iZotope’s RX 4 Provides Better Sound at Harpo

The audio team at Harpo Studios: (L-R) Tim Reisig, J.R. Chappell and Gerry Formicola.

CHICAGO—We serve as the post-production team for Harpo Productions, mixing multiple shows and promos for The Oprah Winfrey Network. Our audio team (Tim Reisig, Gerry Formicola and I) started working together in the early days of “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” one of the most popular daytime talk shows in TV history. With such a wide-ranging audience and long-lasting legacy, the pressure is on us to continue to deliver a great mix for our shows, often with a very short turnaround time.

We’ve been using the iZotope RX audio repair toolkit in connection with that show and other work for a long time and it’s become an indispensable tool. Recently, we started using the beta version of iZotope RX 4 and really like its new features. Its Ambience Match is a huge help, as it generates matched room tones, freeing us from randomly searching for a piece of ambience to plug an audio “hole.” I can now select a clip and RX generates a matching room tone which I then render to the desired length and feather this in. This saves a lot of time.

We’re currently working on a show called “Iyanla: Fix My life” and its star, Iyanla, is a very dynamic talent. One minute she’ll be speaking fairly loudly, and then she’ll go to a whisper. This means we go from hearing very little room tone to hearing a great deal of it. Ambience Match is perfect for bridging such transitions.

iZotope’s new Leveler feature is also really nice when I’m in a hurry. It removes the worry about hitting my -24 dB Dialnorm, allowing me to spend less time riding levels and letting me concentrate on noise reduction and other things I need to focus on.

iZotope’s new EQ Match feature has been really handy for shows such as “Oprah: Where Are They Now?” This production may incorporate clips from shows produced during the past 25 years. Often, the sonic difference between clips is significant and EQ Match allows us to smooth out the sound from clip to clip. We simply choose a good sounding clip and the application matches the other clips to that. It’s a lot faster and easier that manually finessing equalization.

In the past, we rarely had time to go to the stand-alone version of iZotope’s RX app. We love working with it, but sometimes it could take too long to move files between it and Pro Tools. With the new RX Connect feature in RX 4, the round-trip between the application and Pro Tools is faster than ever.

As I use most of the iZotope tools, I can also now keep the RX Connect window up when I’m mixing, instead of trying to manage a lot of individual plug-in windows. This streamlines my repair workflow as it allows me to capture audio one time and have all of the RX tools available in one place for immediate use. I don’t know how we ever go along without iZotope and this latest release is even better.

J.R Chappell has served as audio director for Harpo Productions for 25 years. He may be contacted at jchappell@harpo.com.

For additional information, contact iZotope at 617-577-7799 or visit www.izotope.com.