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How we compressed Honey Smack HD

2007-09-08 15:58:02 by TXMStudios
Updated

http://cfx.newgrounds.com/ sent the following question and I responded. I thought I'd post it as an entry for anyone else who might want to read it.

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Superb!

The content was funny as hell, but Honey Smack HD's technical merits are excellent as well!

For something that sounds that good and is that fully animated, I might expect a filesize of 2MB, not less than 1MB.

So -- I have to ask a bit of a selfish question. How did you get such nice audio quality along with your animation? You obviously used a decent microphone and have experience dealing with Flash's odd audio issues in general, but what sort of equipment, software, and techniques did you end up using?

Best,
~Miz

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Hey Miz,

There is nothing selfish about your questions, and I'd be glad to impart what little wisdom I have.

As far as the quality of the audio goes, I used an MXL condensor microphone with a silk screen to prevent popping and a Lambda Alpha audio recorder. I got the mic in a bundle with an instrument mic for $40, you can find pop screens for $20 and the Lambda recorder set me back $100. Considering that I am also in a band and we film movies, this was all worth the money.

We then record our cartoons by the sentence in Cubase SX 3. If there are two people talking, we let one go first and get all their lines done. We've spent a lot of time practicing to make the back and forth seem intimate. For Honey Smack it only had one guy, so he just ran through the thing in two takes. Make sure there is zero peaking! There is a handy live recording peak tool just for that.

I then edit the sound in Cubase SX 3. I increase the gain as much as I can without peaking, I might slow down the dialogue if necessary. Since it is just speech, I save it as an 64 kbps / mono / 44100 Hz mp3. You could probably even get away with 48 or 32. After all that, our minute long cartoon is about 500 kB.

In Flash I set it up as streamed audio. For Honey Smack it was inserted into one scene. For my next project I am going to split the audio up into different scenes wherever there is a dead silence. I set the audio compression in Flash to 64kpbs / mono / 44100 Hz / Medium. You could again compress this more if you wanted.

Visually the goal is to break everything into layers as much as possible. When doing FBF, use a layer only for the parts that actually change. Put everything that stays still in an extended layer below it. The more information you have not requiring new keyframes, the smaller it'll be.

If you were making a game, this might be a bad idea, and you'd want every object to be drawn onto one layer for speed improvements, but it isn't really an issue for cartoons.

Hope all that helped! I'll be releasing the code I created to handle subtitles, rewind, play, and fast forward in the next week or so.

Sincerely,
Kevin Nuut


Comments

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Billy-BeanBilly-Bean

2007-09-10 15:06:13

Aren't you the clever little whipper snapper?

Seriously though, good advise. Nice cartoon.


AbsolutelynothingAbsolutelynothing

2007-09-10 22:45:00

Nice advice, man!


redbomber3030redbomber3030

2007-09-19 04:25:44

He also got a good noise floor... you need a good noise floor or it won't work. Am I right.