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Old May 23rd, 2004, 12:26 PM   #1
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Getting good Film Dialogue Audio

One of the most impressive things I hear when watching a film is not the sound effects, or music. It's the people talking. Somtimes it sounds so good, their voices are full and you don't hear the slightest bit of background noise.

Now I'm totally an audio buff which might be strange for making a post like this. But it seems to me there is a lot more then just a mic on a boom poll.

Does anyone here know what they use in big films for the wonderful Dialogue sound?

Preamps on the set? Anyone recommend some good mics for this? Is it all done in post?
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Old May 23rd, 2004, 05:14 PM   #2
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Hi there,

My first post here, but I thought I'd answer (at least partially) your question about movie dialogue.

There's process called ADR, automatica dialogue replacement, which is basically having actors during post-production dub over their own performances.

What they do is watch a clip of themselves and speak their lines in sync.

This process is often used when the actual production environment is too noisy, or say, during a fight sequence, etc.

ADR can also be used to improve intelligibility, to replace a word (such as if the writing team decides to change a character's name), to alter the plot or structure of the film, etc.

Hope this helps.

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Old May 23rd, 2004, 05:17 PM   #3
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I would say a good MIC close with no fighting backgrounds or echo would be needed. Then in post they might compress, play with some frequencies (bring up middles). Then I would add good monitors to hear the result. Would love to hear from others on this as I agree with your observation.
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Old May 23rd, 2004, 05:52 PM   #4
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The dialog mics of choice seem to be the schoeps MK41 and the Sennheiser MKH50. These are both hypercardoids.

So far as shotguns go the Sennheiser MKH416 ,60 and 70. The Neumann KMR 81/82, AKG C460/480 based mics and to some extent the blue line hypercardoids. lately the Sanken CS1 and the CS3 have become very popular. The CS1 and CS3 are unique in that they have no rear lobe, the side and rear rejection is amazing.

A good place to lurk and learn is RAMPS. a lot of well known audio people exchange information on that group and are very helpful to others.

Don't forget to click on "Search only in rec.arts.movies.production. sound "

This groups posts stretch back about 4 or 5 years and offer an wealth of audio information. I hear this group is actually "required reading (lurking)" in some film schools.

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Old May 23rd, 2004, 08:15 PM   #5
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Yes, it could be ADR but many times you are only hearing something shot on a sound stage. That's why they prefer to shoot there than on location.
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Old May 23rd, 2004, 08:42 PM   #6
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Bryan's suggestions are spot-on. I can only add a few tidbits from personal experience. (My remarks are with regard to dramatic work, not random event coverage.)

- While ADR is an alternative, as David suggests, it's a real time-consuming pain unless you have access to a professional "looping" studio and top-notch sweetening and mixing tools/skills. Getting a perfect lip-synch on face shots and melting that dialog into the ambience of a shot is not a job for the impatient or blood-pressure-challenged. My suggestion for most of us: fugettaboutit except for an absolutely essential situation.

- Double-mic. One shotgun mic is rarely enough. Wire the actors with hidden lavs, too, particularly if they're moving in the scene. You need choices during sound editing. If you only have one mic you'll have no choices.

- Plan your audio as you plan your blocking. Develop a strategy for how you're going to pick-up sound as the scene develops. Make sure your boom operator takes part in rehearsals.

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Old May 24th, 2004, 10:50 AM   #7
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Probably the most powerful tool used on-set is that they hire sound professionals who's only focus is on aquiring the best possible sound.
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Old May 24th, 2004, 12:51 PM   #8
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even the profesional is totally depend on cooperation from all others departments ,
good sound is when you less compromize (and you allwais do)
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Old May 25th, 2004, 10:01 AM   #9
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Make sure actors in the background aren't actually talking or making any noises. You add this in post.
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