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Getting to Know Bobb Barito


Forager sound designer and re-recording mixer on why it's important not to use tools as a crutch

Getting to Know Bobb Barito

Bobb Barito is an Emmy Award-nominated sound designer and re-recording mixer based in New York. With over a decade of experience, his body of work spans everything from Super Bowl commercials to children’s shows to audacious films. His television work has been featured on Nickelodeon, NBC, Amazon, and Netflix, and his film work has been displayed at hundreds of festivals around the world, including Sundance, Berlinale, Slamdance, Tribeca, and SXSW. In 2018 he was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Sound Editing in a Preschool Animated Program for his work on Amazon’s Click Clack Moo: Christmas at the Farm.

LBB> First of all give us an introduction to both what you have chosen to focus on and WHY it’s so exciting to you personally as someone working in sound.

Bobb> I use Izotope RX extensively on a daily basis, and the lengths that the technology has come in the past 10 years has been exciting. The level to which a crumby recording can be salvaged has made it into the aural equivalent of photoshop, making it easy to clean, polish, and even manipulate dialogue.

LBB> What past developments or innovations does your chosen topic build upon?

Bobb> The idea of denoising dialogue isn’t new, but what the software has been building upon is ultimate accessibility and control.

LBB> Tell us about some examples of this out in the real world and tell us why you think these examples are so exciting or interesting.

Bobb> I apply dialogue isolation and decrackle (for mouth noises) to nearly everything I mix that includes dialogue that wasn’t recorded in a booth. Even if I want to preserve the ambience of the setting, it still can help to just boost the voice so the viewer can focus without having to lean in or turn up their volume to hear. I often use the dialogue leveler tool as well - which offers a great starting point for mixing dialogue (especially for commercials where there’s a music bed). Beyond those two tools, the software has made it easier to target specific issues - dewind, derustle, de-reverb - and with each update they improve their algorithms so that sound can be at its highest possible fidelity. Another feature I get to use occasionally is dialogue contour, which allows you to change the intonation of someone’s voice. For example, if an interviewee has a frankenbite stitched together for clarity, but their voice jumps all over the place from word to word, it’s possible to adjust the pitch of their voice to make the intonation more even and seamless. 

LBB> What are the challenges that you have to take into account when considering or working within this area?

Bobb> It’s important not to use the tools as a crutch. With each module, there are multiple parameters that can bring out digital artifacts if pushed too far. Like any other tool, they’re best to be used in moderation and with taste. 

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Forager, Mon, 28 Feb 2022 14:54:29 GMT