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Old November 7th, 2008, 11:39 AM   #1
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Recording sound for a party scene

Situation: amateur/semi-pro feature film

Scene to shoot: A student party (quite a few extras) in a basement-like environment

Equipment:
-boom pole with Sanken CS1 short shotgun mic
-2 lavalier systems
-Wendt X3 3-channel mixer
-Fostex Fr-2LE recorder

I need to record a few lines of dialogue along with ambience/music. The shots will be a mixture of Glidecam and tripod. What's the best solution for sound?
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Old November 7th, 2008, 12:06 PM   #2
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Not sure what your exact question is, but normally scenes like this would be shot with the background actors just miming their parts. That is, there is no music playing, the people just dance and sway to pretend music and move their lips as if they are talking. That allows you to get clean dialog recording of your main actors. The background is then added in post.

Have fun!

Rob
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Old November 7th, 2008, 12:42 PM   #3
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thanks for the tip!

Is there any danger of the actors in the background dancing noticeably out of rhythm with the music added in post?
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Old November 7th, 2008, 01:26 PM   #4
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Now that you mention it...

Hi Wyatt:

I just shot a party scene, actually an entire piece that took place at a staged cocktail party. Unless you are staying on scenes for a long time, any good editor should be able to make the edit work so that your BG talent look as if they are dancing to the correct beat.

It would help to playback the actual music you will use before you film these scenes so that talent has the beat and knows the tempo to move and dance at.

Rob's advice is perfect, I would never shoot a party scene with real ambient, you have very little control over how much ambient your mics would pick up so shooting it clean is the safest.

Dan
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Old November 7th, 2008, 04:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wyatt Tessari View Post
thanks for the tip!

Is there any danger of the actors in the background dancing noticeably out of rhythm with the music added in post?

There could be, depends on their skill. Some musicals use something called a "thumper" to prevent that. It's not the Dune device by the same name used by the Fremen to call Sandworms but it works on roughly the same principle - a subwoofer speaker with a low bass click-track to give the dancers something to feel. Using a sharp cut-off high pass filter one can keep the thumps from getting into the dialog recording.
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Old November 7th, 2008, 09:04 PM   #6
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Even if you're going to be post producing all background music and party ambience it always pays to record some room tone with all extras talking and maybe even some music playing. Then you can go ahead and shoot the scene in silent mode with only the main actors speaking. In post you'll know how much to tweak any stock audio to match with your already recorded room tone. Having said that, it'll also be necessary to treat the basement before recording. If its anything like the basements that i've shot in then you'll be faced with lots of hard, reflective surfaces that'll create all sorts of unwanted noise. Some rugs, wall hangings, soft furnishings, etc goes a long way in dampening echoes that you may not notice but your mics will pick up, even highly directional ones. So treat your room well before the shoot and you'll get really good sound to work with in the first place.
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Old November 7th, 2008, 09:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ali Jafri View Post
Even if you're going to be post producing all background music and party ambience it always pays to record some room tone with all extras talking and maybe even some music playing. Then you can go ahead and shoot the scene in silent mode with only the main actors speaking. In post you'll know how much to tweak any stock audio to match with your already recorded room tone. Having said that, it'll also be necessary to treat the basement before recording. If its anything like the basements that i've shot in then you'll be faced with lots of hard, reflective surfaces that'll create all sorts of unwanted noise. Some rugs, wall hangings, soft furnishings, etc goes a long way in dampening echoes that you may not notice but your mics will pick up, even highly directional ones. So treat your room well before the shoot and you'll get really good sound to work with in the first place.
Hi Ali:

All good advice. Thanks!

Dan
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Old November 7th, 2008, 10:11 PM   #8
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Watch out for high heels, they will destroy your dialog unless you have carpets down...Also background is fine if you see it, But on the close ups kill it...
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Old November 8th, 2008, 01:32 AM   #9
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Pavanes and gavottes

If the dancing in the background is 18th or 19th century stuff, where the dancers all perform stylised motion in synch, one way out is to use playback music fed into a loop of cable around the periphery of the room. Each dancer then gets a little earpiece, like a deaf aid induction loop, that sits inside the ear. All the dancers hear the music and whirl away at the proper time, while there is no music actually played out loud in the room to spoil the dialogue. You bung the playback on a separate track to give the editor a clue of where you are in the music.
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Old November 8th, 2008, 02:30 AM   #10
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Along the same line, any shot that does not to have sound recorded in it can be done with playback on (since the audio will be replaced). Dancing cutaways, long shots across the room of perhaps an entrance, etc. can all be done with playback, then replaced.
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Old November 8th, 2008, 02:57 PM   #11
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thank you everyone for your advice! I have a much clearer idea of how to go about it now.

cheers,

Wyatt
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