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Old June 26th, 2008, 03:10 PM   #16
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SoundDevices are nice mixers, but there certainly are other equally good options out there, but likely more expensive. For field recording you can ride the levels just fine with the knobs. the 302 and 442 have two knobs for each channel, one for coarse adjustments and one for fine tuning. You don't generally want to effect a major adjustment during a take anyway, as the change in background noise is very evident. I generally try to keep it to a quarter turn of the fine tuning fader.
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Old June 26th, 2008, 03:19 PM   #17
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Oh...so "riding the levels", means to adjust them between takes? I thought they adjusted them during shooting, which, even to me, sounded like a great way to get marvelously inconsistent sounding audio.

So, say I am recording a scene in which an actor goes from talking quietly to screaming, you would adjust the levels for that, obviously. What about if he is talking normally, then gets a little louder. You would set the levels so that he wouldn't clip, than add some compression in post?
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Old June 26th, 2008, 04:33 PM   #18
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Should have done my homework. I have just bought the 302 assuming that it had three outputs as well as three inputs. Wrong.

I can't see a lot of point in having three inputs mixed to two outputs but I suppose it must be useful for something. I'd rather keep the tracks separate and mix them in my NLE.

However the 402 is too big for my kind of use so that wouldn't have been any good either.

I use the on-board camera mic in automatic for reference use if I am recording separate (double system) sound. Can't see the point in using a channel from the mixer for that.

I do interviews with two mics as insurance. For on the move kind of shooting I have been known to use two mics on my Fig Rig as a stereo pair with a shotgun mounted on it too; or a shotgun and a radio mic or shotgun, radio mic and stereo pair could be useful too ....... But the 302 is not going to handle that :-(

I got the 302 mainly for it's good pre-amps, limiters, so that I can monitor channels separately and because people swear by it. Maybe I should buy a Mix-Pre eventually, if I can daisy chain that, for more outputs.
I've still got a lot of learning to do.

One final thought - where to put the mixer and recorder? For tripod shooting (I'm operating the camera as well as trying to keep an eye on the sound) I've got hold of a spring-jawed clamp (that grips the mixer) on a bendy stalk that will mount on a lighting stand. I think that will let me keep the mixer where I can get at it and where I can see it easily whilst I am working the camera.

For mobile work I use a sound recorder mounted on my belt. I'm looking for some way to mount the 302 on my belt on the other hip. I don't want a sound recordist's bag, with all all the compartments for batteries etc, flapping around and getting in the way. SD don't sell what I need so I think I'm going to have to make something up.
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Old June 26th, 2008, 05:13 PM   #19
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Wow, how many arms do you have? That's crazy..
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Old June 26th, 2008, 08:44 PM   #20
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"Oh...so "riding the levels", means to adjust them between takes?"

Oh no. You often have to adjust the levels during the take. My point was that you really can't make big adjustments because you can hear the background shift.
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Old June 27th, 2008, 12:24 AM   #21
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Well, if an actor goes from talking to screaming and he's supposed to do so, then i wouldn't try to interfere unless he were close to clipping - which I think wold be unusual with someone who knew anything much about how to act and a sound guy/girl who knew how to leave appropriate headroom for the scene.

On the other hand, I would try to do something within reason if he turned his head slightly and the sound dropped off

I don't think the sound guy is supposed to be just an organic limiter.

Am I missing something???
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Old June 27th, 2008, 06:20 AM   #22
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Dear Spencer,

I was waiting for Ty Ford to join in.

Ty has previously stated that sometimes he has to "Ride the Levels" in certain conditions.

He went on to say that some actors will drop off in their levels when then get to the end of a sentence. By "Riding the Levels", in this specific case, he means that he increases the gain (level) as the actor lowers his volume.

All of this depends on what you are doing. If you are doing a live event that is being broadcast, or heard by an audience while you are shooting or recording, it makes sense to adjust the levels on the fly.

If you are shooting a film and you have set the levels properly while the actors were practicing in front of the camera (performing a "run through"), then you can generally leave the levels set during the take.

However, if you are recording and you see that your levels are close to clipping (in other words your levels are too high), or too low, then immediate action is necessary to adjust the levels.

In non-live events, personally, I like to set the levels conservatively so that I have the proper headroom and then leave the levels as is during a single take. But once I find that the levels are not properly set and the recording is in jeopardy, then I immediately adjust the levels.

Recording using 24 bits, as opposed to 16 bits allow you to set the levels lower to give you more headroom and still get great sound. Then you can adjust the levels in post.
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Old June 27th, 2008, 06:56 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Gooderick View Post
Should have done my homework. I have just bought the 302 assuming that it had three outputs as well as three inputs. Wrong.

I can't see a lot of point in having three inputs mixed to two outputs but I suppose it must be useful for something. I'd rather keep the tracks separate and mix them in my NLE.

Well, mixer is called a mixer because you can mix several inputs to one output, or two, or three, whatever. If each input just goes out on its own output, it is just a levels setting device, not a mixer...

302 and 402 are designed for situations where there are more inputs than available recording channels, typically in eng or documentary situations where only the camera is used for audio recording. For that reason they have only 2 outs. If you want to record all mics separatelly, you do not even need a mixer, just a multitrack recorder.
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Old June 27th, 2008, 07:23 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Spencer Dickson View Post
I didn't know you could combine two of the units. That's cool.

Most of the stuff I shoot is indoors, so portability is not the biggest issue. The main thing I am concerned about mixer-wise, is that I hear it is quite difficult to ride gain on more than two channels with a mixer that has knobs instead of sliders. That said, should I be looking at something like a Cooper cs 106 or a Sonosax sx-s6? I can't seem to find them on B&H, or find a price on them for that matter, but I assume they run from 4-6 grand.
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Old June 27th, 2008, 01:39 PM   #25
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Triple to quadruple those numbers, my friend. Didja hit the lotto <grin>?
I am relieved that I can't afford one of those right now. Haha. I really didn't think a six channel mixer could be so expensive.
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Old September 9th, 2009, 05:24 PM   #26
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Riding the faders

Hi folks

More on the topic of his riding faders.

I prefer not to ride the faders during a take as mentioned above you change the background ambience, but i have also found problems.

I was doing a recording for a known comedian, during the blocking and rehearsal I set the levels so they were on average around 5ppm/+4dbu/0vu/-12dbfs - Now SQN d not have coarse and fine faders, they only have the coarse faders...

Now as for head room its common practice for the range over good signal to be between

-18dbfs/-4vu/4ppm/0dbu minimum and -10dbfs/6ppm/+4vu/8dbu maximum, this leaves little room for much tweaking, if im worng please correct me!

now during the block i set these levels as stated above to be around but then during the first take the actor shouted which he had not done prior, this resulted in clipping.

Each take was inconsistant delivery on this particular line so I found the only way was to anticipate him and ride the faders for this delivery.

Am i wrong though in saying that its bad for a dialogue signal to drop below 4ppm/0dbu/-18dbfs
Sound devices meter orange section which detemines good level on the 302 and 422 is quite limited and the SQN feels more limited as you can only go from 4ppm to 6ppm.

I monitored both signals from the mixer and camera, and both levels sound clean and strong even when peaking around 4.5ppm but this could be false from the headphone gain

But i feel it is unprofessional to clip at all, I feel I have failed to an extent if i clip.

Any advice on this matter further as to where levels should not drop below, or ways to combat unpredictable changes in actors level?
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Old September 9th, 2009, 06:50 PM   #27
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Hi Lee,

There's a couple other things to consider on levels...

24 bit being one (for being safe letting the levels be lower) and limiters (for film dialog, I basically never turn them off just as a safety feature. 20:1 ratio on the 302 and 442 so just setting a -3dBFS threshold gives you 60dB of protection.)

Others with more experience can jump in on specific levels. But your guidelines sound right from the work I've done.
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Old September 10th, 2009, 05:38 AM   #28
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Riding the faders

Hi Alex


During the shoot, I had the limiters on, but on the SQN im not sure whether they effect the in and out, or just the output.

It might even have clipped at the mic stage...

If it doeasnt effect the inputs that would still result in clipping wouldnt it?

Also i could have used the attenuation switches but they cut it by a large amount so for the generaly doalgoue it would have been almost silent..

It was a tricky one indeed, from general level to a burst of loudness, really as long as it didnt distort the mic diaphragm the mixer limiters sould have stopped it clipping but they didnt.... i was using the SQN 4s iVe just to be clear on the mixer :) which only has course faders too. Unless ive missed something on the mixer....


lee
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