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Old May 30th, 2008, 12:30 PM   #31
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You shot stuff for "24"? Cool man. Seriously cool. That show is pretty expensive I'd take it.

I know that it is a collaborative art, and I want as much help as I can get on these projects...I just don't currently know a lot of people willing to sacrifice their time for a newbie. I am sure many in my position also have this problem. I know a lot of amateurs willing to help, but they tend to make things worse when given a set of headphones or a boom to hold. The other problem is that because I don't have the funds to shoot a movie in one fell swoop, it is difficult to secure consistent help. A guy is on location one day, than is absent the next. etc. I will find a way around all of this though. My best buddy would probably be excellent on sound, and he gets back to Canada soon. I am sure he would do sound for me.

Is it possible to set the levels in the mixer, and let the boom operator take it from there? Not ideal, but perhaps it could work. Do you really need to mix on the fly, or can you set the levels and let them be on a shot by shot basis?
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Old May 30th, 2008, 01:30 PM   #32
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Booming and mixing takes a lot of skill and practice. You should let your boom guy just concentrate on booming. If I were you, I'd get the MM1 for the boom-op. This will let him/her hear what's getting picked up by the mic. It will also give you a line level signal back to the camera, which will help protect you from interference from power cables and such. The MM1's limiter will also help keep the dynamic range under control, which is important because it seems unlikely that anyone is going to be giving their best attention to the levels. You also get phantom power, low-cut filter, and lots of extra gain. At the camera, you split the track (essentially record the same signal to both channels), and set one level higher than the other. It's best to have a third person keep an eye on the levels, but the camera operator can do it if there is a limiter earlier in the chain and you split the track. This setup will give you a reasonable margin for error. Using line level should also get you a little better audio performance from your camera. You basically want to record as hot a signal as possible. Camera operator, or other person monitoring audio, MUST MONITOR WITH HEADPHONES AT ALL TIMES.
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Old May 30th, 2008, 02:27 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Spencer Dickson View Post
You shot stuff for "24"? Cool man. Seriously cool. That show is pretty expensive I'd take it.

I know that it is a collaborative art, and I want as much help as I can get on these projects...I just don't currently know a lot of people willing to sacrifice their time for a newbie. I am sure many in my position also have this problem. I know a lot of amateurs willing to help, but they tend to make things worse when given a set of headphones or a boom to hold. The other problem is that because I don't have the funds to shoot a movie in one fell swoop, it is difficult to secure consistent help. A guy is on location one day, than is absent the next. etc. I will find a way around all of this though. My best buddy would probably be excellent on sound, and he gets back to Canada soon. I am sure he would do sound for me.

Is it possible to set the levels in the mixer, and let the boom operator take it from there? Not ideal, but perhaps it could work. Do you really need to mix on the fly, or can you set the levels and let them be on a shot by shot basis?
if levels are consistent and you get to do a rehearsal, A GOOD boom op should be able to ride the levels
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Old May 30th, 2008, 02:34 PM   #34
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"A GOOD boom op should be able to ride the levels"

Absolutely. But a novice? No way. And that's what we're talking about here. I think this particular boom op is going to need all of their attention on getting good placement. I think the camera operator will have better luck managing the levels, as problematic as that is. Far better to have a third person. No doubt.
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Old May 30th, 2008, 02:40 PM   #35
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One last thing (okay, I seem to have too much time on my hands today), but you really ought to try and get some help with this stuff. It's not that hard. Find other local filmmakers in your area and volunteer on their shoots. Expect they will do the same for you, or they are not cool people. Network, network, network.
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Old May 30th, 2008, 10:34 PM   #36
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Haven't tested the 702T but for the same specifications, it seems more expensive than the Tascam.
I've got that Tascam too. One thing it has over many other budget recorders (though I guess it has to be close to the top of what you could call budget, granted) is it can receive timecode. Of course, your camera doesn't have that. Neither does mine. What it does have though, is an ability to detect the clock rate of the camera by "watching" the video. Connect it to the composite out, and it'll run at the same speed as the camera. At least, that's what they claim. This won't help you sync up at the start, for which you'll still want a slate and good record keeping...but it should prevent drift, wherein an audio track that *was* in sync at the start of the video, is no longer in sync after the passage of time.

The only thing I'd say about it is that it seems to prefer quite hot mics, due to the preamps getting a little noisy towards the higher end of the gain.

I have no ability to judge the quality of the limiter, I have no experience of other devices (besides the one built into the DVX100B camcorder).

These latter two elements- pre-amps and limiters seem to be what people are willing to pay the big bucks for (actually timecode also seems to be something the manufacturers want to use as leaverage, but for me, would be a long long way down the chain of importance).
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Old May 31st, 2008, 12:31 AM   #37
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...

The only thing I'd say about it is that it seems to prefer quite hot mics, due to the preamps getting a little noisy towards the higher end of the gain.

I have no ability to judge the quality of the limiter, I have no experience of other devices (besides the one built into the DVX100B camcorder).

These latter two elements- pre-amps and limiters seem to be what people are willing to pay the big bucks for ...
The ideal is to use a mixer and a recorder in conjunction with each other, using the mixer's usually better preamps and limiters and controlling gain with its faders and sending line level on to the recorder. Having both gives you the most flexibility, with the ability to record direct to camera or to the separate recorder, with or without the mixer, as the situation requires.
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Old May 31st, 2008, 08:31 PM   #38
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I've given consideration to getting, say, an SD 302 to augment the Tascam. However, I'm loathe to, as my understanding is that the Tascam, when switching an input from mic to line merely applies a simple attenuator. Why oh why it wouldn't have been just as simple to by-pass the pre-amps, I don't know.

So while it might be that I can have the gain much much lower (and that does seem to produce pretty great results in fairness) when feeding the Tascam with a much hotter signal as pre-amped by the SD 302, I still feel it might be a bit silly.

Of course, I'd gain a bunch of other things too, such as better levels indicators, better limiters, and a third input...oh, and of couse, I could feed the camera with it, or hang it off a boom op...

Good lord, I really need to be saving up for some lights!
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Old June 1st, 2008, 07:24 AM   #39
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I'm primarily a sound person, but I also shoot and edit.

Finding a sound mixer that will work with you rather than for you is a good thing. Extra hands, eyes and ears always come in handy.

You know enough to recognize that you have reached your limitations. The next step is improving your craft by smart division of labor.

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Old June 1st, 2008, 12:01 PM   #40
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The one thing I don't understand about audio recording is exactly why I need a mixer. Why does someone need to "ride the levels"? Can't I just set a limiter or a compressor up to prevent the audio from peaking, and then let the boom operator go for broke? If you mix the sound while recording is taking place, won't it sound inconsistent?
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Old June 1st, 2008, 12:35 PM   #41
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You have to be real careful with active mixing. Yes, if it is done too much and especially at the wrong time you create a real headache for post. The idea with mixing is that you want the hottest signal possible without clipping. Set and forget is never really an option. Limiters help, but if you hit them too hard it sounds squashed and distorted, especially with bass heavy male voices. At least that's been my experience.
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Old June 1st, 2008, 02:09 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by Spencer Dickson View Post
The one thing I don't understand about audio recording is exactly why I need a mixer. Why does someone need to "ride the levels"? Can't I just set a limiter or a compressor up to prevent the audio from peaking, and then let the boom operator go for broke? If you mix the sound while recording is taking place, won't it sound inconsistent?
http://www.camcorderinfo.com/bbs/t134862.html

Regards,

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Old June 1st, 2008, 05:53 PM   #43
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Very clarifying Ty, thanks for the link.
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Old June 7th, 2008, 07:16 PM   #44
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I've been following this thread with interest but this list has got me confused.
I had convinced myself that a Sound Devices 302 would be my next purchase but I work alone and what Ty says here makes it sound like the 302 is only going to be be a lot of good if I am using someone else to handle the sound - which is not an option.
I tend to record the sound separately into a Fostex FR2-LE and synch the sound up on my NLE using the sound from my Canon XH A1 as a guidetrack. I don't understand what the problem is about timecode. This method seems to work fine.
My question is: as the Fostex seems to have pretty good pre-amps does it make sense for me to buy a 302 mixer as well?
For instance one drawback with the Fostex is that if I have two mics I cannot hear them individually. Which I would be able to do using the 302. That seems like big plus.
I've own a Sanken CS3-e and have been renting a Schoeps CMC6 MK40 mic for indoor use. It's a brilliant mic and is on my shopping list. I can't afford to buy both the mic and the mixer right now. Should I go for the mixer first as planned or forget it and buy the Schoeps instead?
Equally I could rent the 302 for the time being and buy the mic but it seems to make sense to buy the 302 so that I can experiment and learn to use it properly before using it for real.
Thoughts and suggestions would be much appreciated.
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