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Old December 5th, 2007, 04:46 AM   #46
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If you are shooting in questionable circumstances (legal, permit or safety reasons) booms are not possible...

Last edited by Petri Kaipiainen; December 5th, 2007 at 03:30 PM.
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Old December 5th, 2007, 04:46 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by Wayne Brissette View Post
Here is another idea that you could test locally first. Rent two booms and two mics. ...
Exactly what I was thinking in my note a few posts above. And I've been assuming it's scripted or at least reasonably predictable as to who will be speaking next to a pair of boom ops would be able to coordinate their aim. If, as Steve Oakley mentioned, it's just a group jabbering at random then all bets are off for booms. Not sure I'd agree with his suggestion to use a cardioid mic though. Most cardioids have working distances so close that you'd need to be almost hitting the cast on the tops of their heads with the mics to be close enough to get anything worth using. Couple that with their lack of off-axis rejection and you're going to inviting lots of headaches (if you excuse the term :>)
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Old December 5th, 2007, 05:30 AM   #48
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If, as Steve Oakley mentioned, it's just a group jabbering at random then all bets are off for booms. Not sure I'd agree with his suggestion to use a cardioid mic though. Most cardioids have working distances so close that you'd need to be almost hitting the cast on the tops of their heads with the mics to be close enough to get anything worth using. Couple that with their lack of off-axis rejection and you're going to inviting lots of headaches (if you excuse the term :>)
This is how I started thinking about it... two people splitting things up into zones and using either hypercards or better yet short guns with wider than normal patterns (think NTG-1/-2). Now, Petri has a good point about booms and legality, but just the other day I received a flyer for Lightwave Audio's new G5 boom pole. It's an 8 foot (~ 2.5 m) pole that has 5 sections that breaks down. I'm sure it's not cheap... is any boom pole cheap???, but it the kicker is a total break down of the pole. So, you might be able to use something like this.

If you're going to be a guerilla film team, and work without permits, you're going to have to think in guerilla terms... painter poles, heck maybe even pieces of wood with camps for the mics. None of these are pretty, but based on what I've heard so far, this seems to be the direction of this production.

Wayne
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Old December 5th, 2007, 05:54 AM   #49
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With your resume you are more then welcome to any of the spots, just as long as you are willing to work for stock options in a startup.
Dear Tom,

I'm not smart enough to know how to eat stock options, deposit them in the bank or pay the gas and electric bill with them. :)

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Old December 6th, 2007, 03:13 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by Wayne Brissette View Post
This is how I started thinking about it... two people splitting things up into zones and using either hypercards or better yet short guns with wider than normal patterns (think NTG-1/-2). Now, Petri has a good point about booms and legality, but just the other day I received a flyer for Lightwave Audio's new G5 boom pole. It's an 8 foot (~ 2.5 m) pole that has 5 sections that breaks down. I'm sure it's not cheap... is any boom pole cheap???, but it the kicker is a total break down of the pole. So, you might be able to use something like this.

If you're going to be a guerilla film team, and work without permits, you're going to have to think in guerilla terms... painter poles, heck maybe even pieces of wood with camps for the mics. None of these are pretty, but based on what I've heard so far, this seems to be the direction of this production.

Wayne
Some of it will have to be guerilla, without permits, etc, but we're also going to run into situations were we need to muster up all the legitimacy we can. And nothing says professional crew like a boom.

Based on what I've read so far we're going to need two setups - one with wireless lavs (if we can get them into the country), and one with a boom.

While we can move some money around to get extra budget for sound, we won't be ending up with an extra person for sound. If we had to boom the group with a single mic is our best bet to try and deal with the "headaches" (so to speak) of a cardiod, or is it a loosing battle?
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Old December 6th, 2007, 05:20 AM   #51
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Some of it will have to be guerilla, without permits, etc, but we're also going to run into situations were we need to muster up all the legitimacy we can. And nothing says professional crew like a boom.

Based on what I've read so far we're going to need two setups - one with wireless lavs (if we can get them into the country), and one with a boom.

While we can move some money around to get extra budget for sound, we won't be ending up with an extra person for sound. If we had to boom the group with a single mic is our best bet to try and deal with the "headaches" (so to speak) of a cardiod, or is it a loosing battle?
Without giving away your program ideas, what is a typical scenario that you'll be shooting? An "Amazing Race" scenario is likely to require one sort of setup, "Great Illegal Casinos of The World" with your 5 players clustered yelling around the Craps tables while looking over their shoulders for the cops another, while your characters standing in a romantic location doing carefully scripted dramatic dialog yet another.

As for booming the group with a single mic, only you know the setup you'll be shooting in, how far apart the people will be from each other, whether you'll be shooting ENG/Doco style or repeating the scenes dramatic film-style from various angles to provide full coverage, that sort of thing. The boom mic needs to be aimed directly at the speaker and for a hyper usually around 18" and 24" from the speaker while a short gun might go, say, 24" to 36" inches away. Cardioids and omnis need to be even closer, down in the < one foot range, which is why they're not used so much for dialog. Those are just general rules of thumb - working distances vary between different mics so experiment. You need someone working the boom who either knows the script as well as the actors or can anticipate the ebb and flow of ad-lib speech so he can keep the mic always aimed at the person speaking. You can't just dangle a mic somewhere over the center of a cluster of people all talking at once and expect good results.
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Old December 10th, 2007, 03:38 PM   #52
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Headache. Trust me. You're going to be crying by the end of the day. One boom for 5 people is a no no. No matter how you block the scene. Multiple booms could work.

It takes a while to learn the dance between camera & sound op. Add to that 5 people improvising and you have a sound person working three times as hard with not so great results.
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Old December 11th, 2007, 09:41 PM   #53
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First off, I must note that I don't have nearly as much experience as a lot of people who have already replied here. But, I have done a fair amount of audio recordist work in my own country and overseas.

Do your research. Write down a list of ALL the locations you will be visiting, and find out the local laws in regards to radio frequencies, filming in public, custom laws, etc. This can all be found relatively easily on the Internet. You want to know EVERYTHING POSSIBLE about the locations you are visiting. Also find out what you can actually CARRY with you on the plane. Whenever I travel overseas with my Z1P, I take it on the plane with me along with all the expensive stuff (i.e. microphones, wireless gear, etc.). I've never had any problems, although I've always flown with "good" airlines to "stable" countries (South Africa, etc.).

What exactly are you filming? I've read through all these posts briefly, and can't work out what exactly you're planning to do, apart from having around 5 people talking in various parts of the world, without permits in some places.

Will these people be walking and talking? Running and talking? Swimming and talking?

I'm presuming you've already got the two Sony Z1's and you've definitely decided to go with these two cameras. That's cool - I love those Sony cameras. First off, you'll need GOOD operators. If you're getting interns to operate them - then train them up before you go. It's not that hard to teach someone how to use a camera competently. That's an advantage you've got. You can TRAIN your crew before you leave. Make sure they know their stuff. Research and training is the key!

Considering you have no money, and you're new to this, I would do the following. Others might (ok, will!) disagree:

1. Record straight to camera. It's not ideal, but will make life easier when shooting, it'll save you money on postal, it will make life easier in post production. It's NOT the right way to do it, nor is it the best way. But it will work. You'll have audio (not necessarily the best audio) recorded with the pictures. Personally, in your case, I think it's more important to worry about microphone selection and placement than what you're recording to.

2. Purchase three hyper-cardioid microphones with wind protection for use on boom poles. Train up your boom swingers before you leave. Practise, practise, practise! You can make it work - just. If you have absolutely no money, a Rode NT3 will work. I've used it on a boom many a time, and it works fine. It's NOT the right tool for the job, but us "indie film-makers" need to just make things work! Purchase three shotgun microphones as well. You whatever microphone is right for the job. Rode range or the ME66 microphone will work. Hopefully you can get away with only having to use two booms for each set-up (leaving the third as a spare).

3. Purchase four WIRED lapels. You can use these for any sit down interviews, etc. Forget wireless - you can't afford good stuff, you're GOING to have problems with frequencies and customs - it's just not worth the hassle. If you were filming in Australia, the UK, the States, New Zealand, etc. I would suggest just using a multi-channel recorder and 5 channels of DECENT radio mics - but you're travelling all over the shop. Wireless will cause you more problems than good.

4. Buy two field mixers. Sound Devices MixPre's will do. Have one for each camera. Give one each to your boom operators. If you have five people speaking, put the two most important people on lapels if possible (one lapel per mixer), and boom the rest. So on CAMERA A you'll have CAMERA LEFT BOOM 1 and CAMERA LEFT LAPEL 1. On CAMERA B you'll have CAMERA RIGHT BOOM 2 and CAMERA RIGHT LAPEL 2. If you can't lapel them then use that third boom pole.

That'll work. But! If you can gather together some more cash...

Get a Sound Devices 744T field recorder, a Sound Devices 422 mixer, three GOOD hyper-cardioid's on booms with wind protection and three GOOD shotguns, four GOOD wired lapels. Have one person take care of the audio recording, and two people on boom (with a third on standby if need be). The benefits for this are not only you'll get a better quality recording (due to the compression used on the Z1's), but you'll be "detached" from the cameras, making shooting easier. Depending on what exactly you're shooting, this could be a BIG help!

My suggestion: forget about all the "toys" for now. Work out what you want to achieve. Imagine in your head how the production is actually going to work. If you're all running around like madmen, then having cables between audio operators, cameras, boom poles, etc. is going to be hell. If all the shots are going to be "set up", then you can probably achieve everything you want using wired lapels (wired is ALWAYS better than wireless). If you're going to be doing "illegal/dodgy" things in "dodgy" places, then you want to be discrete and subtle - three boom poles won't work.

Work out how you want the production to flow, do your research, and then ask the SPECIFIC technical questions - such as which microphone is best for the job. At the moment, you're too vague, and that's probably why people have been "shutting you down".

I'm all for just "running out there" and making a movie happen. I'm all for indie productions. I'm all for using tools for jobs they weren't originally intended for. I'm all for breaking the rules and pushing the boundaries. But I always do my research first. I test and experiment. I ask questions (sometimes those questions may seem stupid). But I always treat audio seriously. I don't work out what cameras, and crew I can get and then think, "oh shit, gotta get some microphones and cables now".

You're production sounds exciting, and a hell of a lotta fun! But it won't be very funny if you can't get good sound and all of your equipment keeps failing (because you only paid for crap) or confiscated (because you didn't research the local RF laws).

So, stop, go back, do some research. Work out what YOU want. Then we'll all help you how to achieve it. Think before you ask. Most of the time you can answer your own question!

And remember, if you purchase QUALITY gear to start with, it will last you a very long time. If you purchase crap, it might last you the production, and then that's it. That could be fine! You might only need it for that particular show (SOMETIMES it makes more sense to buy 20 of a Chinese thing, than one of a good quality product as you can just keep replacing the Chinese thing when it dies). But you have to think long term. Do you wish to use this gear again, and again? Is it an investment? If so, then it might be worth buying the best you can (as someone else suggested, maybe one Z1 is better than two - it'd be nice to have a backup, but you haven't thought about an audio backup, so I'm assuming you're just going to hope nothing breaks). But if you're going to re-evaluate everything after this production, cut your losses and start again for the next one, then by all means, just make it happen with whatever you can get your hands on.

Just make sure you have plenty of all the oddbod stuff. Bring lots of spare cables, adapters, any existing microphones you having lying around (you might be able to use that PG81 you bought three years ago for something!). Buy plenty of gaffer, electrical tape, medical tape, clamps, pegs, magic arms, coat hangers - you're going to have to do a LOT of improvisation! And MAKE SURE you separate all the gear between your crew when you travel. That way if one person gets gets stolen off them, or confiscated, at least you'll have something left over to make it work. BACKUP/CONTINGENCY PLANS are VITAL. Plan! Plan! Plan! Research! Research! Research! Gaffer! Gaffer! Gaffer!

Hiring pros in each country would make the MOST sense, but I understand why you want to try and do it all yourself. It's the WRONG way to do it, but I've done exactly the same in the past and have learnt from my mistakes. In the end it'll be CHEAPER to hire pros that to do it all yourself (lets be honest - you'll need to hire pros anyway to FIX up all the audio in post if you use interns to record it!). But you CAN make it work if you do purchase it all yourself and make the best of whatever you get.

It's all very well to say, "purchase the best stuff" and "hire pros" but at the end of the day, it's not always possible. Sometimes you just have to make do with "crap gear" and "crap people" and whatever you end up with is what you end up with.

Sorry to all the pros out there if I've given this "newbie" bad advice.

Tom, good luck with the production! I hope this post is of SOME help.

Chris!
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Old December 11th, 2007, 10:01 PM   #54
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I'll have what Chris is having. :)

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