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Old August 14th, 2007, 12:15 PM   #1
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Dialogue in New York City

I have to shoot a feature film, guerrilla style, outside in New York City. The challenge is, of course, dialogue recording. Should I simply record the entire movie with ADR? Or should I use lavalier mics for the dialogue? I'm weary about using any type of on set microphone because the ambient noises will not only be loud, but they will more than likely change from shot/hour to shot/hour. Thanks.
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Old August 14th, 2007, 02:11 PM   #2
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I'm not sure why you would even put the option on the table of having a whole feature done in ADR. I think you made some of the sound guys cry when they read that.

There's nothing wrong with lavs, or even using the boom if it's possible.
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Old August 14th, 2007, 02:39 PM   #3
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I record dialogue all the time here. Is your feature set on location? Nobody is going to complain about some traffic noise on the streets of NYC. If you're worried about loud sounds making it hard to cut your film, there are a few simple things you can do:

Get a take clean of car horns, buses, and helicopters. These are going to be the hardest to cut from. (Sometimes you hardly notice a plane going overhead, but that's up to your sound guy. I don't like them and will almost always cut for them too.)

Record a bunch of room tone. Like you said, it will change over time. Get some every hour or so. The best way to do this is to stay alert and keep perspective - if you hear the ambience has changed, record it right away.

I know this is a stylistic choice, but it will make your life easier if you tend towards longer cuts. Yes, you're more likely to have a problem during a take. The advantage is that you have to worry a lot less about transitions. If you're recording a bunch of three- and five-second shots, chances are high that traffic noise will be slightly different every time. (It could work, it could feel very strange to the viewer.) If you get the whole scene shot in forty seconds, you won't have to scramble to make everything match in post. It'll just be there.

Like Jeffrey said, lavs are a good choice for the noisier locations. No mic will ever cut out all of the noise from the street without changing some of our ideas about physics. Boom when you can.

If you really want to ADR a whole feature no one can stop you. I also can't say that ADR won't be a good idea, depending on where you want to shoot. My advice is to get as much on location as humanly possible. If you haven't ADRed before, try doing some on a little test shoot. You won't know what you're dealing with until you try it yourself!
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Old August 14th, 2007, 03:10 PM   #4
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Well, my biggest problem from my last project was ambient sounds. Either the ambient sounds were too loud, or they didn't match from shot to shot.

As for ADR, the reason why I asked is because the ADR I did for my last project came out pretty good. I think the trick to ADR is cutting away when things go out of sync (like cutting to a reaction shot or a wide shot, for example.) I'm not particularly keen on the idea of doing 100% ADR, but it puzzles me how bigger budget films get their dialogue tracks so clean.
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Old August 14th, 2007, 04:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Gipson View Post
Well, my biggest problem from my last project was ambient sounds. Either the ambient sounds were too loud, or they didn't match from shot to shot.

As for ADR, the reason why I asked is because the ADR I did for my last project came out pretty good. I think the trick to ADR is cutting away when things go out of sync (like cutting to a reaction shot or a wide shot, for example.) I'm not particularly keen on the idea of doing 100% ADR, but it puzzles me how bigger budget films get their dialogue tracks so clean.
What mics were you using on your last project?

A lot of the times for bigger budget films, there are a lot of factors that come into play simply because there is more control of the environment, good audio post-production work, and the list goes on... Although nothing beats top notch mic placement and technique. ;)
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Old August 14th, 2007, 04:57 PM   #6
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I used a Rode NTG-2 short shotgun mic. I kept the mic between 3 and 4 feet away from the actor's mouths (most of the time.) My biggest problem was with planes flying over head.
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Old August 15th, 2007, 09:20 AM   #7
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On a bouncy concrete street with noise coming in from everywhere, you're a little far away and I'd try a good hyper; an Audix SCX-1 or, better yet a Schoeps cmc641.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old August 15th, 2007, 11:43 AM   #8
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...and people love to shoot in NY, well because it's NY! So get a wide establishing shot of the actors talking/walking/whatever, then reshoot the rest of the scene tighter to get your boom closer but not in frame and make sure to overlap the wideshot scene...

then the editing trick is to use a few seconds of the AUDIO from the tighter dialog shot with the visual of the wider shot, then when you cut to the tighter shot the sound will be seamless (because there is no audio cut) and less visually jarring...

I'd lav as a backup, but my primary would be to have a great Boom Person!

Hope this helps,
Lonnie
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