Working with Sound

Ambient Noise

We know to avoid loud and disruptive noises when recording, but we often overlook softer and more consistent sounds like fans, air conditioners, computers, and refrigerators, which can be equally as problematic. While all rooms have ambient or background noise, it is probably the element of sound we think about the least. Besides to getting a sense of the acoustical nature of the Bapst Library, Fine Print Reading Room, office, and Podcasting Room in the previous section, you also could hear the ambient noise in the spaces. Like reflection, ambient noise is not a bad thing, and, like reflection, not having it can be off-putting. It just shouldn’t be distracting or overpowering. When recording it is best to capture the ambient noise, or room tone, as it is called when recording. This will be helpful during editing when you have empty spaces, which if not filled with room tone will jar the listener as there suddenly will be complete silence. In this Bapst Library example, you can hear the difference that filling in and not filling in the room tone makes.

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