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Casablanca in the Classroom
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Audio Definitions
VU meters
Show levels ranging from -10 dB to +3 dB. In between is "0" dB. Use the VU meter to maintain dB levels that break no more than 10% of the time into the plus dB side above "0."

Peak LED meters
Usually faster and more responsive than the dial VU meter. These usually have "0" at the top and require the operator to "ride" levels at an average of about 70% of "0" dB. These are the meters found in Casablanca audio menus. The best rule for setting audio levels is to maintain the highest level without distortion.

Hertz (Hz)
Frequency of sound waves; lower Hz indicates longer waves over a timed interval, hence lower pitches; high Hz (above 1000, often shown in Kilohertz or kHz) indicates shorter waves, hence higher pitches. The combined Hz, from low to high, is known as the spectrum of a specific sound.

Radiated or Radio Frequencies (RF)
Undesirable sounds and harmonics, usually from nearby radio transmitters, that creep into the audio system.

Decibel (dB)
Relative intensity level of sound; the term was adopted by the Bell labs in its early work with telephone voice levels.

Correcting Sound Problems
Watch out for these audio problems in all your video productions.
Be sure that all on-camera and technical people are aware of possible audio issues/interference and how to avoid or eliminate them.

Hand Rustling
Moving your hand when handholding a mike can cause an audible rustling sound. Blowing: This is common practice for inexperienced video producers. Blowing can damage sensitive pickup surfaces and ruin good mikes. If a test is needed, speak into the mic or gently tap the surface.

Jewelry and Clothing
When placing lavaliere or wireless mikes on a subject, avoid placing the mike surfaces where they will come in contact with pins, tie clasps, brooches, necklaces, etc. Ask the subject to remove the item(s) or place the mike well away from jewelry. Use care in attempting to hide the mike by attaching under neckties, shirts, sweaters or blouses. Such placement can muffle the sound and can also pick up a rustling sound from silk and some synthetics. There is also potential for building static electricity in the mic that can cause a crackling, frying sound. Remember, there is nothing wrong with seeing a mike as long as the placement does not look sloppy.

Chest Thumping
Some people are prone to touch or thump on their chests expressively when speaking. Too often, the subject forgets the lavaliere microphone is in place and bangs directly on the mike surface.

Explosive Voices
Use care in placing the mike in a close, direct path with a speaker's lips. The column of air from the mouth exaggerates "P," "B," and "T" sounds, turning them into loud "pops" and low level 'bumps'.

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