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Old May 18th, 2004, 10:50 AM   #16
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<<<-- Originally posted by George Beck : it all depends on what you are filming, for what purpose in what area etc.. etc..
-->>>

You make a very valid point. If the purpose of the tape is to document the aural environment - you want as little technical intervention as possible. Security situations come to mind; as well as news gathering.

[ Off topic: Even in these situations, recorded sound (like recorded video) is not objective. Mic placement and choice, etc., influence what is heard. Remember the flap over the Howard Dean "scream"? It turned out the sound that went into the video feed was very different from the way things were heard in the auditorium. But, I digress... ]

If minimalist audio suits your video style - that's great. However, speaking as a fellow amatuer (not a professional), let me express my personal asthetic. It just wouldn't occur to me to subject my neighbors to a "raw" unedited soundtrack of my camping vacation; no more than I would expose them to the unedited video footage. Call me a perfectionist, but in my mind it's all part of the package. I see my responsibility to my audience to (even if it's just my family) to respect their time and attention enough to direct their focus to what is important; to help them follow the "story" (and even an interview or a holiday video has a story - if it doesn't - why is someone watching it?) Once again - this is just my personal preference, my way of telling the story. There are certainly other ways to go.

The one thing you mentioned that I do have a hard time understanding is that post-production sound leads to a stilted audio track. (I must be misunderstanding this, please feel free to clarify.) I would venture that if you were to add up all the time you've spent listening to movies and television, 99% of the sound you've heard is not raw, but filtered through the imagination of the sound editor. (The rare exceptions are some documentaries and the odd student or amature film where there is no sound budget.) So, are you saying that EVERYTHING is crap? Like, to take a favorite example of mine - Star Wars (the first one)? I think the sound editing on that movie really raised the bar for how sound contributes to an environment. But, needless to say, it was all made up. Am I getting your message wrong here?

As for $$$, doing good sound in post is no more expensive than doing good video in post. Computers have put digital studio quality in everyones price range. All you need is one, maybe two good microphones. (The great thing about good microphones is they don't become obsolete every year, like most video gear!) Add to that, a portable audio interface for your laptop, and some recording software. (And NLE's like Vegas bundle the sound tools in with the video editing tools - so there's no need for extra software.)

So much for my opinion. Now it sounds like for you, documenting the sounds of the environment in which you are filming is important. Can you say some more about that? What do you use presently to record with? How does the lack of filtering contribute to what you are presenting?

// Ric
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Old May 18th, 2004, 11:40 AM   #17
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Richard, the technology is getting better and better. I am not saying that everything is crap of course =). But quite often the technology capabilities are not fully utilized.

One place where you may want to have the original surround sound can be if you are filming a nature scene, or you are at a point of a story where you want the viewer to feel as being IN the scene.

specifics... hmm...

1) imagine a waterfall in the woods, you are at the edge sooting between the tree branches focusing on a small red bird sitting on a branch full of grassy green leafes, you can hear a lot of birds around, and flying over your head, the humm of the falling water which you can see in the backgound, as well as the river splashes, and the "voice" of the forest...

2) or being in a field, shooting closeups of bubble bees flying around you and enjoying the colourful flowers...

3) your main character is walking trough downtown Toronto, in a crowd of sounds and walking through a sea of people, there is cahtter everywhere, street cars passing, a full of life street, yet "she" walks alone, being silent and lonely, looking trough the people not seeing anyone... (the ambien't sound fades more and more, and the sound of her breathing, movemant and interractions with enviroment get more and more amplified)
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Old May 18th, 2004, 04:37 PM   #18
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The way you describe the "original surround sound" is mistaken, and you certainly don't recreate that situation with mics during shooting.

You will record real sounds in the actual location, and to them you will add all those elements you describe... in the post-production.

This is not an advice addressed to a professional forum, of course I know that or I wouldn't be talking about such matters. But if anyone wants to try a more sophisticated audio arrangement, I won't let a false idea pass through.

If you want to try it your way, you certainly can and should.


Carlos
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Old May 18th, 2004, 08:34 PM   #19
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Quote:
imagine a waterfall in the woods, you are at the edge sooting between the tree branches focusing on a small red bird sitting on a branch full of grassy green leafes, you can hear a lot of birds around, and flying over your head, the humm of the falling water which you can see in the backgound, as well as the river splashes, and the "voice" of the forest....
This is EXACTLY the reason why I spent $99 Canadian for a Apex 191 cardioid mic. For even better sounds---I don't have Bryan's budget, nor his audio fixed VX2000, along with the new, super-duper Beachteck and mixer. :-))
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Old May 18th, 2004, 08:58 PM   #20
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Carlos, I think you can even not record any audio and put the audio after in a studio, thats not what I'm looking for. There is not only one solution to every case.

Frank, I am thinking how I can get 4 chan high quality...
right now I'm thinking a 4 chan mic, mounted on the cam, 2 chan on the miniDV tape 16bit mode, and the rear 2 on a MP3 recording device... the setup should be very portable and easy to syncronize later... I just have to find a good 4chan mic, and good quality mp3 recorder.
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Old May 18th, 2004, 09:07 PM   #21
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Frank, I am thinking how I can get 4 chan high quality
I'm not the guy to ask. I know next to nothing about audio except about what is important for my needs. You may want to post these types of audio questions, insights or concerns on our audio forum, "Now Hear This." If it's about Pana consumer cams, including the audio, what I can't answer there will always be someone who can, including Pana Technical.
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Old May 18th, 2004, 09:10 PM   #22
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nah... i'm just thinking outloud.. :)
I'm sure I'll find a solution myself, just tought you may like to have your cam doing the same thing, (if you make yourself DVDs)
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Old May 18th, 2004, 09:58 PM   #23
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I don't even own a DVD player, but I know which models are good and for where and for what. It's difficult to keep up. A certain someone sent me some computer parts, so I may have enough parts to finally build a NLE Box. If I get there, then I'll be sure to get myself a DVD player---multu-region/multi-system converting with 1-year international warranty, and at a price Pokey can afford. :-))

Dreaming out loud.
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Old May 18th, 2004, 10:56 PM   #24
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<<<-- Originally posted by George Beck : ...imagine a waterfall in the woods, you are at the edge sooting between the tree branches ...or being in a field, shooting closeups of bubble bees flying around you and enjoying the colourful flowers... -->>>

I'm with you there 100% - those are great aural envrinments. And if you can give the viewer the a taste of that experience - that's a great accomplishment.

Coming back to the original issue, though (recording the environment live in camera) - I don't see the benfit to limiting yourself to the camcorder being the sole recording tool and only accepting the tracks that were laid down along side the video.

Why not shoot the video, and then record the audio at the location? Maybe from several different vatange points, giving you a choice of sounds that you can then "place" in the mix? I mean, so what if the bird song that you hear in the close up was actually a track that was recorded an hour later? I don't think the audience will pick up on the fact that the bird's beak is out of sync with the song! <g> Kidding aside, the better track from an hour later may better represent the scene than the actual sync'ed audio.

Is there a particular reason why you want only the live sync'ed audio for this project? I think Carlos is afraid that you are under the impression that this is the way a 5.1 soundtrack is produced. And in that he is right - this is NOT the way anyone creates a 5.1 soundtrack. But, I don't think that is news to you. As I understand it you are doing something very specialized. Just be aware that you are "boldly going where no man has gone before". You are going to have to invent tools and techniques.

And, I think the answer to you original question is, basically, no, there is no camera today that will give you the five tracks you need to do 5.1 - it's not part of the MiniDV spec. But if you want to do it live, there's no reason why you can't - you just can't do it in camera. You can do two tracks in camera (on some cameras maybe four) - but the others are going to have to be recorded somewhere else and then brought back in for the editing process. I previously desribed how I used my laptop for recording - that's one way to record your other trakcs. DAT and MD are also possible - though I think more expensive. Analog tape is not a good choice because you will have a hard time keeping it in sync with the camera.

Is there an editing program that you currently use? I use Vegas, and I can tell you it is great for multi-track editing. And it will allow you to mix down to 5.1 on a DVD.

// Ric
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Old May 18th, 2004, 11:07 PM   #25
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<<<-- Originally posted by George Beck : I just have to find a good 4chan mic, and good quality mp3 recorder. -->>>

How about 4 Samson C02's? They come in matched pairs for about $100,and they're very good sound at that price. They are cardioids, which I think you will want rather than omni pattern. You want discrete channels - so a narrower field is an advantage.

// Ric
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Old May 19th, 2004, 12:42 AM   #26
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Ric, I didn't say I'll refrain from editing and mixing the sounds =) just thought that having as close to 5 chan recorded on site will greatly benefit the scene. Well.. I'll probably end up with 4, and later making them into 5.1 And I wanted to keep it light and portable so I can do it when I go hiking for example. =)

But think of the case of bumble bees up close and personal... each is humming around, back and forth, some coming behind you, other doing a fly-by close to your cam... and if you record this in MONO, you'll loose all the action. You can edit-in the sound for each bumble bee and "pan" it to match each one in 3d-space. =) but imagine the time spent on it and you'll never get it right ;)
Or even as you said.. you record a bird singing... well if this bird is doing this while flying over you, it will be nicer to have that on 4 chans, then downsample them to 5.1 and mix them in.

For video editing I use Premiere Pro or AVID, for sound I like to stick to Steinber's products (Nuendo, Cubase, etc), for compositing and such - Combustion...

the samson's look too narrow, we don't want a sound gap, so it's better to overlap a bit. (ex. if a a car goes by you, you don't want the sound of it to disappear when it's 90 degrees of your cam, and later appear in the rear chan)
I was thinking to find a mic like the one on HC1000 and if I have to modify it so the front 2 go on the miniDV through the cam and the rear two go on the secondary recording device...
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Old May 19th, 2004, 04:04 AM   #27
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What Carlos is telling you is how it is usually done for big time
movies. They don't have 5(.1) microphones on the set and just
put that besides the film track or DVD. Sometimes they do have
multiple microphones but they rarely end up being used that
way.

Normally sounds like birds and planes will be coming from an
extensive sound library a studio has. Some might even be bought
from other studios or if they can't find anything that suites their
needs they will record such sounds themselves. Either on a stage
(foley) or outdoors. This seldom happens while they are on the
location they are filming at since you can usually get better
results in a controlled manner than out in the "wild".

And yes, those tracks are almost *always* MONO! If they are
recording an actor it is done in mono!

During post-production the audio team mixes all these tracks
they've recorded live, in foley, during ADR (recording actors
voices in a studio after shooting) or from a sound library and
position these in 3D space (ie 5 or 6 speakers or more) and
mix the low-frequency into a seperate .1 subwoofer track. They
will also mix in any music that was bought or recorded.

Ofcourse this is something we as a "low-budget" movie makers
cannot often afford. There are sample libraries you can buy with
all sorts of sounds on them. Or you can record them in the wild
either while shooting or at a seperate date.

For example. You might record audio when a plane passes by
but it will probably be filled with extra noises. It might be better
to go to an airport and record much closer to a plane when it
takes of and add pieces of that (just a thought).

You are talking about realism, but that is rarely what movies are
about, now isn't it? Unless you are shooting a documentary.

I could hardly say that Die Hard or Lord of the Rings are about
realism. Ofcourse it depends on movie to movie. Some are based
on true stories for example and others tend to describe what
happens in the wolrd around us. But even those movies sway
from the "truth" due to artistic needs and things they cannot
control.

The first thing you notice this in is in the picture. It is usually
much more "pretty" then it would've looked in real-life. It just
appeals more to the people watching a movie. The same goes
for audio.

With most movies that have been shot with "natural" sound and
then that sound track is left alone and the movie is put up on the
web with the original sound track you will almost always here that
this person should work on the audio because it was sub-par to
most of the listeners.

If the movie is excellent otherwise this can be a minor thing
(although it could also seriously hurt your movie), but the movie
could be even greater if careful attention was given to the audio
and the post-production of it.

Stay open to other people's opinions and if you don't like them
just follow your own direction. Not everyone is the same, but that
is no reason to say they are telling "garbage" so to speak.

To give a comment on your points (I'm not a audio wizard, but
this is how I would approach the subject personally):

1) the waterfall: if you are shooting near a waterfall I would highly
doubt you will hear anything BUT the waterfall. The sound these
things put out is usually very powerfull. So I would record that,
move into the forest and record a clean track of bird sounds to
mix over a dampened waterfall track. Water splashes can also
be recorded somewhere else, but I doubt you should hear those
in the roar of a waterfall. You can easily move these birds in 3D
audio space with a good audio editor or NLE like Vegas.

2) bees in the field: this might be your best example to use
multiple microphones indeed and might very well be a good thing
to do. But again, it can be done with multiple audio tracks spaced
differently in post as well.

3) in the city: this is probably a best example of both opinions.
Yes multi angle sound might be an advantage here as well, but
it might also work against you if you want to control what you
hear in which direction, especially with the fading away! Stacking
multiple sounds tracks for each channel might be a better way
to have control over this.

In the end for the big hollywood movies they are all about control.
They want to be sure they can create the sound field the way they
want to. And the best way to do this is with individual tracks you
can mixup. It is also the most costly and difficult way.

So I see where surround recording can be a good thing to have,
which your point 2 gives as well and your point 3 partially. I would
not use it for point 1, though.

In such cases I think I'd rather rent a couple of microphones
spaced out over the recording location then have some technology
do it for me. There are also omni sensitive microphones that
record sound from all around them but either in mono or stereo.
Such a track could then simply be duplicated on all 5 audio
channels to get it all around you.

You don't need 5 different audio tracks to get surround sound.
Ambient noises are often duplicated on multiple tracks by the
audio guru's in "Hollywood"!

I hope this has explained possabilities and views where other
people might be coming from. Good luck with your sound recording!
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Old May 19th, 2004, 09:06 AM   #28
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Rob, I know how movies are made. I thanked Carlos for the input the first time, however it's clear I'm looking for something new
and the suggestion he gives is not applicable for my case.

And by the way you cannot compare Die Hard 2 ("5.1") with the 5.1 of LOTR. You just have to crank up the volume while watching the scene with the hobits going in the inn at the rain to get what 5.1 is all about. On other side try to find a "surround" effect in DieHard2. you can count them on your fingers. It's so bad that when you actually hear something coming from the surround, you don't expect that there will be any sound ever coming from the rears, that feel quite out of place.

And regarding to the given example scenes... trust me, it's much easier to filter out separate channels to preserve and manipulate the surround effect.

<<In the end for the big hollywood movies they are all about control.>>

wow... you know.. I know that... I don't think I ever said anything about making a big... nor a small of that matter movie.

and as you suggested spacing out mics when doing the nature scenes, first it will not work for the bumble bees... you need the chans as close to the cam as possible. but anyway I was looking for something portable.


So when I go hiking with my cam I want to record as close to 5.1 as possible.

<<This seldom happens while they are on the
location they are filming at since you can usually get better
results in a controlled manner than out in the "wild".>>

lets say you make a wild-life documentary... do you think that in practice someone goes over and makes the sounds one by one? NO. Only editing is done on the footage, narration is added and given this way to the TV station, and most often it is NOT 5.1, and the only reason for not being 5.1 is that the cam did not (could not) record the rear sound. Actually I've encountered many different formats used, but they usually end up with 2 chan sound on a miniDV or BETA SP. But I'm sure the photographer would had loved if he could capture the 5.1 surround there.

so.. you see not everything is big-movie magic.

lots of independant movies or shorts are done on miniDV and don't get the luxary of the sound threatment you and Carlos are talking about... and never get close to 5.1 but they would if they could record it on site.

<<You don't need 5 different audio tracks to get surround sound.
Ambient noises are often duplicated on multiple tracks by the
audio guru's in "Hollywood"!>>

actually they (we) use libraries. and duplicating a track is the same as talking about "stereo" with only one channel recorded. When we find the sound in the library (and by the way, the enviroment libraries are in 5.1!) if it's a sound for a source, we pan it to match the source's movemant. If there's no suitable sound, you have to try and "make" the sound. record it, make modifications to get the desired effect, and pan it matching the movemant.. etc... (by the way, even StarWars I was done this way, and I don't think you can complain about the sound)

thank you =)
(i hope I'll have luck with the video recording part too ;-) )
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Old May 19th, 2004, 09:14 AM   #29
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Thanks, Rob!

You put things in words better that I did. This discussion should probably be transferred to Now Hear This, where there should plenty of people to comment on what DV solutions they can propose to.

Carlos
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Old May 19th, 2004, 09:53 AM   #30
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Per the consistently excellent advice from Carlos Martinez, I have moved this discussion from Panasonic MX/DV to Now Hear This. Thanks,
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