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Ever seen your audio meters go into the red?  Marked those unsightly peaks in your audio?  Heard the raging distortion that happens when somebody shouts into a mic?

B2B-Audio-Clipping.png

Remember that the computer uses a limited number of values to describe how intense each sample is.  We'll call this the threshold of the computer's sensitivity - anything above (or below) the computer's range of values is just going to have to get rounded off to the threshold.

This is called clipping.  In old-fashioned analog audio, the threshold isn't quite so strict: a little clipping can sound OK, and a lot of clipping can make a cool sound.  But in digital audio, clipping sounds horrible, and is bad for your speakers too.  And there's not much that irritates a client more than blowing out their speakers.

Luckily, the Final Cut suite (along with most other modern software) is pretty good at mitigating the distortion caused by unintentional clipping - but you have to ask nicely. 

Next time - Avoiding clipping while you're shooting
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Normalize Audio (Back to the Basics Series) was the previous entry in this blog.

Clipping, and Limiting Audio 2 (Back to the Basics series) is the next entry in this blog.

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