as the processed one?   Another oldster comment: this thing is a big loaded gun, far more able to cause irreparable damage to recorded audio than any sort of mix-assist.  What have we now done to ourselves?


Think of it as like automix. 
Handy in a range of scenarios (like for live situations, or giving a feed to camera, or for very quick turn around corporates). 
But if you've got any kind of competent post team they'll ignore these noise reduced tracks the same way they ignore your automix, and they'll go straight to the ISOs.

 

1 hour ago, Constantin said:

Fourth, my theory is that similar to MixAssist followed by Dugan, they might release NoiseAssist now, followed by Cedar later. That would be awesome. And we would probably have the same discussion again, about the dangers of on-location noise reduction. 


That is a curious theory, would we have to spend $600 twice? Or would the Cedar Plugin be priced even higher than $600? Hmmm....

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1 hour ago, daniel said:

I knew something like this was coming sometime - didn't think it would be quite so soon.

 

Me too. Just like digital wireless, multitrack on set, Dugan, 3 band EQ in bag mixer. It's been going on and on and we will live with it, love and hate it.

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46 minutes ago, IronFilm said:

That is a curious theory, would we have to spend $600 twice? Or would the Cedar Plugin be priced even higher than $600? Hmmm....

Good question. I think it depends how much it costs to license it. Dugan is free because they pay a licensing fee. Maybe Cedar will be the same?

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1 hour ago, IronFilm said:

That is a curious theory, would we have to spend $600 twice? Or would the Cedar Plugin be priced even higher than $600? Hmmm....

 
I don’t know. Maybe for the $600 you’ll eventually get NoiseAssist and Cedar? Anyway, that’s still some time in the future 

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1 hour ago, DonovanBomb said:

So what have we decided on for how much we’re charging our clients for this?


good luck! I don’t see that happening. Why would they pay extra for something that will happen anyway in post? Talking about most jobs and typical post workflow. Since Dugan was released on the 688 there was only one job I can think of where I convinced the producer to rent the 688 for that specific feature.
 

I see it as a nice luxury item for the mixer to have access to. Maybe take a little pain out of those really terrible location days. ; )

 

 Seriously though I think it could be a nice tool to at least have a sense of perspective on set regarding what noise you can work with and when it’s truly too egregious. There’s many times I can think of when a director or producer looked at me and asked is that (noise) killing us. Often I think it can probably be dealt with in post but since I spend 0 hours in post cleaning up my tracks there’s times I just don’t know. 
 

 

 

 

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19 minutes ago, Derek H said:


good luck! I don’t see that happening. Why would they pay extra for something that will happen anyway in post? Talking about most jobs and typical post workflow. Since Dugan was released on the 688 there was only one job I can think of where I convinced the producer to rent the 688 for that specific feature.
 

I see it as a nice luxury item for the mixer to have access to. Maybe take a little pain out of those really terrible location days. ; )

 

 Seriously though I think it could be a nice tool to at least have a sense of perspective on set regarding what noise you can work with and when it’s truly too egregious. There’s many times I can think of when a director or producer looked at me and asked is that (noise) killing us. Often I think it can probably be dealt with in post but since I spend 0 hours in post cleaning up my tracks there’s times I just don’t know. 
 

 

 

 

Anymore most BG noise encountered on a set can be gracefully attentuated to some degree in post.  When it is it can be done in a quiet, calibrated setup with the input of the filmmaker, who gets to weigh on on the extent they want the BG to be cleaned up and the level of NR artifacts they can live with for that particular scene.  Noise reduction is not a one-size-fits-all set-and-forget or "one knob" process when it is well done, and the game is always about how little of it can be gotten away with.  As a postie and a PSM I feel like PSMs can do whatever they like with their mix.  But getting to do that comes with the responsibility to allow people downstream from you to do that same work a different way if the project demands it. 

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What a wonderful world we live in where we can have these sort of tools in this tiny little box. Hooray for engineers! 

Also want to hear real world usage before I say anything critical; i have my doubts. But it's awesome nonetheless. 

 

Imagine a light suppression with Cedar, and then NoiseAssist, maybe sounds great and will work great in combination? Or maybe not... I dunno. 

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3 minutes ago, Philip Perkins said:

Anymore most BG noise encountered on a set can be gracefully attentuated to some degree in post.  When it is it can be done in a quiet, calibrated setup with the input of the filmmaker, who gets to weigh on on the extent they want the BG to be cleaned up and the level of NR artifacts they can live with for that particular scene.  Noise reduction is not a one-size-fits-all set-and-forget or "one knob" process when it is well done, and the game is always about how little of it can be gotten away with.  As a postie and a PSM I feel like PSMs can do whatever they like with their mix.  But getting to do that comes with the responsibility to allow people downstream from you to do that same work a different way if the project demands it. 

In a way you make the case for the 8 series NR quite well. By this I mean, spend 3k on Cedar DNS, may be it's tempting to use it for more than just previewing what post can do by way of a clean up (if you've managed to get production to cough up some extra for it being in the bag). At $600 though, NA is easier to incorporate into the workflow and if you owned an 8 series why wouldn't you? In 1 context the sound you doing is going to get no more finessing than the picture editor will find time for, and the other context the tracks will be worked by experienced post sound people who work the magic perhaps only someone like yourself (post and PSM) can have so much of an informed idea of. $600 to remove the frown from my face while I consider how much of a problem a shitty BG will be in post sounds worth it to me. No one wants to hire the guy who stops for every BG sound. In short, at the very least it is the audio equivalent of the LUTs used on set to monitor log footage.

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I totally agree with Phillip......As a post guy and PSM......Leave it to the mixing suite with better tools for the job.

I do agree that in a live situation or when you are on a no budget, editor is gonna mix it  Gig or for your own piece of mind on the mix track......Putting it on ISO’s I think is a no no.

just my two cents

Ant

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