iZotope’s RX 3
At least once a year, I like to turn the reviews toward audio. Real filmmakers understand that sound contributes to at least half of the story. Frequently, in animation and visual effects, we lose sight, or sound, of that fact. On the audio side of things, there are just as many specialized tools for tailoring those sounds as we have for refining the visuals. And iZotope is a leading company dealing with the problems that sound designers face. RX 3 and RX 3 Advanced were released this past fall to tackle the issue of bad audio.
Having gone through a month of creating videos in less than controlled environments, I can’t even express how critical removing noise from dialogue is. The Dialogue Denoiser module dynamically analyzes and then removes noise from the dialogue. But with noise gone, you still may have reverb problems because of the acoustic properties of the room. Simply put, this is an echo of the voice as it bounces around, and it’s nearly impossible to get out. But, RX 3’s Dereverb technology removes those annoying bits. Because it’s eliminating the room (essentially), it also smoothes out problems you run into when you have to record dialogue in different settings and try to make it sound the same.
Other issues in dialogue recording are clicks and pops stemming from analog to digital transfers or simply technology problems, which often happen at isolated frequencies. RX 3’s Declick can be adjusted to take care of those pesky pops and intuitively blend out the pieces it removes. In fact, that approach can also be used to select and paint out in the Spectral Analysis view of the audio. Many of you Adobe Audition users will recognize the methodology. But, as powerful as Audition is, I found RX 3 cleaner in its procedural repair systems and a bit more streamlined.
Another huge audio problem is clipping—which occurs when your recording is too loud and the signal is literally clipped...above a certain level? No mas. There is no signal. RX 3 analyzes the signal through Declip and attempts to rebuild the missing data, converting a completely unusable clip into something clean and pristine (albeit slightly synthetic to audiophiles).
And these examples are merely the heavy lifting tools. You as the audio engineer have your hammer and screwdrivers in the form of EQs, Gain, Channel Operations and Time and Pitch operations. This is all technology that happened to win a 2013 Engineering Emmy for iZotope. If it’s good enough to impress the Academy, I suspect that it’s good enough for your sound needs. Price: $349; Advanced: $1,199 Website: izotope.com